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Single Irish Chain Quilt Patterns

An Easy Quilt Pattern for the Beginning Quilter

The Single Irish Chain Quilt pattern is an easy beginner quilt. Set in horizontal rows it's all rectangles and squares, ideal for a new quilter to practice rotary cutting skills and to perfect that scant quarter inch seam allowance.

But set it on point, add setting triangles and the design is completely transformed.

All of the images on this page are designed and drawn in Electric Quilt 7 (EQ 7), a quilt design software. I use it to design all my quilts. It is easy to learn, easy to use and makes auditioning colors and fabrics a snap.

The Building Blocks

This two unit quilt pattern is characterized by a single chain of squares that form a grid around an open area. Pieced units alternate with solid ones to form the pattern. The open spaces are ideal for showcasing your applique, hand or machine quilting or new set of machine embroidery designs.

You can choose from one of several pieced designs to create this pattern. These different block(s) provide a way to increase or decrease the amount open space to suit your needs.

The Basic Nine Patch

Nine Patch Quilt Block

This nine-patch is simple to construct from individual squares. But if you need exact multiples of it, strip piecing is even faster and easier.

This unit creates the smallest possible open space, probably too small from machine quilting or applique, and is based on a 3x3 grid.

Click here for several ways to make a Nine Patch.

Set in straight rows with an alternating solid square...

Single Irish Chain Quilt - straight set

11 x 15 blocks

Or in an on-point setting...

Single Irish Chain Quilt - On-point setting

9 x 11 blocks

Country Lanes Quilt Block

Country Lanes Quilt Block

Other common name: Cross in the Square, Pennsylvania

Just like it's cousin, the Double Irish Chain, this block is based on a 5x5 grid and creates an open space 2/3's larger than the previous ninepatch block.

Click here to learn how to make this block.

First a horizontal layout...

Country Lanes Quilt Block in a single Irish Chain

7 x 9 blocks

And now an on-point layout...

Country Lanes Quilt Block in a single Irish Chain

6 x 8 blocks

The Double Nine Patch

Other common names include: Single Irish Chain, Golden Steps, Puss in the Corner

Double Nine Patch

Simply a nine patch made from nine patches. It creates an open space equal to its 9x9 grid.

It can be set in one of two ways: 1) with a solid alternate square or 2) with a plain sashing strip and a nine patch for the cornerstone. The sashing is cut a width equal to the unfinished nine-patch square.

Our examples use a solid alternating square.

Set in horizontal rows...

Double Nine Patch Quilt Block in a single Irish Chain

7 x 9 blocks

Set on point...

Double Nine Patch in a single Irish Chain

6 x 8 blocks

To jazz things up a bit, why not add two extra fabrics.

Choose a light fabric for the small nine patches, another fabric (pink) for the alternate squares in the double nine patch, and a third color (blue) for the alternating squares.

Double Nine Patch in a single Irish Chain

6 x 7 blocks

Make the Single Irish Chain design your own

The pieced units used to create a Single Irish Chain Quilt all have a single row of squares that forms an 'X' and runs from corner to corner. These squares needn't be all the same size. Two more that work to create a single Irish Chain are:

Single Irish Chain - Simple Cross

Common names:
Pennsylvania, Criss Cross Quilt,
Simple Cross, Single Irish Chain
Single Irish Chain - Nine Patch variation

Common Names:
Nine Patch, A Plain Block,
Sheepfold Quilt, Irish Chain

Remember that to maintain the quilt design's symmetry in a straight set, both rows and columns need an odd number of blocks. There is no limitation for an on-point layout.

Finally, though a single Irish Chain quilt pattern is traditionally constructed with just two fabrics, there is no reason not to use up your scraps. Just be sure that there is enough contrast in value between the background fabric and chain fabrics so that the design is prominent.

For more information on Irish Chain Quilt Patterns see:

For even more blocks to make...

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs is my all-time favorite!

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Pattern of the Week

"The Dance of the Dragonfly"

by JoAnn Hoffman

Available as a Pattern or as a Kit.

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