In 1825, 14-year-old Jane Valentine started an Irish Chain quilt. Five years and 10,092 blocks later, her quilt was finally complete.
According to the National Museum of American History, Jane used 130 different cotton prints and a plain white background that is quilted “6 stitches per inch with a flower motif.”
(Keep in mind, every one of those tiny stitches was done by hand. No wonder it took 5 years!)
This week Jenny whipped up a new version of the Irish Chain based on our quick and easy Irish Change pattern. The addition of a sweet little flower block makes this Flower Chain quilt an absolute beauty!
Grab your favorite charm packs and click HERE to watch the tutorial!
Precut fabric revolutionized the quilting world. The quilting skill was historically passed down through teaching – one would learn the intricate and mathematical approach of measuring and cutting fabric by hand from the generation that came before. Anyone who has pieced a quilt knows it’s difficult work! Before you could even consider your project or layout, all the fabrics must be cut from bolts or repurposed from used materials. The margin for error was extraordinary, a single miscalculation could jeopardize an entire quilting project.
Quilting is now easier and more approachable thanks to precut fabrics. Precuts are perfect for beginners (that’s why Jenny uses them to teach!). If you don’t know what exactly a fat quarter is, or if you never heard of a honey bun, we hope this guide kicks off your quilting journey with confidence.
A Layer Cake is a curated bundle of 10″ squares of coordinating precut quilt fabric from a designer’s collection. These versatile packs can be used for a number of projects. Their larger size allows them to be to cut into strips or smaller squares if needed! A typical layer cake contains 42 squares of precut 10″ fabric, enough for a small quilt top. Depending on the distributor, layer cakes are also called ’10 stackers,’ ’10 squares,’ ’tiles,’ and ’10 karat crystals.’
With such a big cut of fabric, layer cakes can dazzle because the printed design catches the eye first. If you want to showcase a gorgeous fabric, consider Jenny’s spin on tradition and create the Irish Change quilt. The Layer Cakes in this project are left completely whole and highlighted with fabric strips to create a beautiful showcase of 10″ squares!
For an easy introduction to the world of Charm Packs, use the pack as it is and create the Charm Quilt on Point! This simple creation turns the Charm Pack fabrics on point before sewing them together to create a beautiful layout with little effort! Select your favorite Charm Pack (much like in the Irish Change quilt, your Charm Pack fabric will be the focal point), add a border and a back – you just created the easiest quilt you ever made!
Have you heard the saying “there’s always a bigger fish”? How about “there’s always a smaller square”? As you probably guessed, a Mini Charm Pack is exactly that – a smaller version of a Charm Pack! These fabric bundles contain forty-two 2.5″ squares of precut fabric, half the size of their larger counterpart! With a name as specific as Mini Charm Pack, it’s difficult find this precut under a different name (but let us know if you do!).
Think small when using this precut, it’s better used as a compliment than a feature! Mini Charm Packs create intricate and impressive designs, even though it’s really no different than sewing a larger square. The 2.5″ Mini Tumbler Quilt is a great option if you want to play with these mighty minis, but you can add creative flair to any quilt with a 2.5″ square as a cornerstone!
Let’s get away from squares and focus on strips! A Jelly Roll is a bundle of 2.5″ strips of precut quilt fabric, featuring an array of coordinating fabric from a designer’s collection. Jelly rolls make sewing up a cute strip quilt a snap. Not only are there countless patterns that use only a Jelly Roll, but you’ll find these strips so handy you may use them with other precuts. A standard Jelly Roll contains forty 2.5″ x 44″ strips of fabric and is also called a ‘rolie polie,’ ‘strip-pies,’ ‘roll ups’ or even just ‘2.5″ strips.’
One of the easiest quilts for beginners is the standard Jelly Roll Race quilt! Piece your Jelly Roll strip by strip, and you can stitch up 1,600 inches of fabric in less than an hour! This pattern can be wildly colorful, with constantly changing colors and designs – so be bold with your Jelly Roll choice!
