Quilt Patterns

Single Irish Chain Quilt Pattern - Information and Instructions

irish chain quilt

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Irish chain quilt patterns are among the most popular and well-loved styles of quilting in the world. A great deal of well-natured debate has gone on through the years as to the exact origin of this particular quilting design, with some experts pointing to early 19th century America as its birthplace and others insisting that it did, in fact, originate in Ireland at some earlier date. Regardless of where it came from, the single Irish chain quilt pattern is a very popular version of the design, and for good reason. Quilt makers working with a single Irish chain quilt pattern are free to use the open spaces in the alternate blocks to display needlework or to customize the quilts in some other way, leading to an endless array of variety in the design and final presentation.

Designing Irish Chain Quilts

A single Irish chain quilt pattern is a lot of fun to make for beginners because it requires only a relatively moderate level of skill, and because it is easy to determine how much material is needed because only two colors are involved. The two colors are called the main (dark) color and the alternate (light) color. Although there are no hard rules, generally speaking the idea is to create a vivid color contrast, so the alternate color is usually white or some very light off-white color. The main color can be a darker material or some brighter color.

Once the colors have been selected, it is time to assemble the blocks of material that will be used to stitch the single Irish chain quilt pattern together. In this version of the famous quilting pattern, there are only two types of blocks needed, just as there are only two colors of material. One block is a nine piece patch block made by joining strips of alternate and main materials in a checkerboard fashion. The other is a simple solid colored block made of the alternate color. The number of blocks needed depends on the size of the quilt you are making.

Putting the Pattern Together

Once the two types of blocks are assembled and ready to go, the next step is to sew the blocks together in an alternating fashion. Join the alternate blocks to the nine piece patch blocks, repeating the same alternating pattern across the width of the single Irish chain quilt pattern and for its entire length. Once the face is complete, you can attach it to the backing and stuff it with batting to give it some insulation for warmth.

This particular variety of Irish chain quilting is the quickest and easiest to make, because the patch blocks are relatively easy to assemble. More complex versions require more colors and much more difficult patch blocks to cut and sew together. The single Irish chain quilt pattern is itself a beautiful project to complete; and when it is finished, it can become a treasured family heirloom passed down from generation to generation.