Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All Sewn Up: Wedding Ring Quilts

For the past few weeks we've been focusing on our favorite Double Wedding Ring Quilts.  Here's a wrap-up of the Best of Wedding Ring Quilts at Quilt Inspiration !

Above, Row 1: Jeweled Wedding Ring pattern by Karen Earlywine and Kay Connor, from: Link to the 30's: Making the Quilts we Didn't Inherit (Martingale); Jeweled Wedding Ring by Robyn Tischner at Bolo Heads ; Bachelor's Wedding Ring by Eric Gunson at Pieceful Expressions ; 10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau at Quilt Matters. Row 2: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, 2013 Raffle Quilt by the River City Quilters Guild (California),  photo by Quilt Inspiration, adapted from Jennifer Chiaverini’s Caroline’s Wedding Quilt pattern;  Rings n' Things by Karen Earlywine and Kay Connors, from:  Link to the 30's: Making the Quilts we Didn't Inherit (Martingale); Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt at Denyse Schmidt Quilts; Bali Wedding Star by Judy Niemeyer Quilting . Row 3: Flowers for my Wedding Ring by Judy Niemeyer Quilting; Diamond Wedding Ring by Diana Simkins for Judy Niemeyer Quilting ; Grandma's Wedding Ring by Judy Niemeyer Quilting . Row 4: Glowing Wedding Ring, Dresden Plate Wedding Ring, Crazy Wedding Ring and Broken Pickle Dish patterns by Virginia Robertson Designs . Row 5: Jewel Tone Wedding Ring and After The Wedding by Debby Schnabel at Debby Quilts ;  Double Wedding Ring Quilts by Bonnie Hwang and Mary Pona at Fun Easy Designed .

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of the designers.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wedding Rings part 8: Fun Easy Designed

For our 8th and final post in our Wedding Ring series, here's something completely different ! Fun Easy Designed is a modern pattern company owned by Bonnie Hwang and Mary Pona in British Columbia, Canada.  Bonnie is an innovative designer,  teacher, and award winning quilter; Mary has a degree in Interior Design and a love of fabric and quilting.  Mary says: "We use an easy free-hand cut curve technique on many of our quilts. You may notice when looking closely at the photographs that nothing truly lines up. It really is quite easy and the results can be stunning."

Double Wedding Ring Quilt, approximately 52 x 60", by Fun Easy Designed

This quilt is a fresh, modern take on the traditional double wedding ring; it is shown above in colorful African-inspired fabrics with a pieced border. The description says:  "This non-traditional design is faster and easier, using freehand cut techniques. No matching required ! You can achieve a beautifully detailed quilt without the time-consuming traditional methods."  The same Double Wedding Ring pattern would look great in a wide variety of fabrics; it is shown below in gorgeous batiks, with a solid batik border.

Double Wedding Ring Quilt, approximately 57.5 x 57.5, by Fun Easy Designed 

We asked Mary Pon to explain the method of construction a bit further.  She says:  "Although all of the patterns come with a paper templates, they are included mainly as a guideline. Squares of fabric are stacked, the curve cut, the pieces paired and stitched using an 1/8" seam allowance. The resulting blocks are re-stacked and this procedure is repeated. The blocks are then stacked again, rotated 180 degrees and cut again. For some blocks this will be the last cut. Some get cut a fourth time." This does sound like fun!

Leaves, 39"w by 17"h, by Fun Easy Designed

In "Leaves", shown above, the freehand cut curve technique produces a contemporary free form leaf with flowing lines. The offset contrasting background adds a dynamic quality to the quilt. The slender stems that separate the coordinating leaf fabrics add a little challenge, making this quilt an intermediate level project.

