Thursday, June 6, 2013

Celtic Twist Quilt Block

This is the first block of my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.  I found the pattern for this 12" Celtic Twist block free on-line here.  It was not a difficult block to make, and I love the pattern.  I think it serves as a perfect introductory block to my quilt.     

While my maternal grandmother was still in high school, she interviewed her father at the urging of her older brother Will who was living in China at the time.  (Read his letter to her here.)  Later, she wrote a biography of her father from the notes she'd taken during the interview.  Following is the first part of this biography:     

"James Lynch was born in the village of Clonmel in the county of Tipperary in the country of Ireland on March 16, 1836.  His father was Thomas Lynch, and his mother was Johanna Pendergast.  They were poor farmers who rented for lifetime.

"Most land was owned by English nobility, and there was no chance to ever own it.  The land was rolling and grassy.  The family owned a horse and a cow.  Houses were made of clay and straw mixed and roofed with thatch.  Farms were very small, and the population was dense.  Roads were of broken rocks, of which there were plenty.  Rent was high.  Taxes were also high, and ten percent of the taxes went to the Catholic Church.  James' only chance was a little schooling up to the fourth grade.  The only schools were in the Catholic Church, taught by the priest.  The desks were shelves nailed to the wall around the room, and the students stood up to them.  There were no recesses.  The priest was harsh and whipped often.  His main interest was in good penmanship, and Mr. Lynch learned to write very well."
                - by Hazel Lynch Skonberg, James Lynch's daughter

Ireland has the perfect climate for raising oats.  This recipe comes from my mother.
Oatmeal Bannocks
2 packages yeast
½ cup water
2-1/2 to 3 cups flour, divided
1/3 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil
1 egg

1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water. 
2.  Mix ¾ cup flour, sugar, salt, and oatmeal in mixer bowl.
3.  Stir in milk, oil, egg, and yeast-water mixture.  Mix 2 minutes.
4.  Add rest of flour as needed.  Knead 7 to 10 minutes.
5.  Cover and let rise about 45 minutes.
6.  Divide dough in half.  Pat each half into an 8-inch round greased cake pan.  Cut dough with sharp knife into 8 wedges (cut almost to bottom).  Let rise 30 minutes.
7.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake about 20 minutes.
Are you interested in reading more about this quilt?  You'll find it all right here.  

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. Love that block. Very interesting history as well. I find this very interesting. Nice way to combine quilting and your personal history.

  2. I like the block. It looks difficult, until you look closer at it. With the few chances to succeed, I can see why so many crossed the pond for a better life.

  3. That is one block I have yet to try but often admired.
    The hardships of the American mid-west must have looked small compared to what people were going through at that time.

  4. I want to make a whole quilt out of this block. The story is already intriguing. Like hearing a firsthand account of the ways in Ireland at that time. I too have ancestors from Ireland and no stories. My family crossed to America in 1846.

  5. My ancestors, too, came from Ireland. Life was terribly difficult sometimes, wasn't it? Most of us have much to be thankful for, even when we think we have it hard these days. I love reading the history from such a personal standpoint. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. I really want to make this pattern! I love how you share your family history with this online community! Very interesting!

  7. Love this block! What a great piece of history, too.


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