And Introducing the WIPs! Part I: Ruby Wedding

January 28, 2010 at 11:42 pm 1 comment

A handful of years ago, as I realized that my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary was fast approaching (July 2009) I started thinking about making them a quilt to commemorate the occasion.  Of course, the first design I thought of was Double Wedding Ring.  It’s topical, it’s traditional, it’s impressive as hell.  No, I then thought, that’s crazy.  That’s way too ambitious.  It’ll never get finished.  Do something basic and pretty, with stars or something.  At least then you’ll get it finished and they’ll get to go home with a quilt on their actual 40th wedding anniversary.

I believe you can see where this is going:

Ruby Wedding center

Biting off, successful! Chewing, still in progress.

My downfall began with my discovery of John Flynn’s method for Double Wedding Ring.  Analytical, nerdy, math-heavy approaches to quilting almost always appeal to me, so John Flynn is naturally one of my favorite quilters; I really have to muster up to take a class from him one of these days.  I had also taken the plunge into curved piecing with my eternal WIP, Taupe Winding Ways (pictured in the blog header), so I thought this could potentially work.

Then my friend Kathy gave me an issue of Quilts Japan featuring Double Wedding Ring, and I saw a beautiful appliqued quilt that is the major design concept source for this one:

Japanese Appliqued DWR

From Quilts Japan May 2007; quilter's name untranslatable (by me)

I decided I wanted to use red for the rings, since the 40th anniversary is traditionally styled the Ruby anniversary.  However, while red is my dad’s favorite color, my mom likes blue, and I didn’t want to end up with the Yankee Doodle quilt as their gift.  Then, at Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, MD, I found the fabric that inspired the color story for the entire quilt.

Inspiration Fabric

It really tied the whole quilt together, Dude.

I think this is quite possibly the only time in my life I have ever purchased nine yards of fabric at full price and done so with a song in my heart.  If I hadn’t gotten it for the back, to my way of thinking, the whole quilt would have been spoiled.  All the other decisions regarding fabric and color placement and applique design just fell into place after that.

I’ll have you know, I started this quilt more than a year in advance of the anniversary.  I shopped for fabric on a trip to Massachusetts in February 2008, then made a four-ring wall hanging as a birthday present for my friend Rhonda in May 2008 to make sure I really could execute the design.  I spent the entire weekend of MAQ in July 2008 sewing and subcutting and resewing my strip sets.  I had as much of the piecing accomplished as I could and still keep the applique sections portable by November 2008.  At that rate, I would have been finished.

Rhonda's Birthday Quilt

Rhonda's Birthday Quilt, 2008: 42" x 42"

But then I made a whole bunch of Hunter’s Star tablerunners as Christmas presents.  And then I assembled, quilted, and bound a queen-size Log Cabin quilt as a charity fundraiser.  And then — I started appliqueing.  I appliqued the daylights out of that thing:

1)  the entire weekend of my EGA chapter retreat in February 2009;

2)  the entire week of my recuperation from laparascopic abdominal surgery at the beginning of April 2009;

3)  the entire weekend of my quilt guild retreat at the end of April 2009

4)  while at the Ricky Tims Super Seminar in May 2009

and on and on, at home and at the office, in waiting rooms and during guild meetings, everywhere and anywhere I could get away with it.  But there was an awful lot of applique to be done.  The longer it dragged on, the more little deals I made with myself:  OK, maybe it won’t get finished, but it’ll be quilted.  OK, it won’t be quilted, but the top will be finished.  Suffice to say, on my parents’ anniversary, July 19, 2009, they were presented with a top with three of its four borders sewn in place and some bedraggled Celtic bias tubes hanging off the bottom.  They were surprised and happy; I was more than a little ashamed of myself.

Ruby Wedding with Borders

Artfully photographed to hide the missing border.

I really enjoyed appliqueing the Celtic knotwork.  I have learned a lot from this piece, not least of which is that what I hate about hand applique isn’t that it’s handwork; I’m just not particularly fond of needleturn at this time in my life.  The bias tubes eliminated the raw edges, making the process not only pleasant but actually fun.  I will definitely include hand-appliqued bias tubing in future projects — just perhaps not quite so much mileage.

I finished sewing the bottom border on this past Monday, more than six months after I asked for it back to finish it.  And I still have some applique to do to resolve the side Celtic braids into the corner squares.  Obviously, I already have the backing fabric, and I think I know how I want to quilt it, but wow am I dreading the binding!  Kyoto Ink took me literal days to bind, and it’s lap size.  But this quilt has to keep that beautiful scalloped edge.  And frankly, considering how long it’s taken me to get it to this point, I should be grateful to bind it.  Perhaps it will be ready for my parents’ 41st anniversary.

This is one of the many reasons that I’m glad my mom is also a quilter.  She understands.  I just don’t want to let that understanding act as an excuse to let Ruby Wedding lapse into UFO-dom.


Entry filed under: Fabric Shopping, Time Management, WIPs. Tags: , , , , , .

The Road to… New Jersey??!!? WIPs Part II: Taupe Winding Ways

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Michelle Goddard  |  May 14, 2014 at 2:30 am

    Wow, I was contemplating doing one for our 40th ( just been) but not sure now, you have done a fantastic job 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Obstacles to Progress

Siamese Cat on Sewing Machine

Making it work!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 41 other followers


%d bloggers like this: