Friday, 8 March 2013

Single Irish Chain Charm Quilt

As I am at the beginning of my Nearly Insane Quilt journey, I thought I would share another of my completed hand pieced, hand quilted marathons with you.  This is my Irish Chain Charm Quilt. It is hand pieced, using the English Paper Piecing method, and hand quilted.


Single Irish Chain Charm Patchwork Quilt
Single Irish Chain Quilt
The start of my patchwork and quilting journey started when I inherited a fabric stash from a friend.  Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of fabric and thread in my life, just not the 100% cottons used for patchwork and quilting.  Some of the little gems in the collection were bags of  small charm squares, which were less than 2" square. 
Fabric Charm Squares, 1" - 2" square
Fabric Charm Squares, 1" - 2" square
I believe they were from the era before the internet and online fabric databases, when mail order shops would send out small samples for customers to select their quilt colours from.  These little pieces intrigued me, and quietly laid down the gauntlet 'find a project to use us in'An Irish Chain quilt was the solution.  Also, we were expecting the arrival of a camper van, so I decided to make a quilt for use in the van.


Single Irish Chain Quilt Fabadashery
Single Irish Chain Patchwork Quilt
Obviously the size of the charm squares put a limit on the size of my shapes, so each small square was 1" big.  I made up the English paper piecing templates using the Table function in MS Word, where I could set the size of the cells to be 1" x 1", print them off and cut them out.  From the charm packs I selected the deep and warm toned charm squares, which have a jewel like effect, and sought out a light background fabric that would add a subtle texture.  I had already started to cover these little squares with the charm fabrics on the train to work, before I found a suitable background fabric.  In the end I chose a little tan, tone on tone sprig print, "Bound to the Prairie" #9195 by Kansas Troubles for Moda (some of you may be familiar with it - it was the neutral in my 2012 Easy Street Mystery Quilt).  It also matched the woodwork in the camper van perfectly.
Single Irish Chain Quilt - Ideal for a Camper Van!
Single Irish Chain Quilt - Ideal for a Camper Van!
I remember pouring the squares out onto the shop counter to match up this co-ordinating fabric as the assistant looked at me in disbelief, commenting ,"You do know there is an easier way of doing this, don't you?" Yes, there might have been, but at the time carrying a sewing machine on the train each day was not an option! This portable hand piecing project went with me everywhere, and often or not, a stray square would turn up in the boot of the car, down the side of the sofa - I often wonder how many got left on the train...

Irish Chain Patchwork Quilt
Irish Chain Patchwork Quilt
The Single Irish Chain pattern is made up from a 9-patch, alternating the background fabric and the main fabric.  In this case, the 1" squares made up a 9-patch 3" x 3", and that was the same size as the alternating 3" x 3" background fabric square.
Detail of hand pieced 9 patch block Irish Chain Quilt
Detail of hand pieced 9 patch block, Irish Chain Quilt
The quilt is hand quilted, firstly by quilting around the coloured squares, and then by adding a further cross-hatch pattern in the centre.  The border is also cross-hatched.  On this particular quilt, I think this simple quilting pattern works well with the Irish Chain quilt.

Scrappy Border - SingleIrish Chain Quilt Fabadashery
Scrappy Border - Irish Chain Quilt
To add to the scrappy nature of the quilt I decided to make up the binding from further scraps, which are also 3" long.  The background fabric was also part of the Kansas Trouble, 'Back to the Prairie' range.  Up close it is a very pretty print, and although it disguises the quilting stitches on the back nicely, from a distance the colours tend to blend into a muddy colour.  I used a small piece to make a quilt label using my Husqvarna Designer 1 Embroidery Machine, using Isacord embroidery thread.  I didn't use a strong contrasting thread, as I prefer a more subtle label, but it does the trick.

Quilt Label - Single Irish Chain Quilt
Quilt Label - Single Irish Chain Quilt
This quilt tends to live in the camper van, getting used regularly if we head off on a trip during the winter months.  I love spotting all the different fabrics as I am cosied up in bed!

There are still plenty of these charm squares in my fabric collection, any ideas for the next project?

Joining up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Statistics
Dimensions: 150cm x 178cm (approx 5ft x 6ft)
Blocks: 3” x 3”
Piecing Method: English Paper Piecing. Hand Pieced
Quilting Method: Hand Quilted
Dates: Autumn 2006(?) – March 2009


Competition Entries:
2009 Traditional Quilts, Quilts UK , Malvern

14 comments:

  1. It is interesting how the simplest of patterns are often most effective.

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  2. So pretty, Francis. I am in the process of cutting blue squares for a long term triple irish chain project, but I do plan to machine piece mine and then hand quilt it!

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  3. I agree that there is an easier way to make a SIC but there is jsut something about an EPP project that is sew portable that draws me in as well...

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  4. Wow. I need to make a quilt like that! Really pretty.

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  5. I remember those tiny little fabric samples when I was young. I used them to make Barbie clothes. After seeing this lovely quilt, I wish I hadn't used them up so I could do this instead! What a great way to destash! (And I do all kinds of handicrafts on public transportation, too, so I further appreciate what you've put into this.)

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  6. Well, yes, this is nearly insane, but awfully gorgeous. You've made an heirloom. I made several (not this detailed) quilts by hand when I started out, but these days I do it all on the machine. So much fabric, so little time.

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  7. Oh, your quilt is fantastic!!!
    Love it!

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  8. Amazing! The Single Irish Chain is one of my favorite patterns and yours with the hand quilting is just DIVINE!

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  9. Absolutely love your quilt!! It's gorgeous! What a labour of love in hand piecing and such a good pattern to use. I applaud you!!

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  10. I love the Irish Chain! I just bought some blue to make a vintage looking irish chain. But I love your "samples" idea.

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  11. This. Is. Gorgeous!
    And pieced by hand! And quilted by hand! Truly awesome. I love the jewel tones on the tan background. Beautiful work.

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  12. Your quilt is very beautiful. I'll make one like! I adored those colors. They are very warm!

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