More accurately, what is on my bed?
A long, long time ago, in a land far away, a young wife and seamstress wanted to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt for her and her husband’s 5th wedding anniversary. She went to the local quilt shop in Montgomery, Alabama and signed up for the class and purchased the fabric. The date was September 13, 1989.
The quilt shop ladies did their best to talk this young woman out of making this quilt as it would be only her second quilt, the first one a simple applique quilt made 5 or 6 years earlier in high school. But, she was not to be denied. After all, she had over a year to get the quilt done.
Material was purchased. The quilt pattern for the class was Mary Ellen Ingle Hopkins’ book The Double Wedding Ring Book.
In class, she carefully traced off the templates onto clear plastic, drew around them onto the fabric and cut the fabric with scissors. This was after all 1989 and shaped templates to use with a rotary cutter and mat were not available for this pattern.
Over the course of the class, several rings were sewn together, a whole row or two were assembled, and then the young woman was on her own. More rings were made, but then a few months later the entire project was gathered up and put away so she could focus on her pending discharge from the military and move to the Kansas City area.
It is a lost memory on whether or not the quilt was worked on during the next year, but she did make a few simple quilts as “model garments” for the fabric store she worked at during the evenings.
After a year in Kansas City, the couple moved to Texas where they lived for the next 7 years and three moves. During this time, the quilt was pulled out periodically to be worked on with the revised goal of the 10 anniversary (1995). During this time the quilt never became the sole focus, so although progress was made, it was never completed.
In 1999 the couple moved back to the Kansas City area. A new goal was set. Get the quilt done for their 20th anniversary. The quilt was pulled out periodically and an effort was made to work on it, but now she had a serious case of quilt pox and had new projects to start. Their 20th anniversary came and went.
The 25th anniversary was the new goal.
The quilt went to a couple of quilt retreats. A hand quilting class was taken in preparation of finishing the quilt. This was 2005 so there was still time to hit that 25 year mark. But now the woman was a more experienced quilter and she figured out why she was having so much trouble.
It was those plastic templates that were being drawn around and cutting the fabric with scissors. If the cutting is not accurate, there is no way to make an accurate 1/4″ seam. In 2009 she had a friend’s husband make acrylic templates from the original pattern so a rotary cutter could be used. It was amazing what a difference it made. Accurate cutting resulted in accurate piecing.
But what about the earlier piecing. Some of it had seams that would rip out if it was looked at hard.
The decision was made to fix those spots which absolutely had to be fixed and leave the rest. It would show how the quilter’s skill had grown over the years.
The quilt wasn’t ready for her 25th anniversary – but the top was nearly finished. The last seam was put in the top on January 5th, 2010.
Now that the top was finished, a backing had to be found. The backing was found in the stash. A shirting fabric picked up on a retreat with plans to use it on quilts made from recycled shirts.
A khaki thread was chosen. Quilters Dream Cotton Request was used for the batting. This Gloria Hartley stencil, purchased when the quilt was started and slightly modified would be the quilting design.
The quilt was first loaded into her Q-Snap frame. The couple’s cat Seven approved of this.
Later she switched to a lap frame stuffed into a laundry basket which took up less space.
The woman quilted on the quilt on and off for the next 4-1/2 years. Well, 3-1/2 years. There was a year where it sat in her living room untouched.
Just before the last stitches were put in, she had her husband do a few stitches.
The last quilting stitch was made on July 10, 2014.
Now it had to be bound. Most of the time the quilter machine stitched her binding both onto the quilt and then down, stitching in the ditch. But given the curves of this quilt, there was some questions as to if it would be possible. Not to mention she had to make bias binding something she seldom did. So there was a delay. The binding was finally attached to the quilt on September 3, 2014.
She decided to hand stitch the binding down. There are 30 rings along the edge of the quilt and could easily stitch one ring an evening. But there were other quilts to work on and new help to train.
Butterscotch & Gracie joined the family toward the end of September and became the new Quality Control Cats.
The final binding stitches were put in the quilt on November 22nd and the label was made and attached to the quilt.
The next day, before washing, it was placed on the bed for a photoshoot.
She still needs to wash it to get the marking and 25 years of accumulated dirt out of it, but it’s finished and in time for their 29th wedding anniversary on November 29, 2014.
This quilt has been on so many UFO Challenge lists I’ve lost count. I’m linking up to Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday, and when the 4th quarter 2014 Finish Along opens I’ll link up there as well as the DWR is on the 4th quarter list.