Curve Play, approximately 40 x 40", by Fun Easy Designed

Bonnie Hwang grew up in Taipei, Taiwan; she studied with Quilt Studio Tokyo before relocating to Richmond, British Columbia in 1997.  Her background in Asian design shows up in this simple yet elegant quilt. Bonnie and Mary recommend choosing an exciting feature fabric and multiple coordinates for best results. As with the Wedding Rings, this pattern uses an easy freehand technique to form the curves; lining-up is not required or desired!  "Curve Play" can be made in three different sizes, from wall-hanging (shown) to a queen size quilt. We also like "Feng Shui", a contemporary version of the traditional “Drunkard’s Path”.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Mary Pona. For more fun  patterns, check out the whole collection at Fun Easy Designed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Single Wedding Ring Quilts

In the last 6 posts we've focused on Double Wedding Ring Quilts, but what happens if you separate the pieced rings?  For Day 7 of our series, we're featuring a vintage-inspired Single Wedding Ring quilt, the iconic Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt, and an intriguing whole cloth design with some luscious quilting by Charisma Horton.

Kona Modern Quilt by Charisma Horton at Charisma's Corner

Charisma Horton is a custom long-arm quilter who started her own business in 2010. Since then she has quilted more than 500 customer quilts and over 100 of her own. Regarding this quilt, she says: "I just envisioned this to be a perfect sampler type of quilt to showcase many designs." We think this is a clever idea, and a beautiful quilt! Charisma even included the words Faith and Hope (for more details see the original post at Charisma's Corner).

Could you tell that Charisma's quilt is actually a whole cloth quilt?  In case you missed the 2012 Kona Modern collection, here is the Single Ring fabric designed by Cynthia Frenette for Robert Kaufman Fabrics (you can still find the prints at The Fat Quarter Shop and at Superbuzzy as of this writing - February, 2013).

Single Girl Quilt, baby to king size, by Denyse Schmidt at Denyse Schmidt Quilts

The Single Girl Quilt shown above is Denyse Schmidt's witty take on the traditional double wedding ring. The pattern, which features giant pieced rings, inspired a fabulous 2011 Quilt Along at a cuppa and a catch up (for inspiration, check out the Single Girl Support Group photos at Flickr).

As you probably know, Denyse Schmidt is something of a legend in the quilting world.  She will be the keynote speaker for QuiltCon, the first modern quilt show and conference of its kind, which begins in just a few days in Austin, Texas (February 21-24, 2013). Denyse's distinctive quilts, with their clean lines and bold graphics, inspired the modern quilting movement and The Modern Quilt Guild.  The guild first met in 2009 in Los Angeles and it has expanded rapidly to include thousands of members in over 100 chapters around the world !

Single Wedding Ring Quilt, free pattern by Sharon Holland at Quilt-It Today

This vintage-inspired quilt by Sharon Holland is known as a Single Wedding Ring in the historical records. The circa 1890 block is also known as Crown of Thorns. As you can see, it bears no resemblance to a Double Wedding Ring ! There is speculation that the huge popularity of the Double Wedding Ring quilt influenced the re-naming of this block in 1930; you can read the history by Wilene Smith at The Quilt Index. In addition to the free pattern shown above, you can find a free pattern for a 15" Crown of Thorns block at McCall's Quilting.

Image credits:   The Kona Modern quilt is shown with the generous permission of Charisma Horton; you can see a gallery of quilts she has done at Charisma's Corner. The Single Girl Quilt is shown with the generous permission of Denyse Schmidt Quilts; you can see her modern quilt patterns at Denyse Schmidt Quilts. Sharon Holland is a fabric designer for Fabri-Quilt; you can see her collections at Sharon Holland Designs.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rainbows and Wedding Rings

In Part 6 of our series on wedding ring quilts, today we're bringing you a magnificent double wedding ring quilt by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau at Quilt Matters. The pure colors of the rainbow stand out brilliantly against the black background; notice the way in which the colors shift from one ring to the next.  And then there's the symbolism of the rainbow, which denotes hope and prosperity.  Michèle-Renée's quilt has a special meaning because it was a replacement wedding gift quilt for her husband: she named it "10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow".

