The nine patch is one of the first blocks many quilters learn to make. But the quilts featured in The National Quilt Museum’s latest exhibit, New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Nine Patch, are anything but basic.

The exhibit features 18 winners of an annual challenge to reinterpret a classic quilt block. The challenge began with a re-imagining of the double wedding ring pattern in 1994, and more than 20 years later is still one of the more popular exhibits, with quilters asking for the next theme up to two years in advance so they can start their quilts. The theme for 2016 is New York Beauty, and Flying Geese is up for 2017.

The exhibit is displayed next to a collection of antique nine patch quilts, to show the contrast between the old and new.

“It is fun to see the two together because of the old and the new,” said Judy Schwender, curator for the National Quilt Museum. “It is fun to see how people interpreted this 150 years ago and what people do with it now. Quilting is always evolving.”

The new quilts vary from traditional interpretations, to modern.

“Some people have taken it pretty simply and some people have used nine patches as the center of stars,” said Schwender. “I’ve got a couple that are very modern and minimalist. Some people conceived of a nine patch as nine of something, three rows of three in a grid and that is a nine patch.”

Both New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Nine Patch and Antique Nine Patch Quilts will be on display at The National Quilt Museum through May 19, 2015. The National Quilt Museum is located at 215 Jefferson, Paducah, KY.