Thursday, March 5, 2015

Irish Chain Quilt-A-Long - Modern Patchwork Blocks

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win $100.00 or $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule:

Appliqued Chains Block - Assembling - Mar 12th
Appliqued Chains Block - Stitching - Mar 19
Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky - Mar 26th
Parade and Grand Prizes - April 23rd

Before we get any farther,  we need to pick a winner for last weeks Twists on Tradition Units assignment.   And great job to everyone that finished up their Blocks!!! And we made it over 50 participants!!  SO exciting!!!

The Improvisation Piecing Block winner who gets 2 Dear Stella Charm Packs  from Bear Creek Quilting Company is . . .
# 27 -  Kim R!!! - Congrats :)


So here we are ready to make some more blocks!!   If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)  Just see the schedule above for the posts you missed and start quilting along ;)  


Today we are going to do lots and lots of chain piecing!!!   And just a quick note - this weeks assignment is probably the largest of all weeks.  It really has a lot of chain piecing.  So be sure not to leave it all to the last minute as you might need a few sessions to get this one done  ;)  With that said, let's get to it :)


We will start today by turning our 2 Patch units into 4 Patch Units like the one below ;)   Each unit is made with a 2 1/2" 2 Patch Unit and a 3" 2 Patch Unit.

These go together super quick.  You will be placing the 2 1/2" unit onto the 3" unit with right sides together, stitching a 1/4" seam along the edge and then pressing the seam allowance open.   So let's break it down a bit ;)

The nice thing about making these 4 Patch units is that because of the way you pressed your seams, your seam allowances will now "nest".  This means they will lie flat right next to each other nice and snug.  When sewing your units, you can choose to simply "nest" or align your seams as you go along,

Or if you are fairly new to quilting or really love precision, you can nest your seams and then pin them in place before you start sewing.

If you choose to pin, I recommend turning on a good movie, grabbing a big box of pins, and pin all of your 4 patch sets before you start sewing.

Then you are ready to move to your machine, and once again, we are chain stitching!!!  Whether you are Aligning your seams as you go and just using the nesting factor to ensure your points, or if you have pinned your units in advance, you are just going to keep stitching a 1/4" seam along the edge, one after another until all of your 4 patch sets have been sewn.

And a few helpful hints for the Pinned Units - Remove the pins before you sew over them or at least slow down before you get to a pin.   I like to remove them right before I get to them so that I have already put a stitch in the actual seam.  And I can honestly say, I don't always remove the pins, and I can also say I have had some scary situations with broken needles and pin pieces flying towards my face.   So take care ;)

And  be sure that as you get to the end of each 4 patch unit that your corners are still aligned.  They can want to scooch out sometimes ;)

And a few helpful hints for the Nesting as you Go Units -  I like to sort of wiggle my units together right before I take them to the machine.  This way I make sure that they are aligned just right ;)

Then, I keep one finger on the seam as I begin to sew, once again, keeping the seam aligned.

As I get to the seam allowance, I just slight my finger down the seam allowance, getting it out of the way but still holding my units together.   Then just finish sewing down the unit, once again making sure your corners are aligned.

So which ever way you decide to go about sewing your 4 Patch Units, just keep stitching, just keep stitching making sure that each set is made up of a 2 1/2" unit and a 3" unit with the prints and background fabrics opposite one another.  (and they won't nest if you don't have it this way so you will know something is amiss ;)

When you are done all of your units, go ahead and clip your threads between each unit.

Then it's over to the ironing board.  I like to press my seams open so they lie nice and flat, but you can always press them to one side if you prefer.

And now you have a big old stack of 4 Patch Units and you are ready to start putting the block together ;)


We start the block by making the patchwork row.   You will be turning all of your 4 patch units into rows like shown below.   You always want to double check the placement of your 4 Patch units because they are opposite one another and it is easy to get them mixed up.   But I will be reminding you along the way, so no worries ;)

We will start with the left hand side of the row.   Place a 1 1/2" x 5" sashing rectangle onto your 4 Patch unit with as shown below.  Your larger print square should be on the bottom row.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.

And you know what is next.  Chain Stitching!!!  Just keep placing a sashing onto your 4 patch, no need for pins, just align as you stitch.  Double check that each time you get ready to sew, that the larger Print square is in the bottom right hand corner.  Continue stitching units until you have used all of your small sashing units.

Then clip your threads between your units and stack them up.

And now to the ironing board.  Press the seam allowances towards the sashing.  I like to press mine from the front,  (although my iron would be pointing the other direction normally, with the tip towards the way I am pressing, sorry, bad job setting up that picture ;)

And now you are ready to add the second 4 Patch Unit to your sewn row.  So to do this, you will place the 4 Patch Unit onto the sashing strip and sewing a 1/4" seam along the edge.

