By Dawn, Jan 18 2018 02:00PM
It’s been really lovely reading your comments, and about the things you'd like to practice in the course of the Sweetest Things Sampler Quilt-along, we'll be including those too - and can't wait to begin! It’s going to be a lovely quilt-along with a variety of techniques, so something for everyone.
The first post covers materials required and how to make the 13 Irish Chain blocks, and can now be downloaded.
Click to open or download PDF. Or if you prefer, read on....
Each completed block in our quilt measures 10½” before piecing into the quilt-top. The blocks could be used individually for smaller projects too, such as a mini-quilt, cushions or a table topper.
If you happen to miss a block in the series, you can still find it in the Sweetest Things Sampler section of Honeybee Cloths www.honeybeecloths.co.uk/sweetest_things_sampler
So pop the kettle on for a cuppa, pull up a comfy chair, and let’s begin:
Throughout the Quilt-along, both myself, and Michelle of Creative Blonde, will be using quilting weight cottons for our blocks, including Brenda Riddle collections – Caroline and Bespoke Blooms. These are such pretty collections, and will make a really gorgeous quilt. However if you have a stash-full of prints in need of a good home, the Sampler is for them too
Using different colour combinations or colour values (light and dark) can produce very different effects in your Irish Chain. The Irish Chain blocks in the Sweetest Things Sampler use at least 8 different prints, which lend a lovely scrappy effect to the quilt.
Material requirements for Quilt-top:
1.8 metre / 2 yards - 45” wide / - Plain Off-white or Low volume print cotton fabric
e.g. Moda Bella Solids Off-white 9900-200
16 Fat Eighths (25cm x 55cm) in pretty cotton prints Caroline/ Bespoke Blooms
Or 8 Long Quarters (25cm x 110cm)
3 Fat Quarters in Solid colours
(e.g. Moda Bella Solids -Taupe 9900 310, Light Lime 9900 100, Pale pink 9900 26 or similar.)
Border: (optional) 1.6m / 60” – 45” wide cotton fabric
Binding: 0.5 metre / 20”- 45” wide cotton fabric
Notions: Thread for piecing, fusible interfacing or webbing (for applique); Quilting thread. Some of the blocks also include optional trimmings e.g. seed beads, embroidery thread etc.
Equipment: Rotary cutter, ruler and mat, sewing machine, iron and pressing board, pins and needles, scissors, erasable marking pen. Optional: freezer paper, basting glue, basting spray.
Backing and batting: will be covered in more detail in the next blog post. As well as piecing and quilting as a whole, there will be the option of Quilt as you go.
If making blocks individually for smaller projects, such as a mini-quilt or cushion, you'll need:
To make one Irish Chain block
• 1 – 2 ½” x 45” (110cm) strip Plain Off-white or Low volume cotton fabric
• 1 – 2 ½” x 20”( 55cm) strip pretty cotton prints - Caroline and Bespoke Blooms
• 1 – 2 ½” square pretty fabric
Each Sampler block requires
• 10½” square* Plain Off-white or Low volume cotton fabric.
(*Or 11” square, if you Quilt as You Go)
• Small amounts of cotton prints.
If you’re ready and eager to sew, skip to the Irish Chain block tutorial below. :)
Irish Chain block tutorial
Irish Chain block is a lovely versatile pattern. In this method, each block is made from four quick and easy 4-patch units. These are quick to make, sew one or two 4-patch units whenever you have a few minutes to spare, and before you know it you have enough for the Irish Chain blocks in the Sampler.
There are 13 Irish Chain blocks, in our 50” x 50” (1.27m x 1.27m) quilt top.
If you’re new to sewing, or just need a refresher, Irish Chain blocks are ideal, as you get to practice the basics in piecing precisely….
• Measure twice, cut once - Cutting strips precisely makes piecing a lot easier
• Check the ¼” mark on your machine - Where this is can vary from machine to machine – use a ruler to check.
• Squaring up – Trimming the 4-patch units to 4 ½” square, helps when joining everything up.
To make the scrappy version of the Irish Chain blocks you’ll need:
• 36” (1 yard / approx 92cm) – 45” wide Plain Off-white or low volume cotton fabric
Sliced into (14) - 2 ½” x 45” strips (reserve 6 strips to cut into 4 ½” x 2 ½” pieces in step 8) -
In the original PDF instructions 13 strips were recommended, but I've since found it easier to cut 14, from a yard of fabric, keeping the eight strips for making 4-patch units, and the 6 strips for step 8 separate.
• Either 16 Fat Eighth pieces - OR - 8 Long Quarters in assorted pretty fabrics.
From each piece cut
(1) - 2 ½” square
(1) - 2 ½” strip e.g. 2½” x 22” strip cut from Fat Eighth - OR - 2 ½” x 45” strip cut from Long Quarter
If working with strips cut from a Fat Eighth, you'll need to cut the 45" x 2½”off-white strip in half to make a 22" x 2½” piece.
1. Pair up a plain and patterned 2½” strip. Sew right sides together.
2. Press seams open, or to one side, towards the darker strip – whichever you find easiest to piece.
3. Group the strips into complimentary pairs.(Photo of 4 pairs of 8 strips cut from Long Quarters. If using Fat Eighths group 16 strips into 8 pairs.)
4. Working with one group at a time. Line up the strip sets on your cutting mat, and slice into 2 ½”units.
5. Place units right sides together, so the plain and print fabrics are next to each other.
6. Match centre seams, so they nest closely. Sew to make 4 patch block
7. Press and square up the 4-patch unit, to 4 ½” square.
8. Place the 4-patches in order, together with the centre square. Cut 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" strips for the remaining off-white strips, place in order shown below.
Sew units together into rows, as shown by grey arrows. Press seams open or in direction of white arrows. Sew rows 1 to 2, and 2 to 3 together, and press.
Your first Irish Chain block is complete!
We’d love to see the Irish Chain blocks you make, so please do post them on Instagram using the hashtag – # SweetestThingsSampler.
Our next post skips to quilting, and the option of using a Quilt As You Go technique. Then in February, our first Sampler block, Is an absolute darling. It’s made and designed by Michelle of Creative Blonde, so lots to look forward too.
Till next time, from our little hive to yours,
Dawn x X
ps. If you'd like to receive a link to each of the downloadable PDF's in the Sweetest Things Sampler, please complete and send the Contact form on the right hand side of this page x x