10 Years and Still Over the Rainbow by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau at Quilt Matters (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

Michèle-Renée, whose nickname is M-R, says: "Never before tempted to try a wedding ring quilt (those curves scared me!), I fell in love with the simplicity of this quilt's design and the precision of the star blocks. The star blocks are paper pieced and the rings are all hand pieced. It's machine quilted (walking foot - never again!) with rainbow variegated thread and has a bias black binding." This quilt was M-R's entry for a 2011 online Summer Fair hosted by GenXquilters; you can read the whole story here.

Last year, one of M-R's goals was to learn more about color and value, so she set up a Colour My World Challenge. Each month, she made a 14 x 14" mini quilt using a different color. Here are three of our favorites:

Rough Seas, for the Colour My World Challenge by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau at Quilt Matters

Inspired by a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about hardship, M-R created this mini-quilt and called it "Rough Seas" ("It may not look like it, but that little boat will make it".) She explains the design: "For the quilting, I used eight yummy shades of Aurifil blue in a variety of cotton weights -- 40, 50 and even 28 -- to see if I could get the thread to act as the light source. Then I just played with different water-like quilting motifs in each of the wave sections. Each section was pretty small so it was fun to try different motifs to depict a crazy ocean storm."

Stop, in the name of love... and fire! for the Colour My World Challenge by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau at Quilt Matters

Here is a striking Swirling Octagon, in the shape of a STOP sign, embellished with red roll caps (...fire!) M-R chose eight red fabrics in values ranging from light to dark, to make the main block. This piece is quilted with hearts, loopy loos, small stipple, heart flow, straight lines, lollipop chain,  and a little maple leaf.  There is a story behind "Stop, in the name of love..." you can read all about it at M-R's Colour My World Red post.

Purple Tulip for the Colour My World Challenge by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau at Quilt Matters

Although it's hard to pick, this might be our favorite of M-R's twelve Colour Challenge quilts! She says:  " I used the technique I learned in Elaine Quehl's Collage Tree class... I used white, light variegated purple, dark purple variegated, medium purple and dark purple threads for the thread painting on the tulip and dark green, olive, and light variegated green threads for the stem."  You can see some gorgeous detail photos at the post: Colour My World Purple.  For more quilt inspiration, check out her entire Quilt Gallery.

Image Credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Michèle-Renée Charbonneau.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

Jeweled and Vintage Style Wedding Ring Quilts

In  Part 5 of our series on wedding ring quilts, today we're bringing you some pretty designs that have a lovely "retro" or vintage look. Travel back in time with us as we take a nostalgic look at yesteryear's patterns which can be lovingly re-created with today's fabrics.

Jeweled Wedding Ring, approx 90 x 90", by Robyn Tischner at Bolo Heads

In Robyn Tischner's Jeweled Wedding Ring quilt, above, you can see a multitude of carefully appliqued dots which look like miniature jewels on the rings. The Jeweled Wedding Ring design was originally published in the 1930's and re-created in 2008 by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine (read on for details).  Robyn was inspired to make her brilliant quilt for a 2011 Riley Blake Designs contest with fabric by Lori Holt. She enlisted the help of her daughters in carefully starching the circular dots gathered onto round templates and drying them in the oven before appliqueing them onto the bright red rings set against a pure white background.

Close up, Jeweled Wedding Ring by Robyn Tischner at Bolo Heads

As shown above, there is as much applique work as there is patchwork on this jeweled wedding ring design. Robyn states that there are 525 circular "jewels", with 25 basting stitches and 30 applique stitches apiece. Also, there are 64 center "petals" with about 63 stitches each. Without counting the binding, there is a total of 32,907 hand stitches. Robyn's creation is an impressive example of quilt workmanship, and a beautiful heirloom. She says: "The craziest thing about this whole process is I want to do it again. This time a Christmas version." You can read the story at Robyn's fun site, Bolo Heads, and see a feature article about this quilt at Quilt Story.

