Friday, November 13, 2015

Double Wedding Ring, Modern Style

After posting a number of my quilts on various quilting forums on Facebook, I was contacted by a gal in South Carolina asking whether I make quilts on commission. I said yes and we started talking. She asked for a double wedding ring centered in the throw-size quilt and emailed me a picture of what she wanted. Unfortunately, as I researched, it turned out to be a 9" in-the-hoop machine embroidered single ring, not a large ring that could be turned into a throw. I told her I would be willing to design a large DWR block that could be centered in a throw with two complete rings. She agreed and we went to work selecting fabrics.

The fabric selection process was interesting as I was in Kansas and she was home in South Carolina. I went to my LQS and started pulling fabrics and taking pix, sending them to her via Facebook Messenger, and through a process of elimination we managed to select fabrics she was happy with. Then it was back to the drawing board to adapt a DWR pattern to 18" blocks that would ultimately result in two interlocking rings measuring approximately 24" wide by 48" long to be centered on the throw.

Before cutting into her fabric, I decided I'd better make a mockup to be sure the pattern worked in the larger size. The pattern I had found in my stash turned out to be rounded squares, rather than circles. I was immediately grateful I had decided to do a test first. While it's beautiful, it wasn't the look I wanted for the commission.
The first pattern didn't have the round rings I wanted.

After digging deeper, I found in my pattern drawer Eleanor Burns' Double Wedding Ring pattern, which definitely had the more round DWR look that I was going for. I was able to enlarge the template for the rings to about the right size and went to work cutting out 18" blocks of the background fabric. I had already decided that I would applique the rings rather than do the curved piecing, especially since it wasn't going to be a tested pattern as I was enlarging and adapting for a unique quilt. The only problem with doing this was that the template had extra fabrics for seam allowances included, as this pattern was intended to have the ring sections sewn to interfacing, turned right-side out, and appliqued with finished edges. More figuring and some trimming, and things were coming together.

Once the rings were stitched down and the top was ready for quilting, I faced yet another challenge. There was a huge amount of negative space, especially around the rings up to the outside edge, that needed to be quilted. Filling negative space is a fairly new process for me, so I did some sketches and decided to use my vine ruler to trace a curved border about 8" in front the edge as a boundary. Outside the curved line I quilted piano keys, and inside I quilted swirls, pebbles, and in each corner a pumpkin with vines. Within the rings I quilted feathers filling the center space and the curved ovals. To get a good pumpkin, I printed out a pumpkin design and then drew one in each corner using the printout as a template.

Once the quilting was done and the binding was on, it was into the washer and dryer to remove the marking dust, as well as to do some blocking before shipping it of to my client. I was very pleased with the results and she was delighted when she received it!
I had made quilts for local people before, but this was my first experience doing it long distance. Overall, it was a great experience and I hope to do so again.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

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