Friday, August 26, 2011

The Most Nagging UFO

Did you see the Ask Bonnie! post yesterday where, among other things, Bonnie turned the tables and asked the question, "What is the one big UFO that you would like to work on?"  
Well, this is mine.

The book doesn't come with the
templates (there are pages of
instructions), but I think it is
worth the extra cost.

Most of the "football" shapes made by the two arcs and little narrow slivers are sewn together, but the big center pieces are unattached. There are two more rows to go, and I have all of the pieces cut and the arcs all sewn. I've never had it out since I got my design wall earlier this summer, so this is the first time I have put it up here. I learned something in the process. My background print is directional--I had never noticed before. I will have to be careful when I sew it all together. 
Templates come in a variety
of sizes--see package top.
 Double wedding ring has been on   my quilt bucket list since before I knew what a bucket list was. My husband's aunt had made a few and I was often suggesting that she teach a class in our community--she was already doing a BOM in her home. When she decided to do it she suggested we just come with the fabrics to make a table topper and learn the technique. Then we could apply what we had learned to make a larger quilt later. (I followed that suggestion, though many chose to bring fabric for a whole quilt.) She has made the Double Wedding Ring quilt using a variety of techniques and her favorite is the John Flynn template method, so that is what we used. I went through my stash and chose fabrics that would match my living room so I could use the table topper on an end table there. I only had to buy one fat quarter to complete my color palette! I was pleased.
There were about 10 of us in her home that day learning this method to make the rings. I admit, it was pretty slick, but I think that day I also realized how slow I am. The BOM I had been attending in her home was mostly frequented by relatively new quilters. I was often last to finish, but only because I took so long to decide which fabrics to use, not because of my sewing speed. When this day was over I know there was at least one woman who had completed a full-size quilt top before going home. (Eleanor Burns didn't lie, you can make a quilt in a day!) I still hadn't finished my table topper. I sat among those women thinking some of their machines sounded more like race cars revving up, than sewing machines. 
This was a few years ago. So why haven't I finished it by now?
I discovered it was going to be too big for the intended table, so I decided to make it bigger and drape it across the back of the sofa. After all, I had chosen colors specifically to match the living room. But did I have enough of the fabrics? I unearthed what was left of them and it looked like I was good to go, except for the fat quarter I had purchased. Though I had just purchased it the week before, the LQS was out of it and wouldn't be getting more in. They did give me the name of the fabric line and designer. I found it online and got it ordered. 
Upon its arrival I got everything cut and started sewing. When I had decided to go bigger I had also chosen to use a variety of background fabrics in the ecru/cream range. For one thing, I like scrappy, and for another, I didn't have enough of a matching background to do the whole thing and was too cheap to buy more. After getting a few "footballs" made from the arcs and background fabrics, I laid them out with the center background pieces. I didn't like it. Discouraged, I put it away. Months later, with renewed interest, I unpicked the few background pieces I had already sewn to the arcs. I broke down and bought a new background fabric. I laid it out in a sunny spot and placed the sewn arcs upon it. I didn't like it. Packed it all away again.
It took two more tries before I found a match that passed the "sunny spot" test. 
By that time I had lost my steam on the whole thing and it had sunk to the bottom of the list. It just never seems to have risen to the top again. You know how that goes. You need this quilt finished for the new baby, that one for a graduation gift, and another one for Christmas giving. But when do the ones you want to make just to keep become your top priority? So far I don't have an answer for that.

If you are still with me, you are amazingly patient, but I beg your indulgence a little longer because I want your opinion. Unless this is your first visit here, you are no doubt familiar with the Tree of Life quilt I am making my youngest son. It is a memory quilt representing his two years as a missionary in Brazil. I am using the colors of the Brazilian flag, combined with more earthy tones, and each block has significance to his experiences there. As I have said before, it is not an attempt to win any design awards. But I am stumped as to the outer border(s). I don't like to make bed quilts square, so in an attempt to avoid that, I only put the "cobblestone" blocks around the sides and bottom. They are not sewn on yet, but I'm pretty sure they will stay this way. I had to do some partial blocks as filler, since the Ocean Waves are 16" blocks and the Cobblestones are 12" blocks. I wanted to finish with a few inch wide border around the whole quilt. I tried a brown, but thought it wasn't a good finish.
I know many of you have commented that when you see something on the design wall it is a totally different effect than when you see it in a photo. Not until I saw this photo did I realize how much the Ocean Waves blocks stand out from the dullness of the other colors. 
Anyway, my next attempt was to add a narrow blue border between the Cobblestones and the outer brown strip.
I liked it better. But still, when I saw it in the photo I wasn't sure. Next I replaced the inner blue strip with a green.
Hmmm, not so sure about that one. Now, my boldest move was to put the yellow in its place.
Better than I expected. Maybe this is what it needs to bring some of the brightness of the center out to the duller edge. Do I need to change that dark blue middle border to a green for a less abrupt transition? What would you do? (Starting over may be what you would do, but it is not an option for me.)
Well, we are in the midst of a thunderstorm and the power has already gone out once during this process. That was probably a hint that I should have quit a long time ago. But this storm is nothing compared to what some of you are facing. 
Prayers go out to those in the path of Irene. Stay safe! 
Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the sagebrush grows,
Janet O.
p.s. The soap is cured, packaged and sent. You winners should be seeing it soon!


