“Liz’s Irish Chain”

14 04 2014

Have you ever seen a quilt you just have to make? The colors or fabrics or design just pull you in? I fell in love with “Liz’s Irish Chain” in Fons And Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine, January/February 2013.

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What makes this quilt unusual and extra appealing is that the alternate blocks are royal blue rather than light or white. After drooling over the pattern awhile, I took stock of the fabrics I needed. I was sure I had enough scrappy fabrics in my stash for the shirtings and dark Civil War repro prints; I just needed to purchase the blue fabric. My friend, Marie, also wanted to make this quilt, and we roped Linda into exchanging blocks with us as well. Between us, Marie and I used a bolt of the royal blue which she found at Golden Lane Fabrics now located near Penn Yan, New York. Linda chose a teal blue for her alternate blocks.

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The pattern calls for cutting 1 1/2″ squares for the “Twenty-five Patches,” but we decided the project would move along faster and have the same dramatic effect if we cut 2 1/2″ squares. I strip-pieced dark prints with light shirtings as you can see from the photo below.

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We exchanged “Twenty-five Patches” but made our own alternate blocks. When we met at the end of February at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, Va., we exchanged blocks. I was so excited that I sewed together the 81 blocks for my quilt top over the weekend!

 Irish Chain layout

I couldn’t find an extra wide backing fabric to match the royal blue, so I pieced two lengths of 40″ wide fabric with strips of Civil War repro fabric in the center.

Irish chain backing

I debated about the “proper” quilting design. Usually, the alternate blocks are a perfect spot for “Feathered Wreaths,” but I wasn’t in the mood (i.e. I was too impatient/lazy) to quilt 40 of them. Instead, I chose the pantograph “Double Plume” by Keryn Emmerson. I used a honey colored polyester thread, and I really like the way the feathers show up in the royal blue alternate blocks but fade into the multi-colors of the “Twenty-five Patches.” I will think of it as “Faux Feathered Wreaths.”

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Have you made an “Irish Chain” quilt? If so, describe it in a comment below.

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One response

21 08 2014
Jen @ de Jong Dream House

I saw this quilt at the Pittsburgh Original Sewing & Quilt Expo and took a picture for inspiration, too! I’ve made two Irish chain quilts, but it was a single chain. The first one was a memory quilt for my Gramma. I finished it last fall and it brought her great joy in her last months. I wasn’t able to be there to say goodbye when she passed away, but knowing that is covered her when she took her last breath comforted me greatly: The second quilt was a smaller (non-memory) version of the same quilt made for my cousin’s new baby. http://www.dejongdreamhouse.com/2013/10/quilt-9-irish-chain-memory-quilt.html

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