15 terrific twists: the Irish Chain quilt block links us all (+ giveaway!)


Each month, our editorial department presents upcoming books to our marketing department. Not only does everyone get to hear about books on the way, they get to see projects up close and in person, too.

Irish Chain QuiltsWhen the new book Irish Chain Quilts was presented at the meeting a few months ago, it created a unique kind of excitement. Why? Because it spoke to every quilter in the office, no matter her style. Modern quilters ooohed; traditional quilters aaahed. Appliqué lovers and improv piecers alike were delighted by author Melissa Corry’s creativity.

Our reaction to this beautiful book is unanimous: leave it to a classic quilt block to “link” us all together!

Only one question remained: which quilt to make first? We answered that question by joining Melissa for her upcoming blog hop in June. Here’s a sneak peek at the quilt we’re making for the hop—it’s coming along!
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Staff Irish Chain blocks
See the finished quilt here at Stitch This! on June 19.

Today we’re happy to have Melissa Corry as a guest, to tell us more about how her innovative book came to be. Welcome, Melissa!


Hello to all of you wonderful Martingale readers. My name is Melissa Corry and you can normally find me at my blog Happy Quilting. But today, I am super excited to be visiting here to share a little bit about my new book!

Why the Irish Chain? It’s a traditional design dating back to Colonial times, and it has a personal draw for me. For my wedding, my mother made me a beautiful queen-sized Double Irish Chain quilt. It was our master bedspread for many years. As my children hit their toddler years, the quilt became “well-loved” and was moved to a quilt rack to be admired. It was one of the first quilts my mother made and it will always be a treasured heirloom.

Melissa Corry and family
My Double Irish Chain wedding quilt, created by my mother and cherished by my family.

So you can see why Irish Chain blocks are special to me. And while teaching or meeting new friends in the online community, I’m amazed at how many quilters found their start in quilting with an Irish Chain.

I wanted to make Irish Chain Quilts for everyone! What do I mean by that? When I’m asked, “What kind of quilter are you?” I say I am a quilter. I love it all. Some days I feel like throwing together fabrics without a plan, and other days I want lots of precise cutting followed by a wonderfully therapeutic session of chain piecing. I love jumping from one type of design to another. It helps push me out of my comfort zone and try new things. I wanted to bring that diversity into my book as well.

Irish Chain Quilts is divided into four sections, each featuring quilts that blend the classic crisscross motif with the design concepts of today.

In the Twists on Tradition section, you’ll find single Irish Chain quilts that have little twists on simple squares. The quilts in this section use a lot of strip piecing, making them fast to piece. The quilts in this section are in my designing comfort zone.

Breaking Up quilt
From the Twists on Tradition section: “Breaking Up”

See 3 more tradition-with-a-twist quilts >

In the Modern Patchwork section, you’ll play with bold colors, minimalism, negative space, and asymmetry. Designing these quilts pushed me outside my comfort zone. I was an accountant before I was a mom; I like symmetry and balance. But modern design is a great way to express your creativity with no boundaries. It was fun for me to push the limits of my design concepts.

Unraveled quilt
From the Modern Patchwork section: “Unraveled”

See 3 more modern versions of Irish Chain >

The Improvisational Piecing section is where you’ll find fun, fun, fun. Most of your fabrics are going to be stacked, slashed, and/or trimmed. A combination of structure and fun—start one and see where it takes you!

Bitty Bits quilt
From the Improvisational Piecing section: “Bitty Bits”

See 3 more wonky wonders from Irish Chain Quilts >

In the final section, Appliquéd Chains, you’ll learn basic raw-edge appliqué. Appliqué is fun because it gives you the ability to use any shape. The blocks are simple and they repeat, so you don’t have to appliqué a lot of different shapes. Who knows? Before long you just might start adding a bit of appliqué flair to all of your projects.

Daisy Chain quilt
From the Appliquéd Chains section: “Daisy Chain”

Discover hot dots and happy houses in more appliqué quilts >

And that is Irish Chain Quilts! Thank you to Martingale for having me as a guest blogger today. Let me sign off with my own little Irish blessing for you. May the Irish Chain design fit your comfort zone and allow you to stretch and try new things. Happy Quilting!


Thanks for sharing the “chain” of events that led to your beautiful book, Melissa!

Which Irish Chain quilt would you try first: tried-and-true traditional style or fun-and-funky modern style? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Irish Chain Quilts eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Can’t wait to see if you’re a winner? Pick up Irish Chain Quilts now at ShopMartingale:

Print book (with free eBook): $24.99
eBook only: $16.99

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Debbie, who says:

“I’m excited to see the fun and funky twists on the tried and true. I love the sample block with the houses! So cute.”

Debbie, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


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