Does this sound complicated to you? If you said yes, did you know there is a friendly version?
When the phrase Wedding Ring Quilt is mentioned you think of curved and complicated seams of construction. I have always wanted to try making one of THOSE quilts and have probably enough experience to do so, but at a much, much later date. A screen capture of Pinterest wedding ring block.
Today’s focus will be on making the old fashioned version of this block. This relies on accurate HSTs (half square triangles) and squares. Choose the size of unit you are most comfortable. Today’s tutorial is utilizing the 2 1/2 inch squares, but you could certainly go smaller or larger.
- spray starch and pre ironed fabric
- color way of neutral fabrics
- color way of your assigned color fabrics (today I am using pinks)
- Easy Angle ruler
- rotary cutter
- cutting mat
- sewing machine
What are we aiming for? This is the block.
Starch and iron all fabrics you plan on using before any cutting. After successful starch/ironing cut your strips to your desired width. Mine are 2 1/2 inches
Next lay a neutral face up and a pink face down directly on top of one another.
Square up left edge (if you are right handed). Notice my 2 1/2 inch strips are right at the 2 1/2 inch line. Cut your bias edge with the line on the 2 1/2 inch mark. (not any fabric showing from under that line, and not the line under the fabric, but resting on top of the fabric). Cut.
Rotate your ruler and cut your 90 degree edge. Flipping your ruler repeat this process down your strip set. Set your triangle cuts aside for sewing. For each block you will need 16 HSTs. If you are going for a scrappy look, involve as much variety from your stash (or the store) as you can. A two fabric only look for this block would be just a beautiful.
Sew your paired cuts of neutral and pink feeding the flat side of the angle in. This will prevent your machine from pushing a point into the machine and causing a nest of thread and a gob of frustration.
Finger press your seam open and trim the dog ear. Notice you only have one to trim! That is the great thing about this Easy Angle Ruler, it is accurate, and it saves you yardage. That extra dog ear you normally trim if making a full size quilt of nothing but HSTs would amount to vast yardage being thrown in the garbage and therefore not utilizing your fabric to it’s full cost. That would be like buying a yard of fabric and throwing away an 1/8th of that yard! Fabric is too expensive for me to do that!
This is a good time to take a measurement. Make sure your 1/4 seam is a scant seam which allows for the thread bulk as well as the fabric to fold over itself. After finger pressing, your HST should measure 2 1/2 inches square. If it does not, adjust accordingly. Success for this block will require an accurate scant seam. If your block is larger, enlarge your seam allowance (or trim your block). If your block measures smaller than 2 1/2 inches square, make your seam allowance smaller.
Remember you will need 16 HSTs, for this block, so you can either sew them all up or you can sew as you go. I like to improv when doing scrappy quilts so I only sew a 4 patch at this point 4 times, but find your rhythm and proceed.
The block tutorial:
- 4 four patch HST units
- 5 neutral squares
- 4 pink squares
Make an HST 4 patch.
Sew your 4 patch. Pressing is tricky. For two of your 4 patches you will press the top row toward the pink, and the bottom row toward the neutral. This will create perfect nesting for the next step.
When feeding the seams through your machine, the most ideal situation for perfectly nested seams, is to have the seam on top towards the presser foot. So if things don’t go perfectly at the begining, the lip of the seam will wedge itself to the seam below and lock it into place providing the best nesting experience. Two blocks will be pressed like this and two of the 4 patches will be pressed the opposite way to provide non bulky seams through the whole block. Do you have to do it like this? No. If you prefer you can always do whatever you normally do, or you can press them open. Whatever you like, it is your quilt, you are your own quilt police HA!
The end result will be this. Notice I have spun my centers. This is ideal for your quilt. It allows flatter seams and less bulk during quilting. If you count the fabrics right there, the count is 12 layers. No needle should have to sew that. By spinning your seams, it will be less wear and tear on your machine, especially if you quilt it later.
Repeat this 4 patch once exactly like you just made it, pressing and all. Repeat this 2 more times but press in opposite directions. This will enable you to spin the seams throughout the wedding ring block.
Cut some pink squares at 2 1/2 inches as well as some neutrals. You can use the easy angle ruler for this as well, or use what ever ruler you are comfortable. Make sure when cutting the line is ON the fabric.
Notice the direct of the HSTs. They are pointing to a common point. That will be close to center. The edge on the right place a pink square between the 4 patches and then place a neutral opposite the pink. sew that seam and notice both your 4 patches the seam is pressed to the right. You will want to press your seam to the neutral. This will allow for perfectly nested seams and allow you to spin your seams.
Now sew the next seam to the squares.
You now are almost halfway done!
Repeat all of this in a mirror image of what you have just sewn.
And now you are 75% done, the easy part is left.
To complete this block you will need three neutral squares and two pink. Notice their placement and chain piece them. During chain piecing, sometimes I sew HSTs for the next block to keep threads utilized.
Notice the finger pressing not perfect but manages to keep the seams spinning. Just one more seam to go!
One last step, press. Since you have finger pressed everything so far, it is a matter of laying the iron on the block and getting flat seams. No distortion which creates a perfect square block.
And there you have it, the old fashioned version of the wedding ring block. Your pinks make a ring in the center, and HSTs are nice facets around the perimeter. If this was done in something shiny, it would sparkle like a diamond wedding ring, eh? The block finished out at 10, 10 1/2 inches unfinished.
Three years ago I would have never attempted this block. But after many successful quilts later using the Easy Angle Ruler, I am so on board! For the quilt I am making, I will make a few pink blocks and a few green blocks. There will be more colors in the quilt I am making, but I have not yet decided which colors.
This will go relatively fast if you have many strips precut and stack of HSTs already cut just ready to sew. Sometimes I use the leader/ender technique while in the middle of this block, sewing for the next block, streamlining the process.
The reason this ruler works for me is, I do not like to be slowed down by drawing lines plus having extra tools lying about. It is just cut and sew. And that is what quilting is all about!
I hope my blog inspires and teaches. Would you tackle this block? Having the right tools helps. I like the genius of this block in that I only have one measurement I constantly cut through the whole quilt. No 1/8ths. No drawing lines. And it is jelly roll friendly. Just in time for National Sew a Jelly Roll Day on Sept 21st, 2019!
Thank you for reading my blog!