Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Double Wedding Ring quilts

Have you ever made a double wedding ring quilt? I've taught this class numerous times and I've finished a small quilt with 9 "circles". So a three by three configuration.

But I've had a skeleton in my closet for years. Back when I was a newbie to quilting and anyone was getting married - I made grandiose promises about making them a quilt as a gift. Since it's a wedding, the quilt has to be a double wedding ring and it has to be bed size. What the heck was I thinking? Ah - totally clueless.

This particular couple (friends of DH which is an even worse curse!) got married years ago and I had promised them a full-size quilt in their color of choice (purple). I think I started the quilt before they got married. And I got a lot of it completed, but it sat for years untouched.

I had goals in previous years - this is the year that that quilt will get done. And it never happened. And DH kept harping - is that quilt done? Since I'm now in the process of getting things done, I decided to take that quilt to the sewing retreat last week. I had even "lost" this quilt in my studio for a lengthy period of time. But it was found under a box of something else deep in the stash room.

I took other projects to the retreat with me and the first day of the retreat was devoted to finishing a couple of things that needed to be shipped to magazines. Those are gone. We did have a class at the retreat and I'll share that with you tomorrow. The rest of the time I was there - 3 1/2 days were devoted to that wedding ring quilt. I know - I know - I must be totally sick because I never thought that I could do that. I did take a lot of breaks and much whining on my part - my poor retreat mates. But I made amazing progress.

I had decided a while back that I would no longer make one big quilt. That's pretty presumptuous to make a quilt for someone's bed. How do you know what they like? Maybe they have a bed in a bag and the quilt won't match or many, many other reasons to NOT make a bed quilt as a wedding gift. Nope - my new thing - make TWO quilts. Two lap quilts - they can get way more use - in the car, on the deck, on the couch, etc.

While I was teaching the double wedding ring quilt a couple of months ago, I took stock of what was in that box. 64 block centers which would have given a quilt in the 8 by 8 configuration. (8 by 8 would have been a 101" by 101" quilt - HUGE) So with those 64 centers, I could now make two lap quilts with 24 centers each (4 by 6  - 53" by 77") and a small quilt with 20 centers (4 by 5 -  53" by 65"). Perfect.

When I got to the retreat, I had already made one column with 8 centers so I ripped two off the end and then got busy. All the melons were sewn together so just needed to add the melons to the centers and I was off.

Don't let anyone fool you, this version of the double wedding quilt is a challenge. There is ZERO chain piecing. There is no sewing through the seam allowances, every seam has to be stopped and started at each intersection. 

I decided once I had the 4 by 6 configuration done, that it wasn't big enough. So I added one more column to make 5 by 6 -   65" by 77"  - way better.

Quilt top - number one - DONE!!!!
That was very exciting news and I never thought that I would stick at it to get that top done. But then I figured that if I had ONE done, I might as well keep going. So I continued to sew the melons to the center circles. Let's just say that the top needs a GOOD pressing. I didn't always press as I sewed and there are threads to trim on the back.

Can you believe that I got the SECOND top almost done? I was just going to see how it went, but then things were going great and I became determined to get that top in ONE piece before I left. So everyone has left the retreat, Sacha and I were still sewing. I managed to get that last column attached to the rest of the quilt. It's attached by TWO seams at the top, but good enough for me!! I can truthfully say it came home in one piece.

Second quilt top - ALMOST done
Yes - I seriously think there is something wrong with me. I've never stuck with that tedious of a project for that length of time. Yeah!!!!

Then it was home from the retreat to unpack the bags and there's that box with the double wedding ring sitting on the ironing board along with a bunch of other stuff. I'm happy to report, the ironing board is cleared off and I forged forward to open that box with the double wedding ring and see what could be done.

Ironing board to be cleared off

Now here's the thing - I still have some piecing to do. I'm don't have enough melons. Why???  Think about it - the original pieces were cut for an 8 by 8 configuration. The new configuration is two 5 by 6 and one 4 by 4 (instead of making the 4 by 5, I got a 2 by 2 - 29" by 29"). There's a whole lot of extra outside edges in the new configurations.

Two by two configuration (leftover centers)  

Five by six configuration 
So with all those extra outside edges, I'm short TEN melons. ACK!!!  I knew that, I just didn't realize that it was ten. I thought it was six.  No worries - the fabrics are still in the container.

I had a quick peek into the container and saw all the purples, but not that light center.

Purple fabrics in the container
 Hmm - ran to the purple stash bin and YEP - there's the fabric for the light purple centers.

Found the light purple in the purple stash bin

 Thankfully purple isn't one of my most used colors.

While I was poking through stuff, I found the wedding invitation!!!!   Oh god - they were married June 14th, 2003. I had said 15 years, but I was only guessing!!! 

Wedding invitation

I see they got married in Collingwood - I had forgotten that and they live in the same city as the retreat house. So it's only fitting that I sewed the quilts up there. My goal is to get these two quilts done by the next retreat. There's not a lot of sewing left and hopefully, the quilting won't take too long. Now that I have the computerized machine, it'll be a good test of doing a block design. I was checking patterns for double wedding ring out yesterday.

But first, I must sew those missing melons. Wait - I have to cut them first. So I got everything out on Monday evening and prepped to cut.

Prepping to cut the mising melons
 I like to use rubber cement on the backside of the templates to prevent them from slipping, but my rubber cement is dried up!!!  Only one template needed something so I managed without.

A rotating cutting mat works wonders for cutting with templates.

Cutting the individual pieces for the arcs
 As I was cutting, I realized that I'm missing one more fabric. The light purple in the bottom left (the four patches) - ACK!!!!!!  It's a fossil fern.

One fabric is missing  the light purple in the bottom of the arc

Back to the purple stash bucket and there it was!!!  Had a good laugh about that. 

The last of the fabrics was found in the stash bucket

I believe I left the fabrics in the project bucket that I could potentially use as the binding. Now that there were two quilts, there was only one fabric that was big enough to make bindings for all the quilts. The darkest one. The remainder were put back in the purple stash basket.

Binding fabric

 Now the arcs (needed to make the melons) are all cut and this will make a perfect ender and leader project for next Monday. It's in the Monday bag.

Cut and ready to sew ten more melons

Wow - that's super exciting news. I'm thrilled with my progress and can't wait to sew that binding down which will have to be by hand. No worries.

While I was busy all day yesterday, it was super relaxed and I got a whole lot done. Bills paid, phone calls made, things tidied up. I really can see a light at the end of the tunnel. The best part - nothing new is being added to the mess. As the mail comes in, it's dealt with immediately. I have a ton of filing to do, but I'm feeling in great shape.

I'll share with you what happened yesterday afternoon - it was a bit of a crazy afternoon, but all is good. Let's just say that my friends all said that I need to get to the doctor on a more regular basis and that's my story for tomorrow.

On that note, I'm excited to get back to the paperwork this morning and then back to the machine this afternoon.

Have a great day!!!!



  1. Haha I can beat that! My brother got married in 2000 and his quilt top is still sitting upstairs until I teach myself how to quilt it!

    1. THANK goodness I'm not alone. And I'm happy that your wedding quilt trumps my wedding quilt. I don't feel bad at all!!! Love your story. Better put on your list - LEARN to machine quilt or pay someone to do it!