Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting Started on my Double Wedding Ring

Let's start making a double wedding ring quilt.  When you open the die package, this is what you get.  This particular one is a 2-die set.  Most are one die- but the DWR has a lot of pieces. The die on the left is blade side up and the die on the right is blade side down.  the papers at the top are the packaging- includes pictures and how the pieces go together to make a little wall hanging.


When you look closely at the spongy side of the die, you see the cuts around the shapes.  In the photo above, I'm pulling back the foam with my fingernail to expose the blade.  SHARP! 


It's very hard to see where the blades are- at least on a new die.  The AccuQuilt folks encourage customers to use a permanent pen (like a Sharpie) to hi-light the blade areas.  I must say that I wish they came marked already, but it's really not hard to do.


The Double Wedding Ring die set has a lot of pieces and you need different numbers of different shapes to make the quilt.  I marked the shapes with the corresponding letter because I just know I'll get mixed up and I can use all the help I can get.  Notice, also, that the shapes even have little tabs that are used as registration marks to keep your piecing super-duper accurate.



Each die has instructions to make a project.  The DWR die package has a pattern for a small wall hanging.  It shows you how the pieces go together to make the DWR and you need to adjust it yourself to the size quilt you want.  I am making a king size quilt top.... so a little math tells me..... I need a bazillion little pieces.  :-)


I'm first cutting the little wedge pieces- D and E.  Each arc is made of 3 D's and 2 E's.... plus 2 of the little squares on the ends.  I'm working on the D's and E's.  My quilt will be black, red and white.  My background is white and the little pieces that make up the arcs will be prints with these 3 colors.  I'm alternating black and white arcs with red and white arcs.  Today I'm cutting red and white.  My plan is to make the center piece mostly white with a little red, the pieces beside it pretty much equal red and white, and the end squares mostly red.  I'll do the same progression with the black and whites- making them whiter in the middle and blacker on the ends.

I cut some long strips a little taller that the shape and then rough-cut some pieces to place over the shape that I have marked with the sharpie.  I layered 6 pieces of fabric over the shape.


With the die blade side (foam side) up, fabric on top of the shapes I want to cut, I covered the die with the cutting mat.  AccuQuilt has different sizes of mats that fit on different sizes of die.  Then through the rollers they go.... with a turn of the handle.... the die slides through.


Once in a while a thread doesn't cut, and needs to be snipped.  So far- this is rare.  I am just careful when I lift the scraps away from the cut shapes.  The foam seems to be thick enough, with the blades recessed deeply enough, that I have not felt it was dangerous to have my fingers around the blades.  So far, so good.

As I get more cut, I'll mess with the positions of the fabrics a bit more.  I won't have 2 of the same fabrics in an arc when I start sewing them.  But notice the dark reds on the sides- they are not symmetrical.  You need to cut half of them right side up and half of them upside down so you get an equal number of left and right ends of the arcs.  The 3 center pieces can all be cut right side up (or whatever).  It's amazing how fast the cutting is going!  This would have taken me forever to cut with templates.  But what's even better is the fact that they are such accurate cuts.

Speaking of accurate cuts.... there is a tip offered by AccuQuilt to cut more accurate shapes.  When referring to the "straight of grain" on fabric- there are 2 ways that are straight- from selvage to selvage, and the long way as wrapped on the bolt.  The grain line that runs from selvage to selvage is the crosswise grain (weft threads) and the grain line that runs the length of the bolt is the lengthwise grain (warp threads).  If you tug both ways, you will find a little bit of give in the crosswise grain but the lengthwise grain is very stable.  Of course, the bias (running diagonally) has a lot of give.  Whenever possible, it's best to place fabric on the die shapes so that the fabric will cut (run through the rollers) as if going through WITH the lengthwise grain.  Think of it as feeding the fabric through the rollers as if it were coming off the bolt that way.  I'm not sure it makes that much difference.  These things look pretty darned accurate to me.  But it's good to develop good habits from the start.

Well.... more cutting for me.... lots and lots and lots of cutting......

16 comments:

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Oh, I agree they should come premarked.

WoolenSails said...

Wonderful tutorial. I love the dies to make the types of quilts, where cutting can be a pain.

Debbie

QuiltSue said...

Lots of cutting, yes, but just imagine if you were doing it by hand.

Joanne said...

Can't wait to see the progress of your DWR. It is definitely a pattern I have wanted to try.

aplainpath said...

Thanks for sharing. I had never seen this in work, or exactly how it worked. Awesome!

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

Great tutorial and I love the red DWR! :-)

SewCalGal said...

Sue, this is going to be a beautiful DWR. Love your fabrics.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Stray Stitches said...

Thank you for the GO! tutorial - I hope to have one soon. I look forward to seeing your progress on the DWR!

Jansie said...

That is so awesome. I'm just imagining all the amazing quilts and projects that will come about due to this new cutter. (and I love the reds you picked!)

Judy S. said...

Wow, think of all the scissors work you are saving! I love your color choices...red is my favorite!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Thank you for the detailed pix and the mention of grain 'as if it were on the bolt.'

Lynne4444 said...

Very interesting. You explain things so well. You are making me nervous by waiting so long to start this. I keep chanting in my head, "go, sue, go." The colours are beautiful and will look stunning together.

Quilary said...

I am doing this by hand and have been for...ahem...18 months. I am enjoying watching your progress. It's inspiring me to get a bit of a move on.

Needled Mom said...

I have read that before about premarking the dies. The fabrics you are using will make for a gorgeous DWR quilt. That is one that I have always wanted to make, but will not attempt it without a GO.

Angie said...

You really do a good job showing us that don't have a GO! how easy it can be. I would have been afraid to write on mine to be honest, but.....it totally makes sense. :0)

judith lockhart said...

Now that is pretty cool looking! Thanks for such good photos of the accuquilt!