  1. I like the gold border, it seems to make the whole thing hum.

  2. Oh, My Fellow Night Owl...I see your quandry and Offer my 2 cents worth once again. I like the Yellow/gold fabric the best! I'm amazed at the difference the color makes in the rest of the quilt when looking at it through the eye of the camera lens and putting it up on the Blog. The blue frames the ocean waves so I would leave that. Ultimately I' would ask the son who will get the quilt for his opinion if you are still in doubt. I'm going to bed NOW!

  3. Hi Janet. Have you considered adding a gold border before the cobblestones to transition to the outer border. I like it with the green border as it adds subtly to the quilt but i just wondered what it would do if you added the yellow before the the cobblestones.


  4. How about...! :-) I love the yellow border, and then I was thinking wouldn't it be cool to also echo the narrow borders around the tree of life, sorta bring that whole middle color palette out to the edges of the cobblestones!! It is definitely NOT a start all over piece. It's gonna be unique and stunning!! Good luck on the Double Wedding Ring. I haven't even found the courage to try!!
    Mary Lou

  5. I like the gold border :O). The green idea for that inner narrow border could be good as well as the green did look nice with it all.

  6. I like all three colors but I prefer the yellow... lovely quilt... I know your son will love it!

  7. Maybe you should try a green border next to the dark blue before the cobble stones. I am liking the yellow best on the outside of the cobble stones. It is going to be beautiful no matter what you do.
    Good luck on the double wedding ring, I love those quilts, but have never attempted one.

  8. I too have a bucket list DWR waiting in the wings to be finished. It's not nagging (yet!) since it's on my "To Do" list for the fall. For me, the really nagging UFOs are the ones that need quilting especially if they are tops that have been made up for more than a year.

    I thought I liked the blue best until I saw that yellow which brought out the tree block background color. How about doing three narrow borders: the yellow, then the light blue and then the dark blue so it mimics the borders around the center block and brings those elements out to the edge of the quilt?

    Really diggin' that cobblestone border!

  9. I like Vivian's suggestion of multiple colored borders. I like the blue best.

  10. I must say that I love this quilt and the whole meaning of it for your son. I like the yellow border with it.

    Love your Double Wedding Ring! That is one that is on my Bucket List! LOL! Just not sure if I am up to it or not. I've heard so many people say that they had all of the pieces pieced but when it came time to sew it all together that they had trouble getting it to match up. Alot of that is probably the differences in patterns and seam allowances....but anyway that all makes me nervous! LOL!

  11. I like the blue Mom but the yellow looks nice too.

  12. I like the way you have the border around the Ocean waves as it is. AS for the outer borders, definitely the yellow with the brown. It pulls it all together.

  13. OK, I made up my mind and then read the above comments. I think the yellow is my first choice. It brings out the gold in your cobblestone border AND it draws your eye back into the center of the quilt. It's worth being persistant, and remember, if it doesn't look right to you, there doesn't have to be a reason, just accept that it isn't right and move on to other choices.

  14. from here, the yellow triangles really pop; i'd do a border that will tie in with those, not add another different color (green) but maybe a darker yellow/light gold to tie in with the triangles. just my opinion; lots of work, no doubt you'll be glad to see it done. as for the DWR, i did mine years ago, ran out of a fabric, substituted another very close, didn't let it bother me. i did mine by hand; even antique quilts often have different fabrics, again just my 2 cents...but by all means finish it

  15. I like the yellow best, and the green second best :D You are way more brave than I am - that pattern is not even on my bucket list!

    I got my care package of soap today! My house smells amazing now! I got the Lavender and the Cinnamon/Orange. So much YUM! Thanks!!

    Pat in Auburn, WA

  16. I can never tell from the pictures. I'm sure whatever you pick will be lovely!

  17. Bringing the yellow on that small outer border really helps. Not sure about the inner blue one. Anyway you can pin a strip of green over it and take a picture and see what you think?

  18. I think the yellow is the best outer border because it does tie in the yellow around the tree. I think the blue should stay around the ocean waves - it seems to match the blue border around the tree. As someone else said - it will be beautiful no matter which border you go with. Congrats!

  19. I have made a few Double Wedding Ring quilts and not one of them is in my possession. And I have tried different methods. I did the John Flynn method and did not like it. My preferred method is using Sharon Hultgren's templates. I made one for my in-law's 50th anniversary in pinks and blues. The center rings had family photos printed on fabric in blue tones. I cut those into ovals and appliqued them down onto the centers with some lace around them. A treasure which my daughter now has in her home (my in-law's have both passed away).

    When you ask for an opinion on something for a quilt, you will get a dozen different ones. I do like the yellow. If it were my quilt, I would leave the green as is. Add that yellow border after the cobblestones and finish with the blue after that.

  20. I think I agree with Texan. The yellow really makes visual sense - and makes everything hang together, but the green also brought out the green in the cobblestones. Perhaps try green on the inner border before cobblestones and yellow on the outer border after cobblestones.

  21. Your DWR quilt is beautiful. I love the colors and the story of it's history. My grandma gave me a shoebox with the beginings of a DWR quilt that was cut out by my great grandmother. Her paper templates are still in the box. I have never attemped to put it together. Things have really advanced in the quilting word.

    The memory quilts you have made for your children definitly reflect what a geat mother you are. You have put a lot of thought into making them special. You must be so proud of the decisions they made to serve missions.


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