Welcome to Week 2 of the Sew,Mama,Sew! Block-Along! Last week week we encouraged you to try one of three 9-patch variations (including two with a modern twist), but we’re not done with 9-patch yet.   This week we’d like you to consider a few traditional 9-patch blocks.  Perhaps you’d like to take the 9-patch squares a step further and try a double Irish Chain.  Or maybe you’re ready to try triangles?  Shoo Fly is a great beginner’s quilt block and the Variable Star is a classic block that would look fantastic with modern fabrics.  If you’re sewing along with us, you can choose to make one or all of these blocks. For more information about our sew-along, see this post.

Irish Chain

Irish Chain is a quilt pattern using 9-patch blocks.  We wanted to feature it this week to point out how it is the arrangement of multiple simple blocks that can really make a fantastic quilt. Even if you’re just learning to sew, you can make a lovely finished quilt by alternating 9-patches and large single-patch squares. 
You can take the Irish Chain a step or two further by making blocks with more squares to create Double and Triple Irish Chain Quilts.  Follow this tutorial to make your own single, double, or triple Irish Chain block.
Lauri made this single Irish Chain quilt using 9-patches from a block swap.  The solid blocks in between the 9-patches are a great canvas for some interesting quilting work, like Lauri’s quilted stars.  You can see more of Lauri’s photos in her Flickr set and read about her crafts on her blog, Artsmith.
Once again, Wendy’s work caught our eye on Flickr.  This Double Irish Chain quilt top is simple, yet lovely.  Read more about Wendy’s work on her Wee Toes and Noggins blog.
Ally made this beautiful Double Irish Chain quilt for her mum.  We love all the blue in this room and the way the quilt adds so much interest with solid fabrics.  You can see more of Ally’s work in her Flickr set or on her blog, I Heart That Dance

Shoo Fly

Shoo Fly is a classic, simple quilt block.  It is fantastic with reproduction and vintage fabrics, but also looks great with bold, modern prints. 
If you’re new to patchwork, this would be the perfect block on which to try your hand at triangles.  Follow this tutorial carefully and remember, the squares from which you cut your triangles have to be bigger than the rest of the squares in your block.
Teresa made this beautiful Shoo Fly quilt, which is for sale in her Etsy shop, Bungalow Stiches.  We love the variety of colors and subtle patterns.  You can see how Shoo Fly lends itself so nicely to simple symmetrical quilting. 

Variable Star or Ohio Star

The Variable Star is one of the oldest pieced quilt patterns.  Depending on your choice of fabrics, you can get a very simple, vintage-like look, or a striking, high-contast attention-getter. 
The Variable Star and Ohio Star are the same block pattern.  I’ve searched for a definitive difference, but I’ve found the names used interchangeably.  I suspect that the Variable Star is the name used pre-Ohio (the state) and outside the US.  In this tutorial the difference is the fabric that you use for the center square.  Whatever you call it, we hope you’ll try it!
Alesia has made many gorgeous color-on-white quilts, including this beautiful Ohio Star.  (Here’s a close-up so you can see how it is heavily-quilted.) Her work is truly inspiring, so do pay a visit to her photo set or her blog, Small Hands.

If you’re sewing along with us, you can share a photo of your block(s) with our Quilting Month Photo Pool. We’ll be featuring blocks  from Week 2 of the Block-Along on our blog on Monday, February 18.  Blocks from last week will be featured Monday, February 11, so if you have them completed, please share!  If you are posting a photo, please include any relevant information (fabric, patterns, technique) in the photo description. If you’ve blogged about it, please include a link.