Jack's Chain Updated

I posted about the Jack's Chain block and quilts a few years ago. I made two blocks and pooped out. But they were calling to me from my closet and I decided to put the rest of the units together and found I had FOUR blocks! Here she is!

Jack's Chain 4 Block Quilt: 64" x 64"
These are BIG blocks (22-1/2" x 22-1/2" finished). But, hey: 4 blocks makes a nice sized quilt!

I was an editor with Quilt Magazine from 1993 to 2007. We featured many, many traditional patterns. Jack's Chain was published many times. This is one of the images which shows the basic structure of the block. As you can see, to put other blocks together with this one, there will be those DREADED y-seams!

Jack's Chain is made using a center hexagon, six equilateral (60 degree) triangles and simple 9 Patch blocks. I made my 9 Patch blocks first.

6" finished 9 Patch blocks using 2-1/2" strips
We all look for blocks and quilts that use up our Jelly Roll bundles, right? Well, this will do it!

My first block was sewn by the seat of my pants (and my sewing machine, btw). I created the center hexagon template and figured out what size to cut the surrounding triangles. (Remember, I design with Adobe Illustrator and can create just about any block once I know a few of the dimensions.)

Marking the intersection of the 1/4" seams at the tip of the triangle
This Jack's Chain Block requires marking the 1/4" intersections. Did I say MUST?. This way you can make sure that the seams are totally accurate. If you don't want to take this step, stop right now and abandon this project (did I really say that?)

Mark the 1/4" seams on the Nine Patch (see bottom left in photo)
Use a pin to align the 9 Patch with the triangle as shown below:
Using a pin to align the triangle with the 9 Patch block
Sew the 6 triangles and 6 Nine Patch blocks together into a "ring." What you see below is the "ring" and the center hexagon fabric being auditioned underneath. It is NOT sewn yet. The pattern has lots of photos showing how to create the outer ring and then add the interfaced center hexagon (you didn't think I was going to sew all those y-seams, too, did you?!)

Ring of 9 Patch blocks and triangles, awaiting the center hexagon
Now, back to that 6" center hexagon. This is 6" measured along the straight side (the way those who English Paper Piece measure these things). You can use an acrylic ruler to draft this, as most have a 60 degree line for orientation.

I made a 6-pointed star and auditioned that. No. I'm going to stick to a single fabric.

This is cute, but not traditional. I still have this center (it's interfaced).
Yes, there are a few y-seams in there. The corners of the blocks (to "square them up") are y-seams. You just have to put your Big Girl pants on and suck it up. I include templates for these 30 degree triangles.
Squaring up the block
I have always enjoyed "upsizing" traditionally small vintage blocks. This is no exception. You can find my Jack's Chain 4 Block Quilt in my Etsy store. It's a 10 page pdf with a LOT of photos and also includes the paper templates for the hexagon and two triangles if you don't have a 60 degree ruler.


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Thanks for stopping by Debby Kratovil Quilts! If you had a question and don't get an answer from me, please feel free to email me at: kratovil@his.com