Two-Color Irish Chain Quilt Along - Week 2

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Welcome to week 2 of the Two-Color Irish Chain Quilt-Along!
I hope you've decided on your two colors and that you 
had a chance to wash, dry and press your fabrics.

Before we get started with this week's assignment, there are two things I want to draw 
your attention to.  First, there are two blocks in this Irish Chain pattern, 
the Checkerboard Block and the Alternate Block.

Checkerboard Block                         Alternate Block

You may notice that this Alternate Block image differs ever so slightly from those in the original quilt images shown in previous weeks, the QAL Week 1, 2, 3, etc. images and the image below.  I have opted to go with the style above, which eliminates two seams, which will save time and allow for more strip piecing and fewer seams.  Hopefully, that doesn't throw anyone off (specifically anyone that has worked ahead of schedule!  I hate having unnecessary seams when adjacent pieces are the same fabric.  But if you are one of those people that did work ahead of schedule and did the original style featured below - don't panic.  You can definitely make then Alternate Block with 4 small squares, 4 rectangles and 1 large square in the center like so:

  Second, each of the two blocks requires two colors.  
I will be referring to the colors as “color 1” (which is the dark green shown here) 
and “color 2” (which is the white shown here).  

The assignment for this week is to do all the cutting for your quilt.
Please note: yardage requirements are based on 40” of useable fabric width and
“WOF” stands for width of fabric.  The finished block size = 10".

Here are the cutting instructions for the two different size quilt options.

From color 1 fabric, cut:
              24 strips, 2½” x WOF (Checkerboard Blocks)
              8 strips, 2½” x WOF (Alternate Blocks)
              9 strips, 2½” x WOF (Binding)

From color 2 fabric, cut:
              26 strips, 2½” x WOF (Checkerboard Blocks)
              4 strips, 6½” x WOF (Alternate Blocks), these will be used for strip piecing later.
              6 strips, 10½” x WOF (Alternate Blocks), subcut into:
                             31 rectangles, 6½” x 10½”

From color 1 fabric, cut:
              34 strips, 2½” x WOF (Checkerboard Blocks)
              10 strips, 2½” x WOF (Alternate Blocks)
              10 strips, 2½” x WOF (Binding)

From color 2 fabric, cut:
              36 strips, 2½” x WOF (Checkerboard Blocks)
              5 strips, 6½” x WOF (Alternate Blocks), these will be used for strip piecing later.
              7 strips, 10½” x WOF (Alternate Blocks), subcut into:
                             40 rectangles, 6½” x 10½”

If you're new to the quilting scene, here are some time-saving tips that I like to use:

 1. Fabric comes off the bolt folded.  Opposite the folded edge is two selvage edges.  Refold the pre-washed fabric so the selvage edges align again.  This will allow you to cut through two layers of fabric at a time.  I actually like to cut through 4 layers at a time though so I fold the length of my folded fabric in half.  Then align the 2 folded edges (the ones opposite the selvage edges) along the bottom line of your sewing mat.

2. Make sure your fabric is straight and flat and then square off the raw edges of fabric on the first line of your mat.  I'm right-handed so I squared off my fabric on the first line of the right side of my mat (the 36" mark).  

3. Proceed to cut strips every 2 -1/2" (or whatever strip width you're instructed to cut).

Adjust your fabric and square up again as needed.

Follow steps 1-3 for all cuts/colors of fabric.
4. When cutting rectangles, cut strips first and then trim off the selvages 
(use one of the lines on your mat as a guide).

5.  Then "subcut" the rectangles according to the size listed in the pattern directions.  Again, use the lines on your mat as cutting guides.  (I have separated the stacks of rectangles in the picture below so you could see them cut).  I probably have 4 rectangles in each stack.  This is a great way to cut several (24) rectangles with just a few quick cuts.

When you're finished cutting you can group your strips and rectangles together according 
to the blocks they'll be used for if you'd like.

I tied up my binding strips with a piece of twine so they wouldn't get mixed in with the block strips.

That's it for this week!

If you'd like to share a picture on Instagram of your cute cutting pile,
please use the hashtag #irishchainqal and tag me @gigis_thimble.
I'd love to see your progress!  No pressure either way though! 

Have a great day!


  1. I love less seams! Thanks for all your work!!

    1. Oh I'm glad to hear that. I was so anxious about changing it after the fact! Thought I was going to have a lot of people mad at me. Glad you approve my decision! :)


  2. I have found that the measurements on some mats are not accurate so I use the measurements on my ruler and cut the opposite direction across my board. You are cutting right to left across your board. I cut left to right.

    1. That's a great idea! I don't usually use the lines on my mat unless the strips are longer than my ruler or I am cutting a ton of pieces! Thank you for the tip though!



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