The Irish Chain is a classic quilt design that can be easily customized to complement any style. With a few changes to size and color, you can make a personalized gift for a baby shower or graduation. Today I will share two interpretations of Chain Quilts, a traditional favorite in any era.
Traditional Irish Chain
The most familiar Irish Chain quilt is built around a nine patch block. Piece the framed nine patch block and set it with plain alternate squares of fabric to complete the classic quilt.
I like to sort my fabrics by color and make a scrappy rainbow-colored quilt. A 4×5 layout of 20 blocks made from 2-1/2 inch strips will make a comfortable lap quilt. Increase the size of strips and use more blocks to take this all the way to a king size quilt.
A few years ago, I made a graduation quilt for a friend. I built on the traditional Irish Chain idea, but I replaced the nine patch with a focus fabric. I chose a soccer theme since that was the student’s passion in high school. There are so many fun novelty fabrics available that you can include to make a quilt represent many childhood activities and memories.
I framed the center square twice, and then added sashing with cornerstones to create the chain. This is a good place to use school colors or match a room’s color scheme.
Easy to customize
With a few calculations on paper, or using design software such as EQ8, it is easy to customize a quilt. Starting with a classic quilt block, you can change the size of the basic units, or add more blocks to increase the overall size. Sashing and borders are optional. The focus fabric really gives the quilt a distinct personality and is the foundation for other color choices in the quilt.
What will your chain quilt look like?
Other classic blocks you may like…
My Favorite Stars – pattern available!
Nine Patch Sampler – email course
4X Star – video tutorial