From our Free Quilt Block Patterns Library
Skill Level: Beginner
Type: 9 patch
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.
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.
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.
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|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|
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With right sides together, align the long edge of #3 and #4 strip. Stitch.
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".
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.
Press. If you choose to 'twirl' the seam allowance to reduce bulk, you need to unsew a couple of stitches in the seam allowance.
Lay out the 4-patches and cut squares into the Pennsylvania patchwork design.
With RST, sew the units of each row together. Press the SAs in all the rows toward the light, large #2 squares.
Sew the rows together, pinning if needed. Again, the SAs nest for easy matching.
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!
Using the blocks set edge-to-edge in a straight set creates this quilt.
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.
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!
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:
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