Jeweled Wedding Ring pattern by Karen Earlywine and Kay Connor, from: Link to the 30's: Making the Quilts we Didn't Inherit (Martingale)

Here's the Jeweled Wedding Ring pattern, done in bubble-gum pink, as shown on the cover of the 2008 book: Link to the '30s: Making the Quilts We Didn't Inherit. This is one of nine authentic 1930s patterns in the book, which was written by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine.  Karen says:  "I think readers enjoy being able to make the quilts that may once have been in their families but were worn out or discarded during a time when quilts were not valued as they are now." For a contemporary look to this design, you also could use single tone watercolor batiks in warm shades of orange or yellow, with batik fabric "jewel" dots in emerald green, sapphire blue, or amethyst purple.

Rings n' Things, 60.5 x 60.5", by Karen Earlywine and Kay Connors, from:  Link to the 30's: Making the Quilts we Didn't Inherit (Martingale)

This eye-catching quilt in pure, clear solids would be appropriate in many different decors and rooms of the home. There are 16 solid-colored fabrics with floating rings of natural colored unbleached muslin, along with a scalloped border. It's a re-creation of an old 1930's quilt which was found tattered and faded by Karen Earlywine and Kay Connors. Templates to construct the rings are included in the e-pattern and book by Martingale.

Vintage Block and Ring Quilt, photo by Amy Hodge at Amy a la Mode

Amy Hodge posted some wonderful photos of this vintage quilt, which she spotted in a thrift shop; in fact, this is the best example we've seen of this design. The original pattern by Nancy Page was published in an article called "Block and Ring Quilt is Effective". Thanks to Google, you can read the May, 1933 article online in the Spokane Daily Chronicle Newspaper; scroll about halfway down the page to read Nancy's instructions for the quilt by Mrs. Maurer of Doylestown, Ohio.

In Amy's close-up photo you also can see the elegant and effective curved outline quilting pattern which highlights the circular motif of the rings. This cheerful, stash-busting quilt would be a wonderful way to use relatively small pieces of fabric. For more photos, see the post at Amy a la Mode.   Also, for many inspiring vintage and modern quilts, please check out Amy's Family Quilts, My Quilts and Quilts For Sale galleries.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Robyn Tischner, Amy Hodge and Martingale.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Double Wedding Rings part 4: Collaged quilts !

One thing we love about quilt inspiration is that it can strike when you least expect it.  While contemplating this series, we came across the ingenious quilts of fiber artist Debby Schnabel. Debby's fabulous wedding ring quilts are made with raw-edge collage. She says: "This is a technique I came up with after several dismal attempts at the double wedding ring pattern. After staring at the modern pattern for a while, I thought, why wouldn’t this work?"

After the Wedding by Debby Schnabel at Debby Quilts

Debby Schnabel has worked in various types of fiber arts her whole life – from spinning and knitting, through cross stitch and needlepoint, rug hooking, and now quilting (her byline reads: "Quilting is NOT my life, but it comes close) !   For this quilt, Debby made a set of 12 inch background squares and little 2″ squares to form the “rings”; she pinned the squares in place to form the rings and then stitched the raw edges in place with a zig zag stitch.

Close-up, After the Wedding by Debby Schnabel at Debby Quilts

Debby says: "This is the first one I made.  After it was finished, I had the thought: 'After the Wedding.'  After the wedding, the reality of married life starts. Its kind of messy, from what I hear. So I decided to ‘mess up’ my double wedding ring quilt.  I ended up putting words on top of the sheer silk circles."   As shown above, the quilted words include "forgiveness" and "compromise"; for more examples, see this post. The spirals on the quilt are skinny strips of fabric which were zig zagged onto the quilt. Debby also added broderie perse flowers and bits of lace, "Because every wedding includes a bit of lace, doesn’t it?"

Double Wedding Ring by Debby Schnabel at Debby Quilts

Here is a Double Wedding Ring quilt done in a classic style, with colorful floral patches in pastels on a white background.  This reminds us of a traditional quilt from the 1930's, but look again:  this quilt is made with raw-edge collage. This is the quilt that Debby pieced during her carpal tunnel surgery; she says that it was a perfect recovery project. You can read about Debby's raw-edge collage methods, and get how-to tips, at Debby Quilts.

