Double Wedding Ring Quilt Patterns

double wedding ring

One of the most recognizable and beloved quilt patterns, the double wedding ring pattern is almost certainly a twentieth century pattern. The design of this quilt is an overall set of blocks that feature interlocked rings made from arcs that are often times pieced, although examples with arcs made from just one piece do exist. The arcs can also be appliqued to a background fabric. Most often, the arcs are pieced with printed fabric and the four pieces that interlock are made with solid fabrics. The background for this type of block is normally a solid fabric to allow the double ring pattern to show clearly.

Origins and History

There is controversy regarding the origin of this pattern. Some quilting authors regard it as a twentieth century pattern, which became popular during the depression era, while others believe there are earlier examples of the dwr olddouble wedding ring in the late nineteenth century. The quilt pattern appears many times in periodicals’ quilting columns in the late twenties and thirties, it is first mentioned in Cappers Weekly in 1928. It also appears in Ruby McKim’s 101 Patchwork Patterns, published in 1931 and in Carrie Hall’s Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America, published in 1935. The pattern might have evolved from other patterns that had used circular pieced motifs such as the Pickle Dish, but it is almost certain that as such, the double wedding ring pattern is a twentieth century creation. There is a lot of symbolism behind the pattern. It might have ties to the “Gimmal Ring”, a fifteenth century betrothal ring, formed of two rings that interlocked and were worn together by the wife after the marriage ceremony. Even earlier, in the fourth century, the interlocking circle pattern appears etched in Roman glass containers. It is also reminiscent of the Celtic knot patterns. In any case, it is a quilting pattern heavily associated with love and there is lore regarding its use as a wedding gift.

Piecing A Double Wedding Ring

Double wedding ring quilts are often pieced from scraps. The traditional early twentieth century pattern is most often pieced with pastel fabrics, prints and solids and it has a muslin background. There are also Amish quilts pieced from this pattern with all solid fabrics on a black background. During the late twentieth century revival, this pattern became popular again, pieced from calicoes and small printed fabrics in browns, blues and mauves. It is not an easy pattern to sew. Traditionally, the wedges and pieces that compose the arcs had to be drawn on the dwrblocksback of the fabric from templates, seam allowances added after, then hand pieced. Once sewn together, they had to be sewn to the central background piece, carefully matching and easing the curved seam, and once sewn, clipping the seam allowance so that the block would lay perfectly flat. Accuracy is key when trying to cut and piece this pattern, and careful pinning and easing is necessary to create blocks that fit each other and lay flat without puckering or buckling. Different patterns for the double wedding ring have different number of segments that form the arc, from five to nine or more. The more segments, the more time consuming it is to cut and piece the arcs. Innovation in piecing and cutting techniques have made the double wedding ring pattern somewhat easier to sew, dwr templatesalthough it is not a pattern fit for a beginner quilt maker. The pieced arcs can be sewn over a foundation of light interfacing or paper by machine. Once they are sewn, they need to be stitched on either side of the melon shape background piece. Rows are sewn, alternating melon shape units and arcs sewn to the central background piece. Then the rows are sewn together to create the quilt top. It involves setting pieces, and curved seams, which is not easy by machine. If your machine allows it, slow down the stitch speed and pin carefully, removing pins as you sew. There are template sets that allow cutting the pieces for a double wedding ring block with a rotary cutter, which makes cutting the pieces somewhat less of a tedious chore. The templates are meant to be use to cut pieces to sew by machine. These templates include the quarter inch seam allowance. There are several manufacturers that sell different sets of templates. Reading reviews by other quilters might be helpful to select the one that will work best for you.

Finishing Touches

The open space in the center of the double wedding ring block allows for a nice area to quilt. The arcs are dwrstenciltraditionally quilted one-quarter inch from the seam allowances. There are stencils that feature feathers, hearts and other traditional quilting motifs that fit the center background with related motifs to fit the melon patch. Once the double wedding ring is all quilted, since the rings extend all the way to the border of the quilt, binding it is also somewhat complicated. It is necessary to trim all three layers of the quilt after pinning them together. At first, trim to about one inch roughly. You will have to cut or purchase bias binding to fit the curves. Pin it to the front and sew either by hand or machine, easing the binding on the convex areas and pulling it slightly on the concave as you approach the “v” created between the circles. Stop and pivot when you reach the “V” and continue binding, once again pulling and easing on the curves. Turn and trim the three layers of the quilt sandwich.

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