Double Irish Chain Quilt Instructions

    by Caroline Fritz

    About the Author

    Caroline Fritz has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.


    Quilting, which was once a necessary chore, has become a favorite pastime for many crafters. While new patterns are created every day, the traditional quilts are still very much in favor. The Irish Chain quilt is one of the most universally known quilt patterns and has been popular since at least the early 1800s. While other quilt patterns were renamed due to location changes, the Irish Chain quilt has kept the same name, making it very recognizable.

    Composition of the Double Irish Chain

    The Double Irish Chain quilt, a variation of the Irish Chain quilt, contains blocks that are laid out on the diagonal in a checkerboard pattern with small patches made of two blocks each at all four corners. The pattern is formed by two different blocks pieced together to form a secondary design, unlike typical quilt patterns that rely on the single block design. It is extremely helpful to find a pattern for the quilt to help you visualize the complexity of the cutting and piecing involved.

    Recommended Color and Size

    With this design you must put thoughtful consideration into the color scheme you will use. Sherry Cerny Ogden in her book, "Irish Chain Quilts," recommends using a light, a medium and a dark fabric in complementary colors for a Double Irish Chain quilt. The dimensions of the quilt determine how much fabric you'll need to buy -- from a baby quilt measuring 62 inches by 62 inches, all the way up to a king-size of 106 inches by 106 inches.

    The Cutting Process

    Cut the pieces after you determine the colors. Ogden's book contains a cutting chart for all five sizes of quilts. Baby quilts require 15 blocks, twin quilts need 45 blocks, double quilts need 63 blocks, queen quilts need 63 blocks and king-sized quilts need 81 blocks. If you use a light, medium and dark color for your fabric, the size of the blocks depends on the size of the quilt. For example, for a double-sized quilt you would cut eighteen 2 1/2-inch-wide strips.

    Piecing and Quilting

    Sew the strips together to make the pattern. Ogden recommends sewing five strips together at a time, by color. For example, for row one, sew a medium strip, dark strip, light strip, dark strip and a medium strip. The remaining rows alternate colors to culminate in the final design. Sew the border onto the piece after the strips have been sewn together. Assemble the quilt layers -- the pieced top, batting and backing -- and secure them in a quilting frame that allows you to sew through all three layers, which is also how you quilt the piece. The stitching on the top can outline the seams in the squares, or can be a free-form or template design of your choosing.