Jewel Tone Wedding Ring by Debby Schnabel at Debby Quilts

Here is a fantastic Double Wedding Ring Quilt done in bold and bright colors on a dark background. Debby explains: "I decided that these jewel tones went well with a beautiful large floral print that I had, and I cut those flowers out and fused them in place (even though I don’t like fusing that much!)"  She is in the process of creating a Rolling Stone quilt with raw-edge collage; see the work in progress at her February 6, 2013 post.

Housetop Quilt Project by Debby Schnabel at Debby Quilts

Last but not least, we are blown away by Debby Schnabel's Housetop Quilt Project, which was the subject of a gallery show this year (2013).  Inspired by the quilters of Gee's Bend, Debby created a series of contemporary housetop quilts and then quilted them with Biblical verses.  You can read the story here and see the whole collection at Debby's photostream on Flickr ; check out the glorious hand embroidery on many of the quilts.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Debby Schnabel. In addition to Debby Quilts, she offers diet and cooking tips at Debby Weighs In .

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wedding Ring Quilts (part 3): Virginia Robertson Designs

As part of our series on outstanding Wedding Ring quilts, we are pleased to present Virginia Robertson Designs. Virginia is a quilt artist, fabric designer and international teacher who has been working in the fabric industry for 30 years. Virginia has been the art director for Princess Mirah's Batiks for the last six years, and many of her quilts feature these gorgeous Bali batiks. Here are some of her wonderful designs.

Glowing Wedding Ring Pattern by Virginia Robertson Designs

The Glowing Wedding Ring quilt shown above is created from Princess Mirah Batiks in a rainbow of hues.  We love the blend of warm and cool colors, and the contemporary, squared-off shape of the interlocking rings.  Make it as big as you wish by adding more rings; in addition to the quilt pattern and acrylic templates, complete kits with Bali Batiks are available.

Crazy Wedding Ring Pattern, 40 x 40", by Virginia Robertson Designs

You can use up all your scraps when sewing this Crazy Wedding Ring quilt ! The 40" wall hanging may be made larger by adding more rings. Create a festive look for Valentine's Day by combining all kinds of bright red prints, checks, polka dots, or even small pieces of plaids.  An Easter or springtime color scheme can be made sewing a background of white-on-white fabrics and rings with pale lavender, baby pink, soft yellow, and pastel turquoise tones.

Dresden Plate Wedding Ring Pattern by Virginia Robertson Designs

This clever design is a combination of a Dresden Plate with Wedding Rings. The rounded and notched shapes remind us of interlocking gears; we can imagine this quilt in a number of interesting textures including black-and-white prints, polka dots, batiks, or Japanese indigos. For a variation, you can try a monochromatic color scheme in pale pinks, rose tones, fuschias, and magentas.  You could also work with an analogous color scheme of cyan blues, lime green, and shades of grape.

Broken Pickle Dish Pattern, 72.5 x 72.5", by Virginia Robertson Designs

As mentioned in our first article on Wedding Ring Quilts, a "Pickle Dish" is a Wedding Ring variation in which the rings are made with triangular pieces. Here is Virginia Robertson's Broken Pickle Dish variation, which has a different setting than her Pickle Dish Quilt pattern.  The color scheme is reversed so that the points are gold, and the fractured background is a scrap bag collection of jewel tone fabrics. There are enough foundation paper arcs included in the pattern to create a 72 1/2" square quilt; you can order additional foundation papers if you wish to make a larger size quilt.

Fat Wedding Ring Pattern, 47 x 47", by Virginia Robertson Designs

This dynamic quilt features a 16-patch section where the fat rings intersect.  You can create a happy 47" wall hanging or make it larger by adding more rings. Prairie points add an interesting finish to the quilt! For a lighthearted classic look, use a cream or ecru background and 1930's tiny prints in bubble-gum pink, mint green, tangerine orange, and lemon yellow.

