Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Irish Chain Scrap Buster Quilt - Part 2

Irish Chain Quilt - Work in Progress and Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts

The Irish Chain Quilt is coming along nicely, and is now a complete quilt top. This quilt top has been so fun to piece, it's up there with my top 5 favorite projects. The design is traditional but the fabrics are modern and feature many "i-spy" elements from animals, birds, and bees, to accessories, tools of the sewing trade, flowers, faces, and more. 

Irish Chain Quilt - Work in Progress and Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts
Irish Chain Quilt - Work in Progress | Red Pepper Quilts
Irish Chain Quilt - Work in Progress | Red Pepper Quilts

Quilt top measures 74 inches x 74 inches.
37 rows of 37 squares.
1369 squares each measuring 2.5" x 2.5" (incl seam allowances).
Pieced in Blocks - Block A and Block B (see below).
13 Block A units and 12 Block B units.
200+ different printed fabrics have been used to make this quilt top.

Fabrics used:
Irish Chain Quilt - Fabrics used | Red Pepper Quilts
  1. Flower Drops in Pink from the Milk, Flower, Sugar Collection by Elea Lutz (1 yard*)
  2. Pinhead in Black by Michael Miller (7/8 yard)
  3. Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Iron (3/4 yard)
  4. Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in White (1/2 yard)
  5. Lots of 2.5" square scraps!
*Fabric requirements are for the quilt as pictured made from 2.5" squares, and based on 44" wide fabric. Estimates are generous for rotary cutting but if using a fabric cutter you may need extra yardage.

Irish Chain Quilt - Quilt Layout | Red Pepper Quilts
Quilt Layout ~ alternating Block A and Block B
5 rows of 5 blocks
13 Block A Units
12 Block B Units
The quilt is made from two alternating blocks ~ Block A and Block B. I prefer to press seams together (to one side) and to ensure that all seams "nest" when sewing the blocks together I have pressed seams for my blocks as follows:

Block A
Irish Chain Quilt - Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts
Arrange fabric pieces as pictured - seven rows of seven squares - and sew squares together in horizontal rows, pressing seams for each row as indicated by the arrows (starting with top row: out and away from the center square, then for the next row press seams in towards the center square etc).

Block B
Irish Chain Quilt - Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts
Arrange fabric pieces as pictured taking note of placement of the feature fabric, and sew squares together in horizontal rows, pressing seams for each row as indicated by the arrows (opposite to how seams are pressed for block A).
Irish Chain Quilt - Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts
Pressing seams - Block A (Left) and Block B (right)
Once you have sewn all seven rows for your block, sew rows into blocks and press the final seams as indicated - for Block A press seams out and AWAY from the center row of squares, and for Block B press in and TOWARDS the center row of squares. Pressing your seams this way will ensure that regardless of which way you turn your blocks all seams will "nest" when sewing block A and Block B together. 

Irish Chain Quilt - Work in Progress and Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts

My quilt top is made from 25 blocks in total ~ 13 Block A units and 12 Block B units. After sewing my blocks together in five rows of five blocks the quilt top was as pictured above.

Irish Chain Quilt - Work in Progress andTutorial | Red Pepper Quilts

I have since added a single row of squares right around the edge of the quilt top so as to complete to repeat pattern. Cutting these additional 140+ scrappy squares has taken just about as long as it took to cut all of the other squares ... well, it certainly felt that way.

Irish Chain Scrap Buster Quilt - Work in Progress and Tutorial | Red Pepper Quilts

More soon,

Irish Chain Scrap Buster Quilt - Work in Progress - Part 1
Irish Chain Scrap Buster quilt - The Finished Quilt - Part 3
More RPQ scrap busting projects

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  1. Wonderful. I love the design and colours. Thanks for sharing how it was made.

  2. Your sense of color and style amazes me every time you post a new quilt. This one is charming and I wish it was mine!

  3. Amazing quilt top. Thanks for sharing all the "how to" pics. A little beyond my capabilities just yet - but maybe one day with time, practice and patience on my side :)

  4. Pretty quilt and thanks for sharing how it was made. It is a winner!


  5. Oh what fun you are having with simple squares! I like the way you "framed " them with the dotted fabric.

  6. Whoa! I love this Rits. The black pindots frame the colors really nicely.
    There is something rather olde timey about this. maybe it is just me.
    My gramma loved black things. She had black wall paper with a tiny design in her house. I have a small roll of it! Anyway, maybe this creation congers up that memory. I like it!

  7. This is so stunning Rita. Thank you for sharing this method. I love the pressing tips as well - that's half the battle to a flat/square quilt top. Do you speed cut your secondary (scappy pieces) or pick and pull from your stash and cut one at a time??

    1. Hi Jade - I did use a fabric cutter to cut the scrappy fabrics (other than the fussy cut squares) but it is still a matter of picking and pulling from stash one fabric at a time. I don't think that there are many fabrics that I have used more than 3 or 4 times. Rita

  8. Very nice! Thank you for all the how-tos. An Irish Chain this way is now on my list of quilts to make, thanks to you.

  9. This is awesome.... Thank u for all the info!!

  10. so did you use your fabric cutter machine for this?????

    1. Hi Anne - I did, as mentioned in my Work in Progress blog post here:


      I used a Sizzix fabric cutter and a 2.5" die to cut squares from scraps. It does save time, is very accurate and there really isn't a lot of fabric waste with this particular die.

      All the fabric squares that are fussy cut (feature a face, animal etc) were cut with rotary cutter and ruler. Rita

  11. Another fabulous quilt that makes us all want to sew!

  12. Wowie wow wow, I just love how the black makes the design pop! Another stunner, Rita!! XX!

  13. Such a striking layout of those bold Granny Square like blocks set among all that scrappy goodness. This is a very handsome quilt top. And sew BIG!

  14. Sewing 2.5 in. squares is really fast, until you sew hundreds and hundreds. I love the quilt! I reminds me of a granny squares afgan that my grandmother had on her sofa. We were not allowed to use it because some very old great-aunt had made it. At least this quilt will get used and loved and snuggled with. Thanks for the tutorial on pressing. I was wondering about that when you mentioned it in an earlier post.

  15. Rita, thank you for your continual generosity in showing how you make your quilts. You were one of the first quilting bloggers I found, and you've been such an inspiration to me. This quilt is one of my favorites that you've shown.

  16. You are so generous to include instructions for your quilts. I'm very interested in your "Top 5" list! My Pickle Dish quilt top is almost finished and my respect for your sense of color and placement (and your stash!) is renewed!

  17. Love this! I'm going to dig into my scraps and start die cutting some squares. I'm thinking about setting the blocks on point because I love the way your turned pix let me see both settings. And the on point setting reminds me of the Great Granny blocks.

  18. I think the use of the pink really made a difference in breaking the take over of the scraps giving them more pop

  19. Rita, thank your for sharing the tutorial and especially your pressing method...very helpful!


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