Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. If you buy thru them, I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you. This helps me provide all the free information on this site. To learn more, read my full Disclosure Policy.

Pennsylvania Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

The Pennsylvania quilt block tutorial begins here

Skill Level: Beginner

Type: 9 patch

Grid: 6x6

The Pennsylvania quilt block with its simple nine patch construction and four patch units is easy enough for the beginning quilter to successfully stitch.

Used as the sole block design in a patchwork quilt, it creates a variation on the Single Irish Chain pattern.

It works equally well as an alternate block to showcase your latest applique or redwork creation or newest machine embroidery collection.

Tired of making all the blocks for a quilt? Substitute it for every other block to create a chain effect with a lot less piecing.

As is so often the case, the Pennsylvania quilt block goes by several other names, including: Criss Cross Quilt, Simple Cross and Single Irish Chain.

Let's begin!

Construction Instructions

All seam allowances (SA) are 1/4".

When you are instructed to press, first press the pieced unit flat to set the seam. Then open the patch, pressing from the front. Seam allowances are pressed to the dark fabric unless otherwise noted.

Step 1: Cutting

Pennsylvania quilt block design

With its simple construction all you need to cut are strips and squares.

To emphasize the chain and diagonal movement, use two high contrasting fabrics.

A bit of extra fabric is added to the #3 and #4 strip dimensions so you can square up one of the short sides before cutting the strip set into units.

Finished Block Size
Qty 3” 6” 9” 12”
1 D 1 1-1/2”x1-1/2” 2-1/2”x2-1/2” 3-1/2”x3-1/2” 4-1/2”x4-1/2”
2 L 4 1-1/2”x1-1/2” 2-1/2”x2-1/2” 3-1/2”x3-1/2” 4-1/2”x4-1/2”
3 D 1 1”x9” 1-1/2”x13” 2”x17” 2-1/2” x 21”
4 L 1 1”x9” 1-1/2”x13” 2”x17” 2-1/2” x 21”
Unfinished Block Size 3-1/2” 6-1/2” 9-1/2” 12-1/2”
Cut units... 1” wide 1-1/2” wide 2” wide 2-1/2” wide
Grid Size 1/2” 1” 1-1/2” 2”

Step 2: Assemble the four patch units

With right sides together, align the long edge of #3 and #4 strip. Stitch.

I prefer to use my quarter inch foot with the guide on the right for sewing strips together


With the strip set right side up on your cutting mat, straighten one short edge with your rotary cutter and ruler.

Cut the strip into 8 units. To find the size, go to the Cutting Chart, find the intersection of the column, 'Finished Block Size', and the row, 'Cut units...'. For the 6" finished block in this example, that number is 1-1/2".

The patches are paired matching light to dark

With RST, stitch four pairs of these units, matching light to dark. The seam allowances nest to making it easy to match the center SA of each four patch.

Stitch the subunits into four patches

Press. If you choose to 'twirl' the seam allowance to reduce bulk, you need to unsew a couple of stitches in the seam allowance.

The twirled seam allowance create a little four patch on the back side

Step 3: Assemble your Pennsylvania quilt block

Lay out the 4-patches and cut squares into rows and columns.

Double check that the dark squares form an 'X' through the block

With RST, sew the units of each row together. Press the SAs in all the rows toward the light, large #2 squares.

Stitch the patches into rows

Sew the rows together, pinning if needed. Again, the SAs nest for easy matching.

Yep, even for simple blocks, I pin...much faster than ripping misaligned seams!

Give your Pennsylvania quilt block a last press. It's finished and ready to use in your quilt.

For even better results, try our Best Technique for Pressing Quilt Blocks. You won't believe how flat they come out with one extra, simple step!

The Pennsylvania quilt block is finished!

The Pennsylvania quilt block as an alternate block

Using the blocks set edge-to-edge in a straight set creates this quilt.

Pennsylvania quilt blocks set edge-to-edge in a straight set

It makes no difference if there are odd or even numbers of blocks in the rows and columns; the quilt is symmetrical.

To emphasize the 'Irish Chain' design, add a sashing strip and cornerstone around each block equal to the width of the smallest square.

This is the result.

With the added sashing this quilt looks more like a typical single Irish chain

Keep the sashing/cornerstones. Remove replace every other block with a solid square.

Maintain the symmetry of the design by using odd numbers of blocks in the  rows and columns.

Each open block is the perfect place to add applique, embroidery or some spectacular machine quilting.

Or perhaps you're halfway through a quilt project and simply tired of making the block. Salvage your time and materials using this alternate blocks setting and move on to your next quilt.

The perfect solution!

And oh, sew easy!

For more free quilt block patterns...

Link to Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

Return to the top of this Pennsylvania quilt block tutorial

Go to the Generations Quilt Patterns Home Page

Click here to go to the Home Page

Share Your Comments, Tips and Ideas

Search This Site

Quilt patterns,
books and kits
to tempt you!

Click any of the images or links below for more info...

Fold-N-Stitch Wreath pattern
Fold-N-Stitch Wreath
by Poorhouse Quilt Design

Farm Girl Vintage
by Lori Holt

Gypsy Wife
by Jen Kingwell


Enhance your
Fabric Resource Center
aka 'Stash'

Click on the images to go to for more choices.

Click here for MORE
Kaffe fabrics

Click here for MORE
Batik fabrics

Subscribe... STASH Talk,
our free newsletter.
Simply complete
the form below...

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry...
Your e-mail address is
totally secure.

I promise to use it
only to send you
Stash Talk.