The Irish Chain–A Lucky Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Well you’re in for some good luck today!  We have a lovely pattern to stitch and whether you are Irish or not, this motif looks great on any quilt.  Stitched on green fabric, like this Kona cotton, it looks like a shamrock.  Stitched on pink fabric, it will look like a flower.


Begin by drawing two lines 1-1/2 inch apart.  These are our “rails” -drawn lines that help us keep our lines straight and will be erased when we are done stitching.  Next draw a little “tick mark” every 1-1/2 inch along the bottom rail.  This tick mark will help us center each of our shamrock leaves.

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Begin stitching 3/4 inch ahead of the first tick mark.  Stitch a sweeping upward curve.  Stop. Stitch a side ways heart, leaving a small opening and Stop again.

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Now stitch a sideways teardrop shape and head out of the small opening.  Stop here.

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Next, stitch a right-side-up heart, again leaving a small opening.

NOTE-try to avoid stitching over any previous line of stitching as you stitch the upright heart.

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Stitch a teardrop within this heart.

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Now stitch a sideways heart on the right side of the shamrock.  Followed by another teardrop.

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Sweep a curving line back to the bottom rail and up at your  tick mark to begin the next shamrock.

This chain looks great all by itself…but if you want to do a little more…

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

Echo quilt the entire chain and add another mirror image row of shamrocks.  Gorgeous!

The Irish Chain, Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

NOTE-The above tutorial was stitched on Kona cotton with Aurifil 50 wt cotton thread in the bobbin and Sulky Rayon in the top with a Schmetz 80 Topstitch needle on my domestic sewing machine–a Bernina 820 without a BSR.

Now the Irish haven’t always been lucky, but once in awhile they found a Pot-of-Gold–or lucky clover…or an Irish chain!

More good luck–another Shamrock tutorial from 2013–The Spiral Shamrock–It’s lucky, too!

I’m off to chase a rainbow,

Leprechaun Lori

PS…All tutorials, photos and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  I’d consider myself lucky if you’d re-blog and Pin, but please do it with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other uses, please contact me at

22 thoughts on “The Irish Chain–A Lucky Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. I just joined your blog and am loving it! I always thought rayon thread was just for embroidery so I’m anxious to try it.

  2. I look forward to Tuesdays and your tutorials. This year my goal is to actually practice and stitch out each tutorial instead of just admiring it and thinking someday I want to do that.

  3. Cute, cute, cute!! I have felt “lucky” since I’ve found your blog! Have learned so much and is a bright spot in my day every day. Thanks for the time and effort you put into your blog! 🙂
    Did you spend time as a kid combing through shamrock patches in the lawn looking for the four leaf clover on a warm summer day!! I did! LOL!

    • I just saw your “Leprechaun Lori”…that got me chuckling…is everyone always after your Lucky Charms?…Can you name the colors of the marshmellow charms…LOL!

  4. Thanks for today’s post>so neat!
    How interesting ‘no bsr’ ? Gives me hope, as I am without one. Just keep practicing, I think. Thanks for your inspriation!

  5. Just love the tutorials! I do a lot of practicing on paper at night while watching TV. The way you break the motif’s down is so very helpful! Thanks for sharing your many talents.

  6. Hi! Like many others, I found you through the tutes on Pinterest. Am bit more of a ‘lurker’ in that I follow along (and have read back through!) but don’t comment much. Wanted to say that I took your advice and started doodling a few minutes each day and yes, that is my pencil doodling in the Flickr group. Hope is okay, since every one else added actual quilting!
    Everyone says it, and I am but another voice in the choir, but thank you for sharing your designs/ideas with us.

  7. I’m saving this tutorial in my favorites Lori! I am wanting to make an Irish Chain quilt, and this would be great to use as a border for one I’m thinking. Thanks again for sharing your skills and helping us build ours!

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  10. Hi, I just joined your email list. WOW I am so happy to be directed to you by Sulky’s email. I just tried with my finger on the table, to do your Irish Chain. I think I might be able to do this. You make it so easy to learn. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  11. Pingback: Shamrocks Free Motion Quilting | The Inbox Jaunt

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