Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Irish Chain


This was my first bed-size (twin) quilt. I wanted to do an Irish Chain - it seemed like a fun, not too difficult, pattern to do. But I didn't want the chain to extend out to the border, as in a typical quilt. I wanted to "finish" the chain and make it a floating design. The idea was that the full chain would lay on top of the bed, and the border would drop down the sides. Seemed logical enough, so I drafted a pattern to do that. I carefully counted rows and inches, measured the bed twice, recalculated the number of rows, and set out to make the quilt.

It went together really quickly. Strip piecing is great, and I was able to put together the blocks in just a few days. A bit of care was needed to make sure all the edge blocks were constructed correctly, but even that was not too difficult. In retrospect, the pattern should have started & ended with the wider chain sections - that would have filled out towards the corners more and I think would have been a more pleasing balance overall.

Once the center was done, the border stumped me for a while. I wanted something that would blend nicely with the chain. I considered a 9-patch pattern for some time, but it wasn't quite what I wanted. Coincidentally, around the same time, my quilt guild had a seminar on seminole piecing. As soon as I saw it, I knew that this would be the border for this quilt. By turning the chain 45 degrees, the border obtained the same jagged-edge look as the rest of the chain.

Once again I measured and cut and re-measured to get the border just right, with perfect transitions in the corners. There was a lot of faith and I think a bit of luck in getting the size to work out so that every square is a full piece, and no cheating was necessary to fit.

The final step of course was quilting. Still being new at this, I stuck to straight line quilting for the main part, outlining the chain. Then, I quilted 5-pointed stars joined by some meandering around the outside of the chain, and a single star in each square.

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