A Block of Time…Irish Chain

Single Irish Chain Variation
Single Irish Chain Variation

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like an Irish Chain quilt.

I mean, just look at it…what’s not to like about it?

It’s cute.

Irish Chain quilts have been around for quite some time. The first ones appeared in the early 1800’s. In actuality, this quilt was named after a surveying tool, a chain used for linear measure.

It’s popularity is still going strong today, probably because it’s easy to make.


Traditionally, Irish Chain quilts were made with 2 colors, in which a bold X would be formed. A true Irish Chain quilt is made with 2 blocks…one patchwork block and then one solid block, again and again.

A Single Irish Chain would use a 9-patch block and then a solid block. A Double Irish Chain would use a 25-patch block and then a solid block with 1 square in each corner. A Triple Irish Chain would use a 49-patch block and then a solid block with 3 squares in each corner.

Any Irish Chain layout could be set on-point or side-by-side.

This variation is also called Country Lanes or Cross In The Square.

But of course, there’s always variations to make us quilters even happier.

And why not? I think even 200 years ago, us creatives liked a little challenge every now and then. How many times have you thought mmm…maybe I could make this block just a little bit different?

My featured quilt is a variation of a Single Irish Chain called Country Lanes or Cross in the Square.

Variations of a Double Irish Chain are called Golden Steps, Puss in the Corner, or Double 9-Patch.

You can do a lot with an Irish Chain, like embroidering or appliqueing something in the spaces.

The reds ran into the cream fabric.

I think everyone should have an Irish Chain in their quilt collections. When I started my Irish Chain, I couldn’t wait to see it done. I think I worked on it faster than normal. And, it was going to be just for Christmas, very special.

So, I finished it, pulled it out of the washer and…there’s always something that slows us down.

In my case, the reds ran. Even in cold water. Even with a Color Catcher. Aaagh!

The longer I have it, the easier it is to look at. I still love it. It’s still my special Christmas quilt.  And well, the message here is totally another story.

I just have a new conversational piece now.

Until next time…enjoy your day…ttyl!

Jo Ann


















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