Single Chain and Knot Quilt Block

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.

Single Chain and Knot quilt block tutorial

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.

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.

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

Single Chain and Knot quilt block designSingle Chain and Knot design

Sample Size: 5" finished / 5½" unfinished

Grid: 10x10

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.

Generations Quilt Patterns logo

Cutting Chart for a
Single Knot and Chain Quilt Block

~ Traditional Piecing ~

PatchFabricQtyFinished Block Size
5'' 10'' 15''
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''
Grid Size ½" 1'' 1½''

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.

Nine Patch

Single Chain and Knot - nine patch unit

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.

Four Patches

Single Chain and Knot - 4-patch unit

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.

StripSet Widths

Finished
Block Size
Stripset Width
after stitching
SubCut Width Dimensions after
sewing 4-patch
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.

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 form chain designs

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.

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54-40 or Fight quilt block
Five Patch quilt block tutorial
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

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:

  • 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 the majority of the quilt block designs you see on this website. 

To see if they're worthy of spot in YOUR quilting library, read about them HERE.

NOTE: All the attribution and alternate names shared in the Free Quilt Block Patterns Library came from these four resources.


This article was printed from Generations-Quilt-Patterns.com

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