Celtic Quilts: Tying Together Knotwork Traditions

Mar 17, 2019 6:45:00 AM / by AccuQuilt

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Before you get to pinching, check out these interesting facts about some of our favorite associations with Irish culture: Celtic Quilts. You might be surprised by the history behind these timeless patterns! 



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Who are the Celts & What?

Today, Celts are associated with what’s known as the Celtic Fringe, which includes Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall in England, Brittany in France, and Galicia in Spain. Go back further and you’ll find the Celtic people migrated from even farther away. It's believed that Celtic culture could have started evolving as far back as the 7th or 8th century BC.By the 3rd century BC, much of the European continent was controlled by the Celts, including present-day Ireland and Great Britain.


When St. Patrick (sound familiar?) brought Christianity to Ireland in 432 AD, Celtic traditions influenced the "new" religion. In fact, the shamrock, Ireland's national symbol, represents the "Holy Trinity".


With such a rich and varied history, it’s no wonder the designs and patterns of ancient times can still be found today. Here are some historical Celtic quilt patterns that have maintained their popularity through the ages.


Celtic Log Cabin

With its center cross and linear corner pieces, this popular pattern is easily recognizable. It’s associated with the American westward movement in the late 1800s, but the log cabin design goes back further than that. It’s been found in inlaid wood designs and weavings on the Isle of Man as early as the mid-1700s and even on mummy wrappings found in ancient Egyptian tombs.


Read more on the history of log cabin quilts here! 


To create your own version of this truly timeless pattern, make this Celtic log cabin quilt from designer Valeriee Brashear. Your GO! fabric cutter makes it a breeze to cut the precise pieces perfectly.


Create this Celtic Log Cabin using the GO! Value Die (comes w/GO! Fabric Cutter), GO! Square 2½" (2" Finished) Multiples and the GO! Strip Cutter 1½" (1" Finished) 5 Strips.


Celtic Knotwork

Intricate intertwining unbroken lines in the Celtic knotwork symbolize the natural life cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Its lines have no beginning or end, no more than two lines cross at any given point, and all cross each other in an alternating under-over-under pattern. Pinterest has a variety of Celtic knot quilts that are sure to inspire.


Irish Chain Quilts

Early examples of this heirloom lattice pattern were found in the 1800s in America. It’s possible the design was based on ancient weaving patterns or tools brought to America. No matter where it originated, this pattern is as fresh today as it was back then. Try your hand at the Irish Chain by making this easy table runner. Our example is shown in a fun shamrock green and white design, but feel free to experiment. This simple pattern is an ideal way to stretch your creative legs.

irish-chain-quilt-patternTo create your own GO! Irish Chain Table Runner Pattern, use the GO! Square-2" (1½" Finished), GO! Value Die (comes w/GO! Fabric Cutter), GO! Half Square Triangle-3" Finished SquareGO! Strip Cutter-1½" (1" Finished) 5 Strips, GO! Strip Cutter-2½" (2" Finished) 3 Strips and GO! Baby Strip Cutter-2½" (2" Finished) 2 Strips with Angled Guide Lines


Build Your Own Scottish Family Tartan Quilt

If you are of Scottish descent, do you know your clan’s tartan (family plaid design)? If not, enter your Scottish family’s surname into a clan finder website to find your clan and discover your family’s plaid and colors. Then try your hand at making a pieced tartan quilt from various sized strips. To make them perfectly crisp, choose from our strip cutting dies and use your GO! cutter.  


Create these patterns using only the GO! Strip Cutter dies!


Pictures, Please!

Are you lucky enough to have a Celtic heirloom quilt that was passed down through the generations? Or are you starting your own ancestral quilting journey by trying out one of the patterns we suggested? Please take pictures and post them on our social media. Sharing your pictures and tips with others is the binding that keeps our quilting community pieced together.


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Find and follow AccuQuilt on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. We can’t wait to see what your Celtic spirit comes up with!


Topics: Quilting History, St. Patrick's Day


Written by AccuQuilt