Irish Chain Deconstructed

The next doll quilt I wanted to make is for a little girl named Irish.  My friend Lisa (Irish's grandmother) and I both thought that, with her name, a shamrock quilt or something with leprechauns was a little too obvious.  After giving it some thought, I decided on the idea of making a traditional Irish chain.  After talking to Lisa, I learned that Lisa's grandfather (Irish's great great grandfather) made similar quilts when he worked for the railroad.  He was "stationed" in Northern WI and would spend long periods of time away from his family in a remote outpost.  He took to making quilts to pass the time and to deal with the isolation.  With that bit of family history, it was settled.

Traditional quilt blocks are my favorite, and I am especially fond of the Irish chain, although I had never made one before.  There is the single Irish chain:

the double Irish chain:

and the triple Irish chain:

For my purposes, I preferred the look of the double Irish chain.  I went looking for patterns, because this all looked terribly complicated to me.  I found quite a few, but the one that seemed most straightforward was the block I found on Quilter's Cache.  Surprisingly, the double Irish chain is made from a combination of just two squares.  This one:

and this one:

It is as simple as can be to make the double Irish chain quilt.  After choosing your colors, cut lots of strips with your rotary cutter.  I used the same measurements as the Quilter's Cache block, but I wanted to make it half again as large by adding a row of squares on the side and the bottom.  Here are my strips:

These were sewn into strip sets.

The strip sets were cut cross-wise into smaller strip sets.

The strip sets were sewn into the two different squares pictured above, which were then arranged and sewn together to form the double Irish chain quilt top.

It's no more difficult than sewing together a nine patch . . . only this happens to be a 25 patch.  Add to that two borders, and you have the doll quilt I made for Irish today.  This quilt is 29 x 29 inches.

I still want to applique a bright green shamrock in each corner, using this image I took off the internet as my template.

I'm using that same shamrock border fabric for the back, only it has a little surprise for Irish.

It has her name on it.

I'll use that same bright green from the narrow inner border for the binding.  This one will be easy to quilt.  I'll just do a diagonal grid on the main part of the quilt, and meander around the shamrocks in the outer border.  I think I can work in some quilted shamrocks too.  Pretty cute, huh?

This is my second February NewFO.  How are you coming with your NewFOs for February?  Watch for the linky party on Wednesday, February 29th.  I'll be looking forward to seeing your new projects then.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

I saw a beautiful irish chain in our quilt store, today, wish I had thought to take a picture.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Finished an outfit for an 18-inch doll today !~! Skirt and long-sleeved top trimmed with scalloped lace. Very cute and a bit more involved than I remember clothes being.

Judee said...

That is really cute, especially with the pink and green. I have a queen top finished and a charity top. Looking forward to the linky party.

iluvmybugs said...

Really adorable quilt..there's going to be one very happy little girl when she gets this!!! TFS

Teresa in Music City said...

That is going to be so cute! I love the green and pink together! How special to have fabric in her quilt that has her name on it... she'll love it of course!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I have a NewFO, but, I can't seem to get the pictures loaded. Maybe by Wednesday. Cute quilt. I'm sure she'll love it.

Kate said...

Very pretty! I like the pink and green color combo and that Irish border fabric. What a great quilt for Irish.

My first pieced quilt was a double Irish Chain. I was pretty much hooked after that!

KatieQ said...

I love this little quilt. The pink and green look great together. I'm sure she will love seeing her name on the back.

Mrs.Pickles said...

very pretty the colours work really well together! I have finished both of my NewFO's OH NO....lol I better start another one today!

Karen said...

That is very cute! I am sure Irish will treasure this quite and keep it forever! Beautiful

anightmoon said...

started a princess quilt and finally finished the top today (yay me!) now to quilt and bind it before a little girls birthday in March...