Another block from the Irish Chain family
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Skill Level: Beginner
The Single Chain and Knot quilt block is a variation on a single Irish Chain with patches half the normal size in the corners.
The Pennsylvania quilt block is a close cousin that you might also 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.
These abbreviations are used on this page:
SA are all a 1/4" and are pressed toward the darker fabric unless otherwise noted.
Pressing instructions are highlighted in yellow to make them easier for you to quickly find. SAs that nest make matching seams so much faster and more accurate.
Click the images below to see the full collection. We share any commercial and/or free patterns that showcase them, too. (For inspiration, of course!)
Sample Size: 5" finished / 5½" unfinished
Attributed to: Nancy Cabot
Design Type: Irish Chain, Uneven 9-patch large center, 25 squares
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.
Cutting Chart for a~ Traditional Piecing ~
|Patch||Fabric||Qty||Finished Block Size|
|1||Dark||5||1½" x 1½''||2½'' x 2½''||3½'' x 3½''|
|2||Light||4||1½'' x 1½''||2½'' x 2½''||3½'' x 3½''|
|3||Light||4||1½'' x 3½''||2½'' x 6½''||3½'' x 9½''|
|4||Dark||1||1'' x 9''||1½'' x 13''||2'' x 17''|
|5||Light||1||1'' x 9''||1½'' x 13''||2'' x 17''|
|Unfinished Block Size||5½''||10½''||15½''|
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.
With right sides together (RST) stitch a #1 to a #2. Make a total of three pairs.
Add a #1 to two of the pairs (above, right) and a #2 to the third (above, left) so that the fabrics alternate.
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.
Press. The direction of the SA doesn't matter for these seams because this unit is surrounded by solid cut rectangles.
With RST sew the long #4 and #5 strips together.
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.
| Stripset Width|
|SubCut Width|| Dimensions after|
|5"||1½"||1"||1½" x 1½"|
|10"||2½"||1½"||2½" x 2½"|
|15"||3½"||2"||3½" x 3½"|
Straighten the short edge with your rotary cutter.
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.
Stitch the pairs together. Press.
Arrange the pieces into the Single Chain and Knot design—dark fabrics in the outside corners.
Stitch the pieces in each row together, pressing away from the sewn units.
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.
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...
There are many patterns on this website that form chain designs just like this New Irish Chain. Each of them has either a four- or nine-patch in the corner to create the design.
Note, too, that sometimes it's all four corners. Other times it's only two diagonal corners. Then the chains run in only one direction through your quilt design.
Click any image below to go directly to instructions to make that block.
For a list of all the 200+ quilt block patterns on this site, start here.
If you know the name of the block, shorten your search by using these links:
Click here if you're looking for blocks with at least some paper piecing.
Click here if you're looking for the basic building blocks of quilting, i.e., Flying Geese, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc., along with several techniques to make each.
And finally, use these links to find blocks in these finished sizes: