Irish Star Quilt Along Part 3: Triple Irish Chain Block TUTORIAL

Welcome to The Irish Stars Quilt Along Part 3:  Triple Irish Chain Block.  If you are new or nearly new, you might want to check out the IRISH STARS QUILT ALONG tab for more information.  Don’t worry.  You aren’t late.  You got here right on time.  It is THAT kind of quilt along.


The Triple Irish Chain block is just a  lot of squares.  It is the arrangement that makes all the difference.  Remember that this tutorial is for a single block.  Refer to Irish Star Quilt Along Part 2: Size and Scale to decide how many blocks you need to make for your quilt.  The number will vary between 4 and 180.  Yep, really!



21 base squares 1-1/2, 2 or 2-1/2″

4 background squares to match the size above.


  1. The only thing you HAVE to do in making this block is to make sure your background squares (white in my case) are correctly positioned:  in the CENTER position on each side.  DSC00576
  2. Grab 2 squares and sew them together.  You will do this a lot of times.  I keep my stack of squares to the right of my sewing machine in a little space where they are very handy but out of the way of my regular sewing.DSC00574
  3. I get asked how I make the decision of what to sew together.  Basically I try to keep good contrast between colors and not have the same fabric appear twice in a single block.  That is about as far as the “theory” goes.  Trust yourself and keep it lively.
  4. You will make 2 rows in the pattern: color, color, BACKGROUND, color, color. DSC00579
  5. You will make 1 row in the pattern: BACKGROUND, color, color, color, BACKGROUND.DSC00581
  6. You will make 2 rows of  color, color, color, color, color.DSC00585
  7. Lay them out in order as shown and sew together, nesting seam allowances in opposite directions.DSC00588
  8. Cut accurately. Press diligently.  Watch your seam allowance.  That is all that is really needed to be successful in working with small pieces. DSC00590
  9. Ta-dah!  You have completed a block.  Remember that your base square size determines the size of your block:  if 1-1/2″ then a 5-1/2″ block, if 2″ then 8″ block, if 2-1/2″ then a 10-1/2″” block. This is size-as-created including the seam allowance.  They will each be 1/2″ smaller when finished
  10. I am storing mine in a perfect size container.  It is very satisfying to watch them pile up.  The nice thing about scrappy leader-ender quilting is that it is practically FREE!  Other than the time to cut the squares, you are using thread you would have thrown away and fabric you would have thrown away. How worthwhile to make a quilt instead!DSC00592

10 thoughts on “Irish Star Quilt Along Part 3: Triple Irish Chain Block TUTORIAL

  1. Hmmm. I thought I had the best of both worlds (scrappy background and a place for eyes to rest) by planning each star to have a single background, but that they would be different. Now I see that that might be difficult to plan.

  2. Are the points on the stars made of half square triangles? And if so, do they finish at the same size as our squares? (If so, I would like to see if I have a compatible Accuquilt die.) Or are they flying geese units? Thanks.

    1. I made the star points using a stitch-trim-flip method. If you choose to use that method making the stars, yes, the points are made using blocks of the same size as your base square. What size are your base squares and I will try to send more information as needed. The star block tutorial will probably post sometime late next week.

  3. this is just so pretty. I have a mountain of scraps and need to get moving on this fantastic project. Thank you always for sharing your creativity

  4. Okay, here we go! My planning is this: scrappy. LOL I have a pile of lightest white and cream for those four sides. It will be what it is. And that will be great!

    1. If you are using 2-1/2″ base squares, you have made enough blocks for 2 queen size quilts. That is AMAZING! I haven’t posted finishing instructions yet, but, if you split each type of your blocks almost in half–40 in one pile and 41 in the other–then combine them so one quilt will have 41 chains and 40 stars and the other will have 40 stars and 41 chains. Lay them out alternating. One will have stars in the corners and one will have chains in the corners. If you want to make it larger than 90″ square, I would suggest a 2-1/2 plain border (94″). Or, if you want to go larger, add on an alternating base square/background (98″), or even another background after that (102″) that will make 2 VERY LARGE quilts.

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