If you are interested in making a Mini wedding ring quilt - 20" square - please visit Virginia Robertson Designs and check out these mini quilt patterns: Mini Wedding RingBatik Mini Wedding RingScrappy Wedding Ring, Mini Pickle Dish and Broken Mini Pickle Dish.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Virginia Robertson.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wedding Ring quilts (part 2): Judy Niemeyer Designs

As we continue our coverage of wedding ring quilts, today we're bringing you some beautiful double wedding ring patterns by Judy Niemeyer Quilting. Judy Niemeyer Quilting is a family owned business based in Kalispell, Montana and incorporated in 1996. Judy's Foundation Paper Piecing patterns are designed to enable quilters with minimal previous experience to create intricate and complex heirloom quality quilts.

Wedding Star, 67 x 67" by Tammy Zanella

Here is Judy Niemeyer's Bali Wedding Star pattern, sewn by Tammy Zanella. We originally featured Tammy's quilt as part of our coverage of the 2012 quilt show by the Guild of Quilters of Contra Costa County in California. We really like the lively curved border which provides so much energy around the outside of the quilt.

Close-up of Wedding Star by Tammy Zanella

Tammy says,  "This is a Judy Niemayer paper pieced pattern. It was machine trapunto quilted using Hari Walner's method."  Clear monochromatic shades of blue are interspersed with red-orange to form a strong geometric effect.

Bali Wedding Star, 80 x 80",  Judy Niemeyer Quilting


The Bali Wedding Star was actually one of Judy Niemeyer's very first designs. It was originally designed for paper piecing about 15 years ago. Recently, while redrafting the stars,  Judy and Bradley Niemeyer added template layout sheets to speed up the cutting process for the stars (which now have floating points) and background pieces. In recent years, Judy has been teaching a new technique using strip piecing to complete the foundation piecing of the arcs.

Flowers for my Wedding Ring, 87 x 100",  Judy Niemeyer Quilting

Flowers For My Wedding is available as a pattern from Judy Niemeyer or a  quilt kit size 88 x 99 from Keepsake Quilting.  This quilt kit contains Bali fabrics for the top and binding, including precut 2 1/2" strips, and pattern with Judy and Bradley Niemeyer's directions and printed paper foundations.  Notice that the background is not bright white, but is done in shades of icy pastels, which provides a softly dappled effect to complement the multi-colored rings of the foreground.

Grandma's Wedding Ring, 68 x 80", Judy Niemeyer Quilting

Grandma's Wedding Ring follows in the traditional wedding ring style of omitting border strips and attaching the binding directly to the outside of the arcs, thus accentuating the circular motif.  A technique called Foundation Strip Piecing is used to piece the Wedding Ring arcs. Traditional piecing is used to assemble four squares for the background units. Traditional curved piecing is required to assemble the arcs, centers, and melons. Note that by varying the color scheme, you can make a very contemporary quilt from this old, beloved pattern. For example, you could make the background out of charcoal gray and black, while making the arcs in cool hues of icy pastels.

Diamond Wedding Ring, 70 x 72", Judy Niemeyer Quilting


Judy Niemeyer notes that her Diamond Wedding Ring has been in the design stage for approximately 15 years. In this design, the pieced arcs are arranged in a triangle shape, with a star in the center.  Judy says that it is great for both the beginner and advanced quilter, because the foundation paper piecing has easy curves which lie flat when finished. Judy adds,  "I've developed a strip piecing method for the arcs, added an extra star behind the center star, and used a variation of colors to complement this design."

Diamond Wedding Ring by Diana Simkins as seen at Judy Niemeyer Quilting

Here is a beautiful Diamond Wedding Ring quilt made by Diana Simkins, who is a Certified Instructor for Judy Niemeyer Quilting. Diana achieved a luminous effect by using a gradation of fabrics, from light to dark, in the rings; the pink toned fabrics are echoed in the border strips. You can get many more ideas by viewing the Diamond Wedding Ring gallery.

Image credits:  Photos  are shown with the generous permission of Judy Niemeyer Quilting.  The photos of Tammy Zanella's quilt are by Quilt Inspiration. 
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