The Sonoran Chain Quilt pattern is now available for instant PDF download! Click here to get it.
This pattern comes in four different sizes: Baby, Throw, Twin & Queen.
Like many VBQ patterns, this one has been over a year in the making. A lot of times I’ll see an image or design, feel insipred to mark something up, then let it sit for a while as I work on whatever is currently on my sewing table, forget about it for a spell, then suddenly feel the urge to revisit it and get it written! Sonoran Chain is no different. This design was inspired by a traditional Irish Chain quilt but by elongating the blocks, it adds a southwestern feel - a bit Sonoran!
I’ve always wanted to make an Irish Chain quilt, but hadn’t had the time to tackle it. There were so many variations out there, it was hard to choose exactly which I might try: traditional, double, triple-scrappy… so many choices! But then I stumbled on this Schoolhouse winter + summer coverlet and loved the Irish Chain-ish design. They looked to be ever so slightly not square, and that little design light bulb switched on! If I stretched those blocks even more, that could be fun. Ohhh, and what if I added an extra layer around the chain? Like a little halo tucked inside! I decided I’d make my own chain-style quilt - traditional with a modern twist - and the Sonoran Chain pattern is it.
Sonoran Chain is a 3-color quilt, and while I often prefer working in solids, the pattern has also been written to allow for using directional prints too (those that run perpendicular to the selvedge). It goes together efficiently, with instructions for strip piecing first then subcutting blocks. This pattern also includes full instructions for a scrappy version, where each 'Sonoran Block' can be a different color/print. It won't have strip piecing first, but it will be especially satisfying for chain-piecing lovers!
For someone who doesn’t typically like a lot of pink (hi, I’m Tiffany, and my closet and home are full of blues, greys and grellows), I do love using it in quilts! This peachy-salmon version was the original Sonoran Chain, a twin size. It looks like perhaps the colors have been tinted or overlapped (mixing Salmon and Bone to get Peach chains). In this way, choosing colors for your own Sonoran Chain is pretty easy! Choose a neutral and a color, then imagine what third color you would get when mixing the two. So a cream or white background with pretty much any other color is easy - simply choose a lighter value of that color!
For the backing, I wanted something harmonious, but not matchy-match, and mustards and grellows are always a favorite. It helps that it’s in the analogous range of the color wheel (colors next to each other) and besides, peach & gold are a classic combination! I figured coral and yarrow weren’t far off that mark ;)
I wasn’t about to attempt quilting this twin top with my little domestic machine, and so I decided to send this one off to Jess of Threaded Quilting Studio. Because this is a very geometric quilt, I knew I wanted a curved quilting design on it and picked this panto, Sashiko. Jess suggested that it would look great if she shrunk it down a bit to make the quilting really dense and she was right! Using 100% cotton Quilter’s Dream batting and white thread, she worked her magic on this quilt and I am beyond pleased with the results. When it came home to me, I finished it off by hand matching the binding to the backing, bringing a little pop of yellow to the quilt top.
Because I started this design so long ago, I just got lucky that it matches ‘Living Coral,’ the 2019 Pantone COTY.
To make your own Living Coral version:
I actually made this scrappy version of Sonoran Chain last, but I just love it so much I have to share it next! It’s still incomplete (just a flimsy for now), but I am looking very forward to selecting the perfect backing and getting it quilted up soon! Until I get around to finishing it, let me tell you a little about this lovely bundle of RJR Fabrics curated with the help of Andrea at Cottoneer.
I love the fabric bundles that Andrea regularly curates for her shop, Cottoneer, and features on Instagram, so when I decided to make a scrappy version for myself, I reached out to her to see if we could work together to make a custom bundle! I selected various fabrics from her shop to give her an idea of the color palette I was thinking of, and she brought this earthy rainbow of Cotton Supreme solids to life! I especially loved her suggestion of the Cotton + Steel Freckles in Sandcastle as a background fabric. These turquoise-y blues, olive and grellow greens and a dash of peachy-browns are so perfect together! And the hand of the fabrics are just lovely - soft but not so slippery as to make them difficult to sew with. I didn’t even use starch on this one (though I do suggest using starch in this pattern to help prevent fraying and stretch/warp when sewing).
This baby quilt was built entirely from my stash! I’ve owned this floral backing for a while and finally matched up some solids to make this dark and dramatic baby quilt. I was a little hesitant at first to use black (especially so much of it!) in a baby quilt, but after lots of encouragement from you all I went for it and so glad I did. I love the pairing of these pinkish-purples to make a boldly feminine baby quilt.
After basting with a Warm & Natural batting, I set out to quilt my favorite crosshatch quilting, using Aurifil 50w thread and a stitch length of 3.5. To add a little extra flair, I pulled out my WALK book and a Hera marker and followed a diamond design. I love the results! Seriously, if you’re limited to your domestic machine and straight line quilting isn’t always cutting it for you, get yourself a copy of this book. It has some great walking foot quilting suggestions, and the instructions are super easy to follow.
I thought about binding this little lovely in a fun pop of green to match the backing, but in the end decided on a matching black binding and I love it! It frames the quilt nicely and doesn’t distract from the pattern design. I sewed it to the front of my quilt by machine (as I always do), and finished this one by hand using the same Aurifil thread as I used for piecing & quilting.
For more awesome quiltsperation, check out these awesome versions by my wonderful pattern testers!