If you follow Bella Dolce Textiles on instagram you no doubt saw some of the posts about the Sapphire Double Wedding Ring Quilt that we made for a dear friend. Our friend Karla’s parents enjoyed their 65th wedding anniversary this summer and while thinking about options for a great gift she was focusing on the traditional anniversary gift, Sapphire. Now, traditional gifts can be really great options for presents because it gives you something to home in on; but when you’re talking about a gift for a couple, precious stones are not an easy thing to work out for a gift. So Karla thought of us.
If you are new to piecing you might not really understand what asking a friend, with only 6 weeks of advance notice, to make a double wedding ring quilt would do to that friend’s anxiety level. But with the knowledge that there was more than one of us to work on it, and that we loved this friend very, very much, we embarked on one of the most entertaining, difficult, frustrating, and fun piecing projects we have ever accomplished.
None of us had ever pieced a double wedding ring quilt or quilted one for that matter. So we
were understandably concerned that we just didn’t have enough time. We do have other obligations, and it just seemed like there wasn’t enough hours in the day to get the piecing done in time to quilt the thing and then bind it on a traditional scalloped edge. So we went to the the source; Youtube. If ever in doubt about how to do something you either go to pinterest or youtube, right? Well armed with a rather boring but very informative video we started cutting; strip after strip of 15 different colors of blue chosen carefully to create an undulating sapphire saturation. And then some more cutting, this time of the paper piecing templates. (It sounds like I’m complaining about the cutting, but I will never make a double wedding ring quilt without paper piecing it. What a fantastic way to manage all those strange angles.)
To the sewing! If you’ve never paper pieced and are a little bit worried about it, don’t be. It’s actually really easy as long as you pay attention and are careful. It gives you the sewing and trimming lines which takes the guess work out of cutting. So those pieces, all 2 million of them finished (I think it was actually 1200), we pressed forward and started sewing them to the melons. These are the little football shaped pieces that make up the overlapping portions of the rings. Sewing on curves can also be a scary proposition. When I piece straight lines I don’t like to pin, which is a terrible idea for curves. Pinning never works that well, because you can’t get enough pins in it to truly keep the shape. So, back to the video, and voilá! Fabric glue is a beautiful thing. With a pen that is basically a skinny elmers glue stick, washable for fabric, all you have to do is run a line along the edge of one piece and stick the other one to it. No fuss, no muss, just a great curve to sew on. We continued this practice while putting the rest of the quilt together and it worked like a charm. It took a long time, but it would have taken much longer if we had used a different method. I also would not have retained my sanity.
So, the piecing was done and then it was onto the really scary part: The Quilting. And let me tell you, we were nervous. We had just spent a lot of time and a great deal of effort to create what was turning into a beautiful blanket. The last thing we wanted to do was spend late nights picking out quilting that ended up somewhere it shouldn’t due to a lack of experience in wedding ring quilting. So after a beautiful basting job by our resident baster, Mari, we started the painstaking process of quilting a specific pattern in each section of the double wedding ring. It went off without a hitch! We were extremely careful and took our time, but the quilting turned out just as beautifully as the piecing. With the addition of a perfect sapphire polka dot binding, it was finished and in the mail on its way to the big anniversary party!
Karla loved the quilt and was excited to give it to her parents. It got used that very night when when the outdoor party got chilly. There is no better home for a quilt than where it gets used! We couldn’t have been happier with the outcome and can’t wait to do our next double wedding ring! (This blog post is coming a month and a half after we finished. I promise you that isn’t how we felt the moment we put it in the box to get shipped…)
If you’re ever nervous to get started on a particularly daunting project, just think of the ladies at Bella Dolce Textiles and take heart. You never know what kind of wonderful experience can come from taking a chance on an adventure.