Monday, October 7, 2013

Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along: Let's Talk Fabric

Welcome!! Today we're going to talk about one of my most favorite things: Fabric. I have a confesstion. I'm an avid fabric collector. Some may call it "hoarding", but I prefer to call it "collecting". Maybe you can relate? My fabric stash is made up of a bit of everything: treasured reproductions, florals, stripes, solids, new, old, and even some rare, hard to find prints. When I can, I like to pull from my stash for projects that I have in mind, or am starting. This is especially true when I'm trying out a new technique or pattern, and want to make sure I can do it, before I cut into more special fabrics. If I may, I'd like to encourage, and recommend, that you consider this as you begin your Double Wedding Ring. I'm going to be teaching you a technique that, most likely, is very new to you. It can be much easier to learn it when you're not worried about messing up your lovely fabric.

I'm going to be demonstrating three different ways to use fabric for making your arches, which are generally the focus of the Double Wedding Ring design. These are: solid arches, pieced arches and improv pieced arches. Using solid arches, makes creating your DWR fast! If you're apprehensive about piecing your DWR, using solid arches might be the way to go. Pieced arches are what we see more of, traditionally. I'll be showing you how to piece these arches with Piec-lique; no paper-piecing required! Then there's improv pieced arches. Did you know that improv and DWR could even go together?? I cannot wait to show you how to make them!!
Improv Pieced Arches - Nordika by Jeni Baker!
As you begin thinking of the fabrics you'd like to use, also think about which method (solid, pieced, and improv) that you want to try for making your arches. Also consider if you'd like to work with prints, solids, hand-dyes, batiks, or a combination. What your fabric is made of, is also an important consideration. I always recommend starting with good quality quilting cotton. As you're learning this technique, and possibly trying the DWR for the first time, you'll probably find cotton fabric to be easier to work with. Once you are comfortable with the technique, and your awesome new skills, trying different types of fabric blends could be a lot of fun. Can you imagine how lucious a DWR made from voile would be? Oh my! But start with cotton. You'll thank yourself later.
I made this one with hand-dyed cotton fabrics.
Prewashing. I've been a quilter for 13 years. In my time as a teacher, a member of guilds, and a quilting-based business owner, I've heard it all about prewashing. I'm going to be completely honest with you. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't prewash. (Are you shocked?) There are definitely times, like with turned-edge applique, that I have "rules", and they exist to give me the final results that I want to achieve. Then there are times that I prewash simply because I don't want to risk any bleeding. And there are other times that the "sewing bug" bites, and I impulsively start cutting and sewing, with little regard to whether or not my fabrics have been prewashed. With this block, I highly recommend prewashing, especially if you're past "trying it out" and want to create a Double Wedding Ring quilt that will, someday, be an heirloom piece.

Why prewash for the Double Wedding Ring? Well, I'm not hosting a debate, here, so I'm simply going to pass along information that you can take, and consider, or decide not to use. Prewashing removes any chemicals and excess dyes from the fibers. If you choose fabrics that contrast a lot, like the red and white DWR I'm making, prewashing will keep you from having a heart attack, as I did, when I saw the red start bleeding into my white background. I had already cut all of the pieces, for my arches, and I could have kicked myself. I ended up washing them, though, and I'll save you the drama that came from washing precut fabric. I don't recommend it, at all. If you're using fabrics that are from different manufacturers, and from different decades (like I did), prewashing can help the fibers to relax and shrink back to where they're meant to be. Whatever your choice, please be consistent. If you're going to prewash, be sure to prewash all of the fabrics that you'll be using for your Double Wedding Ring. And if you choose not to prewash, don't let a prewashed piece sneak into the mix. You may end up with a wonky arch, or center, when you weren't going for the wonky look.
One Melon from my red & white DWR
Another thing to consider as you think about fabrics, is the overall design that the rings of your DWR will take on. Will it be scrappy, or more planned out? I started a Pinterest board, and Flickr Group, for the quilt-along, to provide some inspiration for your own design. I also have some coloring pages for you, courtesy of my mom. You can print them out, and have some fun coloring your own designs. Here are a few of my own, and feel free to use them as inspiration, as well:
My red & white quilt design.
This will have improv and solid rings.
I love rainbow order!
Do you see the flower in this garden?
My modern rings.
Any of these designs can be used with solid, pieced or improv arches. Coloring and designing, like this, helps me plan out what I'm going to do next, and how much of each color I'm going to need. Scroll on down to download the coloring pages.

Let's talk fabric requirements. I don't expect you to make a huge quilt, right now, so I'm only going to give recommendations for a wall-hanging sized quilt. I think it's really important to color/plan your design, and figure out how many rings you want to make, and go from there. It also depends on whether or not you're going to make solid or pieced arches for the rings. This will determine how many different colors/prints you will use. 

One full ring, is 20.5" in diameter, unfinished. A quilt that is 2 rings x 2 rings, will be 34.5", across (from the widest part of the ring). 3 rings x 3 rings will be 48.5". 

Basic Fabric Requirements, for a 2 ring x 2 ring quilt (increase by 1/4-1/2 yard for every 2 rings you add:
  • 1 yard Background, for the centers of the melons, and rings
  • 1.5 yards for Arches 
    • 1/4-1/3 yard for each color of arch, or various colors for pieced arches
  • 1/8 yard for Cornerstones
  • 1.25 yards for Backing
  • 3/4 yard for Binding
Intersecting Cornerstones
The measurements are based on Sharon Schamber's Double Wedding Ring pattern. If you don't have one yet, you're welcome to order it, when you're ready. You can use the code: Inspiring for 15% off your order as well. And it's good for anything else you might need over at Purple Daisies. I'm also working on getting the pattern ready for you, as a download. As soon as it's ready, I'll post again. If you're not already following me, please do, so you will get the news as soon as it click "Publish".

Next time, I'll talk about the pattern and templates. If you don't have them yet, please don't worry. I almost prefer that you follow along, and give yourself some time to wrap your mind around Piec-lique and using it to make the Double Wedding Ring. Just remember, all of the instructions will always be here, just waiting for you.

Thank you for stopping by! See you soon!


  1. a great post! made me think, I am not ready to make one yet, but when I am I will remember this,

  2. I am on board with you, I love the colors in the intersecting corner stones, I might go with something like that, hmmmmm. I made a DWR many years ago, it is gone, gave it away and can't remember to whom???? thanks

  3. LOVING the quilt done this way...if I ever attempt one I will be coming back here to check all this out! :)

  4. Hey Cristy, your creativity is really amazing, i was looking for new designs that I can use for my interiors and I'm really glad that I found your post. The design you've used to make the mate is really good. It can be used for multiple requirements, but the most important use strike my mind was using it on couches. I'm having the feeling that it will look great with vibrant colors. Thanks for sharing a great idea with tutorial.

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  8. Hi Cristy,
    Just finished watching your videos and they are really amazing! Well done! I am planning a bed runner as a wedding gift. Is it possible to download you printable templates or do I need to get them through snail mail?
    I am also wondering if it is possible to downsize the blocks and how is that done? I imagine, if I can get a downloaded pattern I could change the printer setting... is that right or will it change the shape of the blocks? From looking at your videos I don't think the seam allowances would become a problem if I just change the printing scale.
    Thank you so much for your help.

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