Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let's Try Something New

It was a day of trying new things. I received my workbook and templates from John Flynn for the Double Wedding Ring Quilt, and I decided to give it a try. Now, normally I hate doing test blocks. I feel the same about muslins. Just seems like a lot of work, but it doesn't get you any closer to a finished product. But given that I have never made a Double Wedding Ring Quilt block, . . . well, actually, since I have never made a quilt block with a single curved seam, I decided the test block would be a good idea. Mandatory, even.

Especially after I read John Flynn's instructions. I'm sure he has simplified the process quite a bit. But I really wouldn't know since I've never attempted this quilt block in it's traditional incarnation. The DRWQ block pattern is not for the faint of heart.

My plan is to use black/white medium fabrics for the arcs of the rings, and black and red solids for the corner blocks. All on a white background, of course. Since I was testing, the last thing I wanted to do was to purchase more fabric for just a little test. And the stash came through, and I had all I needed; there was no reason to venture forth to the LQS on a Sunday. (Think about that next time you contemplate stashbusting!)

Here is my first arc all done. I was very proud:

And here is my first arc with the center - my first curved seam for a quilt block:

And these are my first "footballs" as John Flynn calls them (he is a man, so I expect sports terminology in a quilt lesson):

And here is my first finished "block":

I would only have to make 19 more of these for a quilt!
It was difficult. I'm certain if I decided to go forth on this project, I would get better at it (I'd have 20 opportunities). The directions only made sense as I actually constructed the block, so a test block is desirable. This block is made using John Flynn's templates for the 15 inch block. The workbook has fairly extensive directions, but the templates also came with directions. They differed in detail in certain sections of the process. Sometimes I found the workbook instructions more clear, sometimes I found the template instructions better. So I would suggest you get both if you also decide a DWRQ is in your future.

Other things I decided: I'll need a smaller rotary cutter than the 45 mm I was using. A smaller cutter will get into those curves better. And a cutting mat that rotates will also make cutting out and trimming a more pleasant experience. Finally, my "ring" fabrics need to be more medium to light in value, rather than dark. The dark arc fabrics take away from the black corner square, in my opinion. Something to think about when I am choosing fabrics for "real".
I'm going to let this sit with me awhile before I decide whether I want to actually do this. But I can't let it sit too long, otherwise I'll forget everything I learned from the test block. I seem to see-saw between difficulty in quilt projects: I'll do something complicated, then I'll want to do something simple, like the Strip Gift Quilt, and then I'll want the challenge again. I think I'm reacting to the simplicity of the Strip Gift Quilt!

Parting Shot: My New Year's goal of breadmaking is coming right along. I got the book "Artisian Bread in Five Minutes a Day" and followed the instructions. Absolutely no problem. And it was delicious!


Vicki W said...

Well, look at you! Perfect DWR blocks and picture perfect bread!

Audrey said...

Great job on the DWRQ block1 I know that if you decide to tackle a whole quilt, it will be beautiful. Someone was asking for your gingerbread cookie recipe at the ASG meeting. Feel free to bring a loaf of that luscious looking bread to this year's party.

Summerset said...

The block looks good! I think it is a good idea to let the project rest a bit and look at it again after a while. You'll have time to really think it all through before committing to a large project. BTW, you can call those "football" pieces "melons" if it makes better sense. That's what I do.

stitchin' girl said...

The DWRQ block looks really nice. Great job on your first attempt - it doesn't look like a first attemp! The bread looks really delicious!

anne said...

Holy crap!! That's a truckload of accomplishments in a weekend....makes my surviving the christening as a godparent without lightening seem so minor. As you might guess I LOVE the colors.

Anonymous said...

OMGoodness that is GORGEOUS! I look forward to seeing your progress.