Friday, July 19, 2019

Scrappy Triple Irish Chain with a Twist

Greetings from all of us in my backyard!!
When I said on June 13, I'd organize cutting instructions, I didn't mean to take so long to share the them.  Either I've had too many oars out of the boat this past month or I've lost my sense of urgency as I enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer?
I finished piecing the top yesterday, organized the backing and I'm ready to hand it off for quilting. 
I've checked the math several times and am pretty sure I've got my counts correct.
If I don't, sorry -- just post a polite comment if you find an error.

As I explained in the original post, my goal was a twin size quilt using 14" blocks.  That meant that 4 blocks by 6 blocks would be the ideal size but an Irish Chain setting wants odd numbers of blocks to keep the corners identical -- 3 by 5, 5 by 7, etc.  Once I stumbled onto the idea of piecing "half blocks" for the outer rows, my problem was solved.

Since this is a charity quilt, my goal is to keep the quilting process simple and a big white empty space never brings "simple" to my mind.  So I started to try out ideas for filling the center of the alternate blocks and a "trip" variation was perfect since all the squares and strips needed could be cut using the same grid as the blocks -- 2 1/2" cut!

Here are the statistics for my twin size quilt top.
I made seven of the basic 7 by 7 blocks using 2 1/2" cut squares (from my very scrappy basket).
For each block, I used thirteen assorted green squares, four white (background) squares, and thirty-two assorted squares.
I pieced the blocks in vertical rows and pressed every block exactly the same - alternating seams so they nest together.
The outer left and right sides rows are both pressed down (towards the bottom of the blocks).
Once the rows were pieced together, I pressed all the vertical seams to the right.
I made eight of the alternate blocks using the same 7 by 7 grid.
I wanted more green in the quilt and liked the unity of using just one other color with it through out the quilt but this block could be as scrappy as you wish.
Here's the block broken down so you can see the rectangles needed and their placement.
Each block used twelve scrappy 2 1/2" squares, nine assorted green squares, four assorted yellow squares, and four white (background) squares.
In addition to the squares, there are four 2 1/2" by 6 1/2" rectangles around the outside edges of this block plus four 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" rectangles in the second and sixth vertical rows.
To make it easy to set the finished blocks together, I pressed these blocks opposite of the first set of blocks.  The outer left and right edge row seams are pressed up (towards the top of the block) and the vertical seams are pressed to the left.
Time to make the half blocks!  Each one is a 4 by 7 grid of squares.
Ten of these blocks are needed for the twin size I made.
There are three white (background) squares, seven scrappy green squares, and eighteen scrappy squares.  I found it easiest to stay on track by laying out the green squares and the white squares in the correct positions, then filling in with the scrappy squares.
Looking at this photo, the left edge of the block will always be on the outside edge of the quilt so it must be rotated for each side of the quilt.  
For that reason, I found I had to press each one so it would nest together with the adjacent block rather than pressing all of them identically -- the left side blocks were pressed opposite of the right side blocks, etc.
I wasn't sure the half-alternate block would look good, but once I pieced one and added it to the design wall, it was fine.  Eight of these blocks were needed for my size.
I used six scrappy 2 1/2" squares, six assorted green squares, three assorted yellow squares, two white (background) squares, four 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" rectangles, and one 2 1/2" by 6 1/2" rectangle for each block.  
Pressing is the same as above -- adjusting to nest with adjacent blocks. 
Finally, I made four corner blocks.  
Do these last so you can determine the best pressing directions more easily.
Each corner blocks uses three scrappy 2 1/2" squares, four assorted green squares, two assorted yellow squares, one white (background) square, and three 2 1/2" by 4 1/2" white rectangles. 

Here are my cutting totals for the complete quilt!

                          734 -- 2 1/2" assorted squares (that's 46 2 1/2" strips cut into squares)
                          161 -- 2 1/2" squares for central cross of main block (my greens) 
                                         To use one fabric for this, get 1 yard.
                          Background -- 2 3/4" yards (includes first border)
                                  Cut 4 lengthwise strips, 2 1/2" wide by 2 3/4" yards long for first border.
                                  From remainder of background fabric, cut
                                                    106 -- 2 1/2" squares
                                                     84 --  2 1/2" by 4 1/2" rectangles
                                                     38 --  2 1/2" by 6 1/2" rectangles
                           Border -- I cut mine 4 1/2" wide on the lengthwise grain and pieced strips end to                                          end to get the length needed so used about 1 1/2 yards.

Here it is!!  My finished top is 70" by 93".
I love how balanced and cheerful it looks!!
Using up 895 squares out of my "sourdough" basket is great, too!!
(The picture is a little lame but it's really HOT here and my daughter has short arms so we were working quickly to get back inside!!)
There might be another one of these in the future because the 2 1/2" strip box is pretty full and could use a good thinning out! If I were going to do anything different, I would use one really dark print (or solid) for the center chain -- my green chain disappears partially because there is so much variation in value -- mediums to darks instead of just darks.

Book mark or print out the text of this post so you can give it a try down the road with your scrappy stash.  If this inspires you to make your own version, post a photo on Instagram and tag me @hueymary - I want to see it!!




  1. Was it so hot that the squirrel melted on the arm of the chair? I love the quilt by the way...need to give one a go.

    1. That's what I was wondering, also. Thanks for the instructions for that great quilt, Mary.

    2. Actually, it was a lovely day -- that squirrel just likes to hang out there -- leaves footprints all over the chairs all the time!

  2. I'm loving the yellow and green pops amidst the scrappy chains! Been wanting to make another Irish Chain quilt and use up scraps -- this may be the one! Whoo boy, CAB is right, that squirrel does look beat by the heat!

  3. Hi Mary, what a great scrappy quilt!

  4. Looks great and like a lot of fun. I want to make it right now - along with the 157 other projects I want to make right now. Sigh. Soon, maybe. Thanks for the instructions.

  5. LOVE it! Thank you for the cutting and instructions! I just happen to have a ton of squares sitting around as well.

  6. I love this quilt, the alternate squares with yellow, green and white centers is much more interesting than big blank white spaces.