And once again, we are going to chain stitch all of the units.  To double check, be sure the smaller Print Square is in the bottom right hand corner this time.  Just the opposite of last time ;)  Continue chain stitching all of your sewn row units.

And then clip the threads between the units.

And move to the ironing board.  Once again you will be pressing the seam allowance towards the sashing rectangle.  This time I like to press from the back.

And you are just about there.  Now you just have to sew the rows together.   Take 1/2 of your Patchwork Rows and lay them out as the top row as shown below and take the other 1/2 of your Patchwork Rows and lay them out as the bottom row as shown below.  Double check that your placement is the same as mine.  Then lay the 1 1/2" x 10 1/2" sashing strip between the 2 rows.

And this is where I have to apologize.  I am so, so sorry!  In the original cutting directions, (which I have changed this morning to be accurate)  I somehow listed this as 10" instead of 10 1/2".  I did not even know until someone pointed it out to me this morning.  I double checked my notes and they had 10 1/2" and I somehow just dropped the 1/2" when I was typing up the charts.  I can't tell you how many times I double check the cutting instructions before I post them but this one slipped through.  I am so sorry.

So, what can you do . . . I suggest 3 fixes, and again I am so sorry.

1 - See how close you are by checking your sashing strip onto your row.  If you tend to use a slightly large 1/4" seam you might find that with just a tiny bit of stretching, your strip will be long enough.

2 - You can add a 1 1/2" x 1" piece to the end of each of your strips making them 10 1/2".

3 - You can cut new strips.  Luckily, because this is such a super skinny piece, that won't be a lot of yardage.

Again, I am so sorry that I messed this up.   If you have any questions at all on the three options above and how they relate to your project, please don't hesitate to email me at

So, back to sewing.  Place the long stashing strip onto the top row.  Once again, you can choose to align as you go or put a few pins in either end, but again, you will want to pin all of your sets before you start to sew.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

And once you have sewn one, just keep feeding them through.  More chain stitching ;)   To double check your alignment, just be sure that that top left hand corner of each row being fed through the machine is the Large Print Square.

And you know the drill.  Clip your threads.

And then press towards the sashing.   And on this step, I like to press from the front of the unit ;)

And now, lay your now sewn together first and second rows back out in your original layout.   And now, it's just one more seam to sew ;)

Place the bottom row onto the sewn first and second row.   And now, the first place I like to align is the 2 center sashing units.  Be sure that the seams are aligning as shown in the picture below.  Then you once again choose to pin your edges or align as you go.  And one last time, sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

And continue chain stitching all of your units.  Double check that this time the Small Print square is in the top left hand corner and that you are aligning those center sashings.   Continue chain stitching all of your units.

And then clip your threads.

And move to the ironing board one last time.   Once again, press the seam allowance towards the sashing rectangle and I like to press from the back.

And your Modern Patchwork Blocks are done!!!!   Yippee, that was a lot of stitching but you made it!!!!

And just as a double check - Here is how many blocks you should have ;)

And remember how I said you might have some extra units if you cut up all of your strip pieced rows from last week - Well here is what I made with mine.  2 extra blocks that will go in my orphan block pile and be used for a fun sample quilt someday ;)  And you don't have to make the blocks the exact same, have some fun with them. stitch them up any way you like ;)

And with your Assignment all complete, you are ready to link up for a chance to win the Weekly Prize!!!!

This weeks Weekly Prize is being sponsored by The Scarlet Thread Quilt Co. and a huge thanks goes to them for their support of the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.

This weeks prize is 2 April Showers Charm Packs!!!  Don't you just love some Bonnie and Camille Goodness!!!

So what do you have to do for a chance to win these charms?  Simple . . . Just link up your Modern Patchwork Blocks at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post, flickr picture, Instagram, Facebook . . .  or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by next Thursday morning as I will be announcing a winner at the beginning of next weeks post :)

If you don't get your Modern Patchwork Blocks done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :)    The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your sewn blocks to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #irishchaintwistqal.    I am so excited to see your blocks!!!!

So let's get chain stitching!!!  And if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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  1. Oh my gosh! I am so excited! I loved those charm packs when I saw them. Thank you so much! Now I hope to get this step done before I head to Lancaster, PA for the quilt show. Thanks again!

  2. Congratulations Kim, that will be a fun little package to receive in the mail. Yep, you are right Melissa, this is a big one. I'd better get my tail to work.


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)