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dsc04696-1So, you went to the Guild meeting and picked up your Single Irish Chain kit, and looked at my blog post and said to yourself, “Surely, she doesn’t expect me to cut up everything into little squares and do all that tedious piecing.”

You’re right, I don’t expect you to do all that “tedious piecing.” (And, just to show my age, “don’t call me Shirley.”)

If you know shortcuts, I expect you to use them… as long as the Irish Chain blocks come out to 9.5″ square, no one but you will know how you made them!

But just in case you don’t know another way to make the 4-patch units, here’s another couple of ways you can do it:

Strip Piecing

If you’ve been around quilting for a bit, you’ve heard of Eleanor Burns (and if you don’t, she’s a well known quilt teacher, writer, etc and champion of strip piecing.)

So, you could cut the 4″x 6″ rectangles into 2″x 6″ strips, or you use do a shortcut:

1. Lay the two rectangles print sides together, aligned on all four sides. dsc04682
2. Sew 1/4″ from both long sides. dsc04685
3. Cut the  rectangles you have just sewn together into 2″ strips, on the long side. DSC04687 (1).jpg
4. Press the strip sets open. I usually press towards the dark fabric.

(If you have elected to cut the rectangles as strips and sewn them together separately, you can use the instructions from now on.

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5. Lay the strip sets print side together, with the dark fabric facing the light fabric, aligned on all sides, but pay special attention to the seams (they should meet exactly and the lump of one should be on one side, and the lump of the other, on the other.)
6. Cut 2″ units from the strip sets you arranged in the previous step (you should get 4.) dsc04691
7.  Keeping the units aligned as when you cut then, sew on the long side.

(Here, I have my pins pointing to the edge I will use to sew my seam.)

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8. Press open. dsc04693-1

Hip to Be Square

There’s one more shortcut I’m going to show you using the rectangles we provided in the Irish Chain kit to make the 4-patches.

1. Cut the 4″x 8″ rectangles into 4″x4″ squares. DSC04697.jpg
2. Align one blue square and one white square, printed sides together, aligned on all sides.
3. Sew a 1/4″ seam on one side of the pair of squares.
4. Sew a 1/4″ seam on the opposite side of the squares DSC04698.jpg
5. Cut the square in half, parallel to the seams DSC04699.jpg
6. Press the units open.

I usually press the seam towards the darker fabric.

DSC04700.jpg
7. Lay the squares print side together, with the dark fabric facing the light fabric, aligned on all sides, but pay special attention to the seams (they should meet exactly and the lump of one should be on one side, and the lump of the other, on the other.) dsc04701
8. Sew a 1/4″ seam on the side of the pair of squares that has two colors
9. Sew a 1/4″ seam on the opposite side of the pair of squares (which will also have two colors DSC04702.jpg
10. Cut the square in half, parallel to the seams. DSC04703.jpg
11. Press open.

Each pair of squares will yield a pair of 4-patches.

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There.  That should give you some ideas of how to make the corner 4-patch units.

Next week, I hope to have the written (and photographed) instructions on how to make the 9-patch portion of the Single Irish Chain, but if you can’t wait, there is a YouTube video by The Quilt Codex that should give you an idea of how to do it. Just be aware that ours is a 9″ block and theirs is a 12″ block.

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