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The Irish Chain

the Irish Chain Quilt Block

One of the great classic quilts is the Irish Chain, made in red and white. 

When you first look at this quilt, it may look complicated, with all the tiny squares that move across the quilt in perfect diagonal rows.

However, this quilt is very easy.  Look closely and you will see that there are just two blocks in this quilt.  There is a 9-Patch,  surrounded on each side by a plain white square of the same size.

You can easily make this quilt any size you want, but let's do it with 2 1/2 inch strips.

You will need more red strips as white strips, but cut both at 2 1/2 inches.

Construction of the Irish Chain Quilt Block   Construction of the Irish Chain Quilt BlockNext you sew them together.  You will do two sets.  One will be a red, white and red, and the other will be a white, red, and white.

Your next step is to cut the strips.  You will turn them sideways, and cut them the same measurement as you cut the individual strips.  In this case, it is 2 1/2 inches.

Construction of the Irish Chain Quilt Block      Construction of the Irish Chain Quilt Block  

Press all seams toward the red.

Construction of the Irish Chain Quilt Block Put one of the red/white/red strips on the top and bottom, and one of the white/red/white strips in the middle.  This is your block.

Sew your rows together.  Be sure and pin so that the seams  will match perfectly.


 Notice that because all the seams were pressed toward the red fabric, they go in opposite directions when the rows are put together. These nested seams give a nice flat appearance to the top of your quilt block.

Your blocks should measure 6 1/2 inches when sewn.  (Doing the math:  2 1/2 x 3 is equal to 7 1/2 inches.  Subtract 1/2 inch for each of the 2 long seams)

When you make your Quilt, you will cut some plain white squares in a matching size, and alternate them with the 9-patch block red and white block.

The Irish Chain Quilt BlockLook at the finished block on the left.  Now look again at the picture at the top of the page. 

You should now be able to clearly see the block, and how easy it would be to make it any size you want.

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