Make a Picnic Basket Cover from a Double Wedding Ring Quilt Patterncomments (1) May 10th, 2012
Double wedding ring quilts are based on an interlocking ring motif and are among the icons of traditional American quilts. Most quilt historians, however, consider the use of the design in quilts as a fairly “recent” occurrence, dating their appearance in this country to the Depression era with published patterns first appearing in 1928. It makes sense that these quilts would be popular during a time of scarcity because they are composed of many small pieces cut from an assortment of fabrics that are not necessarily repeated. In other words, it’s a great example of a truly scrap quilt. But the design is so delicate and requires such precise piecing that it certainly takes the use of scraps to a new level. The circular shapes imply a wedding ring, but renowned 20th-century quilt designer Ruby Short McKim writes in her popular book, 101 Patchwork Patterns (Dover Publications, 1962) about the many individual pieces and says smilingly of the pattern, “such a variegated scheme suggests married life.”
I thought this pattern would be perfect to insert in a project for “wedding” month on CraftStylish. And, since I haven’t attempted it before, I thought it would be a personal challenge. After a second thought, however, I realized that it’s a pretty complex pattern, and I probably wouldn’t be able to offer it as a quilt. It takes a lot of time to sew all those little pieces together! So I came up with a simplified version that can be sewn together quickly and uses only a portion of the design—four arcs that meet at their points to form a nice motif in their own right. It uses only two pattern pieces and is machine-appliquéd to a base. As a mini quilt, it makes a perfect cover for a picnic basket, and it’s just the right size on which to spread out a picnic for two.
What you’ll need to make a 27-inch x 27-inch quilted picnic mat:
- 1 yard of fabric for the backing, borders, and four end blocks
- 3/4 yard of fabric for the base
- 1/4 yard of fabric for the eight arcs
- 1/8 yard of fabric for the remaining four end blocks
- A square of quilt batting slightly larger than 25 inches x 25 inches
To make the mat:
1. Enlarge the pattern below by 300% and cut eight arcs and eight corner squares (four light and four dark).
2. Lay out the cut pieces, matching the curved edges of the corner squares to the ends of the arcs.
3. Sew one light square and one dark square to each end of four of the arcs. Pin before you sew—you’ll be matching a concave curve to a convex curve, so match the edges carefully. Press the seam allowances open.
4. Sew the remaining four arcs to the other curved edge of each corner square, but sew only to the existing stitching.
5. Press the seam allowances open. Then press under the outer and inner edges of each oval.
6. Sew the ovals together so the squares alternate at the center.
7. Cut the base fabric 23 inches x 23 inches and find the center of this square by folding into quarters.
8. Position the oval medallion on the base and pin in place with the pins perpendicular to the folds.
9. Stitch the medallion to the base along the inner and outer edges of each oval.
10. Cut the backing 30 inches x 30 inches.
11. Layer the top, batting, and backing with the batting extending at least 2 inches beyond the top and the backing extending 2-1/2 inches beyond the batting.
12. Quilt the layers together around the ovals or in a pattern of your choice.
13. Trim the batting so it extends 2 inches beyond the top on all sides—but don’t cut the backing!
14. To make the borders and miter the corners, press under 1/4 inch along the outer edges of the backing. Turn up the backing at each corner.
15. Fold the backing up over the batting to form a hem and create miters at the corners. Stitch through all thicknesses along the inner fold.
Spread out your picnic and enjoy!
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Find ideas to create the ultimate DIY Wedding and to help plan any showers and parties this spring.