Happily Ever After
by Sue Hauser, Alderwood Quilts
My name is Sue Hauser and I have the best job in the world! I am the owner of Alderwood Quilts, an online quilt shop. I blog, teach and sell lots of great products online. I’m proud to be associated with AccuQuilt because I honestly believe their die cutting systems help quilters, and because I know that customer service is as important to them as it is to me. Read more about blogger.
When our son told us that he was getting married, I knew that I just had to make a Double Wedding Ring quilt. I started right away using plastic templates to cut the pieces. I soon realized that I would have several grandchildren before I would get the quilt finished! So I tried other approaches—paper piecing (which I love to do), foundation fabrics, as well as other templates. While all of these other approaches were fine, I was feeling very overwhelmed with this project. I then saw that AccuQuilt had a GO! Double Wedding Ring die set and thought I’d give that a try. WOW! I knew right away that THIS was how I was going to cut my quilt!
The GO!® Double Wedding Ring die set (55078) gives quilters a few different options when designing their quilts. The large shape colored in pink is the center of the block. The “football shape” (blue) is sandwiched with 2 arcs. These arc units are then nestled into each side of the center shape. You have the option of making the outer arc from one solid shape (colored orange here), or by piecing the small shapes (pink) or by using a combination of solid and pieced arcs. There are so many possibilities!
Before purchasing fabric for your quilt, you’ll need to do some planning. Decide how big you would like your finished quilt to be, and what sort of color pallet you would like to use. One finished block is 11 1/2" each direction. The last block in the row (or first block, depending on how you look at it) will need one additional arc/football unit to complete the row. This is about another 6". We’ll refer to the football shape surrounded by two arc shapes as the “arc units” here. Take your desired measurement and see how many times you can divide 11.5 (plus 6" for the extra arc unit) into that number. It might not give you your desired measurement exactly, but decide how many blocks you want to make to get as close as you can.
Each additional row will share the arc units of the previous row on one side. (If you just multiply the number of blocks you want to make by four—that will give you too many arc units). When you have calculated how many centers, and how many arc units you will need, you are ready to calculate the total number of shapes you need. You will need one center shape for each block. For each arc unit, you will need one “football” shape, two square end pieces, six of the small center shapes, and four of the small angled shapes. The directions that come with the die set assign letters to the shapes and give you some very clear diagrams to see how they all fit together.
The amount of each fabric you will need depends on how you decide to arrange your colors. Figure how many of each piece you will need of each of your fabrics. To conserve fabric, you will rough-cut pieces that are a little larger than the shapes you want to cut. You can do this easily by cutting strips of fabric just a little wider than the shape. You can “accordion fold” the strip to give you six layers of fabric. After a few cuts, you’ll get into a rhythm and the cutting will go fairly quickly. I was able to cut the shapes for a king size quilt (105" x 105" - 64 blocks) in about a week, working a few hours each day. And that includes pre-washing and pressing fabrics. I never could have done that without the GO!
The AccuQuilt GO! ® Fabric Cutter will cut your shapes with great precision. It’s very important to sew accurate 1/4" seams when assembling the pieces. When I was assembling the shapes, I used a few tricks to check myself along the way. I cut one solid arc shape. After assembling the small shapes to make an arc, I checked the pieced arc against the solid arcs to make sure my piecing was accurate.
It’s important to stay organized when piecing the arcs. If you make piles and use labels, you’ll save yourself time and frustration. Chain-piecing helps, too!
When you start assembling the units, take your time. Really pay attention to your accuracy. It helped me to take a few stitches in place, leave my needle down, lift my presser foot, and pivot the fabric when I came to the points. Press often, and do your best to press seams in opposing directions to reduce bulk on the back. If your fabric feels a little limp after pre-washing, it may help your accuracy to use spray starch or pressing spray.
When it’s time to bind your quilt, use a tape measure to measure around the perimeter and add several inches to that number to determine the length of binding needed. It’s critical that you use bias binding for this quilt. I also found that it helped to use a binding that was a little thinner than I generally use. Take your time and maintain your accurate 1/4" seam when applying the binding, paying close attention to your accuracy when you reach the point where the arcs meet. It helped me to take a few stitches in place when I arrived at that point and pivot the fabric. In a few cases, I actually took my needle out and adjusted the fabric before resuming my stitching.
I’m thrilled with my finished quilt and I’m sure my son and his wife will treasure it and hand it down to the next generation. I’m so thankful that I had my GO! to cut the shapes. The accuracy I was able to achieve using the GO! helped me to create a king size quilt that hangs flat as a pancake!
My quilt won the first place Viewers’ Choice Award at our guild quilt show, and it will be shown in the International Quilt Festival of Ireland in the summer of 2012. The picture above was taken at that Westside Quilters Guild show in Hillsboro, Oregon in 2011. I’m on the left and my long-arm quilter, Sandy Pennington, is on the right.
I’m going to make another Double Wedding Ring quilt soon for my other son and his wife. I’ll be blogging about it in detail at
Sue Hauser has been sewing since she was 12 years old and has been an avid quilter for the last 15 years. She is the owner of Alderwood Quilts, an online quilt shop based just outside of Portland, Oregon. She and her husband also own a small lavender farm. When she’s not sewing, you’re likely to find her in her lavender field tending the fragrant crop.