Pennsylvania Quilt Block

From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


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!




General Instructions


If you need help printing this page, click here.

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

The Pennsylvania patchwork design'Pennsylvania'

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.


Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Pennsylvania Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
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”

One of my favorite rulers for trimming HSTs down to size is the Bloc Loc Ruler. I can use the 4-1/2" size for trimming virtually all the HSTs I make.



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


Press.

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 block

Lay out the 4-patches and cut squares into the Pennsylvania patchwork design.


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!Pennsylvania is finished!


Use 'Pennsylvania' 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...


Share your work to inspire other Quilters!


If you use our tutorials to make your blocks and quilts, there are some easy ways to share your creations so other quilters (including me!) can enjoy the fruits of your labor:

Please share your creations on social media with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns. Thank you!
  • On Instagram please tag your blocks and quilts with the hashtag #GenerationsQuiltPatterns.

  • Visit our Show n'Tell page on the website. Click here to share photos and tell your own story, just start typing at 'The name of your quilt is...'. If you'd prefer to submit more photos than the form allows, simply email them to me at julie@generations-quilt-patterns.com.

I love seeing your work!

Our readers do, too!


For even more blocks to make...


Click here to learn about my favorite quilt book resources that inspire my patchwork designs.

For you, are quilt block patterns like potato chips...

...you can't have just one?!!

Check the amazing resources I rely on for all the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of a spot in YOUR quilting library, CLICK HERE.



  1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Quilt Block Pattern Library
  4.  ›
  5. Pennsylvania Block






Quilt patterns, books and kits to tempt you...

Click any image or link for more info





Pet Portrait Art Quilts by Deborah Wirsu
"Pet Portrait Art Quilts"
by Deborah Wirsu



Subscribe to our StashTalk Newsletter