Another block from the Irish Chain family
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 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.
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|
|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 Size||5-1/2"||10-1/2"||15-1/2"|
These are some of the supplies I use to prepare and cut my fabric.
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|
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...
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.
These are my go-to resources for quilt block ideas.
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. Once in awhile you can find it here on Amazon.com.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt, in cooperation with Barbara Brackman has announced they plan to republish the Encyclopedia sometime in 2020.
However, all is not lost if you can't find a hard copy.
BlockBase is the computerized version of the Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.
It contains designs for over 4300 blocks—pretty much every block published from the 1830's through the 1970's.
It can be used with Electric Quilt and is a Windows based program.
In fact, there are instructions included so that you can pull up the digital patterns within Electric Quilt (PC version for now) without having to open up BB program.
UPDATE: Electric Quilt has announced that they will be rereleasing the standalone BlockBase software for BOTH PC and MAC in 2020.
This is terrific news.
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.
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!