Single Chain and Knot Quilt Block

Another block from the Irish Chain family

by Julie Baird

This post contains affiliate links for which I receive compensation.


Skill Level: Beginner

Grid: 5x5

The Single Chain and Knot quilt block is a variation on a single Irish Chain with patches half the normal size in the corners.

Single Chain and Knot quilt block tutorial

The Pennsylvania quilt block is a close cousin that you might want to consider.

By combining a bit of strip piecing with some traditional techniques it's quick and simple to make.

Once you've chosen a block, what do you do with it?

Don't worry, there are examples of a dozen different ways of using this very block to inspire you.

Let's knot waste a minute more! It's time to quilt.




General Instructions


These abbreviations are used on this page:

  • SA - seam allowance
  • RST - right sides together

SA are all a 1/4" and are pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.


Step 1: Cut patches for a Single Chain and Knot block

Single Chain and Knot quilt block design
Single Chain and Knot design

Particularly for the 5" version, use fabrics that read as a solid. At this size, the small square in the four-patches measure 1/2" finished—a big print would just muddle the design.

This block makes an adorable scrappy quilt as you'll see on the following design page.

Choose fabrics with high contrasting value so that all your piecing shows in the finished design.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Single Chain and Knot Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

Patch Fabric Qty Finished Block Size
5" 10" 15"
1 D 5 1-1/2”sq 2-1/2”sq 3-1/2”sq
2 L 4 1-1/2”sq 2-1/2”sq 3-1/2”sq
3 L 4 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” 2-1/2” x 6-1/2” 3-1/2” x 9-1/2”
4 D 1 1” x 9” 1-1/2” x 13” 2” x 17”
5 L 1 1” x 9” 1-1/2” x 13” 2” x 17”
Unfinished Block Size5-1/2"10-1/2" 15-1/2"
Grid Size1"2"3"

These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.




Step 2: Creating the Single Chain and Knot Units


For the pieced units, traditional piecing methods are used for one, strip piecing for the other. If you were making several identical blocks, I recommend using strip piecing for both.

Single Chain and Knot - nine patch unit

Nine Patch

Make 1

With right sides together (RST) stitch a #1 to a #2. Make a total of three pairs.

Press.


Stitch a #1 to a #2 for a total of 3 pairs


Add a #1 to two of the pairs (above, right) and a #2 to the third (above, left) so that the fabrics alternate.

Press.

Arrange the patches into a nine-patch with a dark center and corners. Stitch the units together. The seams nest to make matching easier. Use pins if it helps you!


Arrange the units into a nine patch with dark corners

Press. The direction of the SA doesn't matter for these seams because this unit is surrounded by solid cut rectangles.


Single Chain and Knot - 4-patch unit

Four Patches

Make 4

With RST sew the long #4 and #5 strips together.

Press.


Stitch #4 to #5Start your stitching on a spider(see arrow)—just a scrap of fabric—to get a better first stitch!

Helpful Tip

I like to use starched quilt fabric, and particularly so for creating strip sets. I find that it's much easier to fingerpress the seam open and then press it at the iron—there's less chance of getting a tuck at the SA.


Check the width of your sew strip set against the measurements in the chart below. Adjust if necessary.

Finished
Block Size
Stripset width
after stitching
Subcut
Width
5” 1-1/2” 1”
10” 2-1/2” 1-1/2”
15” 3-1/2” 2”

Straighten the short edge with your rotary cutter.


Straighten the short edge of #4/#5Position a line on your ruler directly on the seam line (see arrow). Trim just enough to straighten the edge.

Then subcut it into 8 segments equal to the width in the 'Subcut Width' column (chart above). Our segments for this 5" sample are cut 1" wide.

Arrange them as shown below.


Arrange the subcuts into four patchesThere's just a little leftover scrap.

Stitch the pairs together. Press.


Step 3: Assembling the Single Chain and Knot quilt block

Arrange the pieces into the Single Chain and Knot design—dark fabrics in the outside corners.


Lay out the patches into rows to form the design


Stitch the pieces in each row together, pressing away from the sewn units.


Sew the rows together.


And finally stitch the rows together, pinning if needed to help keep the SA aligned properly.

This is the finished Single Chain and Knot quilt block.


A Single Chain and Knot quilt block—finished!Our finished Single Chain and Knot quilt block!

That outermost square in each corner looks a bit funky now, but that's only because its seam allowance is still showing. Once it's sewn into a quilt, all will be fine!

Now that you've made a block, let's explore some of your options...




More blocks that make chains...


If you've enjoyed making the Single Chain and Knot, you may want to explore these others that form 'chains' at the corners. Just click the image to go to the instructions for that block.

Broken Sugar Bowl quilt block tutorial Buckeye Beauty quilt block tutorial Crossword Puzzle quilt block tutorial 54-40 or Fight quilt block Jacob's Ladder quilt block tutorial Pennsylvania quilt block tutorial Click here for the Rocky Road to California quilt block tutorial Star Chain quilt block Wagon Tracks quilt block tutorial


For even more blocks to make...


These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas. 

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

Can you tell?

It's in color.

It's got a ton of blocks.

What's not to love?

Next on my 'must-have' list is Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

Unlike the Maggie Malone book, the blocks in this volume are hand-drawn and in black and white—no color—personally, I prefer colored drawings to work with.

This book is no longer in print. If you can come by a copy expect it to be wickedly expensive.

However...

BlockBase is the computerized version of the Encyclopedia.

It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.

Finally there's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.

Lots of detail and in color, it is a beautiful volume. That said, I check it out of my local library on a regular basis instead of purchasing it—can you see the library sticker on it's spine. Yep, it's from the Plainfield Public Library.

Why?

Simply because I own the previous three references and find this the least user-friendly of the group.

And it does make a fabulous coffee table book!




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