The Honey Bun is the Jan to the Jelly Roll‘s Marcia. Have you ever heard of it? This slender roll is perfect for sashing and strip quilting. The Honey Bun is a bundle of forty 1.5″ strips of coordinated, precut fabric. When piecing a quilt top, it’s more common to use a Jelly Roll, but don’t count the Honey Bun out. Whether creating a small quilt top or an intricate design, the Honey Bun will serves up loads of versatility. If you can’t find a Honey Bun, try looking for it’s alter ego – Skinny Strips!
Jenny’s very first quilt was a Log Cabin quilt, so they’re near and dear to her heart. If you want to feature a Honey Bun in your next project (and not just for sashing), a simple log cabin block is the way to go. You can get 21 log cabin blocks from a single Honey Bun!
If you absolutely adore a line of fabric, the answer is the Fat Quarter! A fat quarter bundle is a stack of fat quarters (quarter yards of fabric, cut wide) of coordinating quilt fabric from a designer’s collection, and of all the precuts, it gives you the most fabric! Fat quarters measure 18″ x 21″ and make it easy to build a quilt with your fabric lines. With just a little extra cutting, the possibilities are endless for this precut bundle. Fat Quarters are sold in bundles called Fat Quarter Bundles, but sometimes they are also advertised as “rolls.”
Nothing beats a classic. The master level quilts that our grandmothers once stitched by hand with precision and care have never been easier to recreate with modern methods. Many of these patterns are surprisingly simply with just a little effort and dedication, but why take our word for it when you can find out on your own!
Thanks to Jenny Doan’s incredible quilt tutorials and patterns, these five time-honored traditional quilts can grace your home as you pass down the gift of quilting to the next generation of makers! Where there’s a quilt, there’s a way!
A quilt by any other name will stitch the same! The Happy Trails quilt has been called many things in its storied past; the snail trail, monkey wrench, Indiana puzzle, Journey to California and Whirligig just to name a few! This beautiful and super easy to make project utilized 5 inch squares of precut fabric to create a fabulous design. Call it what you’d like, but we know you’ll have fun creating it!
We love the traditional look that Jenny created for her tutorial; it fits perfectly with the vintage pattern of the quilt! Pick up a more traditional blue charm pack, such as Indigo Gatherings for Moda Fabrics and capture that beautiful, antiquated look!
The Irish Chain pattern can trace its roots back to the early 1800s, over two hundred years ago! A staple for beginning quilters, this pattern has been widely popularized for its simplicity. Jenny’s twist on the classic, the Irish Change quilt, is a gorgeous new version of the traditional design that uses 10″ squares of precut fabric. The best part about this is that the “chains” of this quilt frame the 10″ squares, so you can feature your favorite fabrics in full!
Have a little fun when selecting a fabric for this quilt! Pick your favorite fabric square that you wish to frame, and if you really want a modern and wild touch on this classic, consider All Systems Glow Glow in the Dark 10″ Squares by Kanvas Studio. These glow in the dark, spaced themed squares will make this a favorite for any young person in your life!
Hexagon quilts have been around longer than you may think! Even in the early 1900s, quilters were creating these wonderful projects as the Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt. This simple yet effective design is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of quilting while creating a beautiful project with a rich history!
This classic may look simple, but to ensure perfect pointed triangles requires care and precision. Flying Geese blocks used to be a difficult pattern to accomplish, but thanks to Jenny’s methods of creating these triangles, you’ll never lose a point again! This block was once used during the Underground Railroad to point the way to freedom, which in turn immortalized this pattern in the annals of quilting history!
The first quilt Jenny Doan ever made was a simple log cabin quilt. Many of us can say the same as this pattern has been the foundation for many quilters for generations. Adding just a little flair to the heirloom project while still honoring its roots, Jenny has created a new twist on an easy classic that is simply stunning!
The contrast between light and dark fabric in the River Log Cabin quilt is just wonderful, so when selecting your pack of 2.5″ strips to make this design, keep contrast in mind. Prose 2.5″ Strips from Maywood Studio will be the perfect starting point; a good contrast of color complimented by beautiful flowers, leaves and stripes!