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How to Piece a Love Ring Quilt Block

Updated on July 17, 2016
Marie Flint profile image

Marie is a self-taught quilter. She has been making quilts as a hobby since 1970. You can find her projects on Pinterest and Facebook.

An 12 1/2" Love Ring Block, Ready for Additional Blocks
An 12 1/2" Love Ring Block, Ready for Additional Blocks

Topics

The Love Ring, also called Drunkard's Path, is a block using only two curved templates. This article covers drafting instructions, fabric selection, and a video showing various pattern layouts.


  1. Drafting the Templates
  2. Fabric Selection
  3. Preparing the Fabric
  4. Marking and Cutting the Fabric
  5. Sewing the Block
  6. Variable Designs (Unlinked: Click title below and scroll up to the video.)
  7. Finishing Touches


Here are some of the tools and materials you might use to construct quilt templates.
Here are some of the tools and materials you might use to construct quilt templates. | Source

Drafting the Templates

If you are a beginner, you'll want to work with larger templates for your first project. As you might be aware, a very common size for a quilt block is 12" (30.48 cm). So, we'll use this for our love ring templates.

What you'll need:

  • newspaper, drafting paper, or vinyl template sheet
  • a ruler, hemmer, or 1/4" (0.64 cm) quilter's guide
  • drawing compass or medium sized plate
  • pencil or marking pen
  • utility scissors

Drawing the curve for the Love Ring. This drawn line is the seam line, not the cutting line.
Drawing the curve for the Love Ring. This drawn line is the seam line, not the cutting line.

The Love Ring's proportions can vary and will achieve different effects visually. The basic pattern of the center (quarter circle) goes beyond the half-way point of the edge's side, but not quite 3/4ths of the way. In the drawing, I have made a dot at the six-inch grid of my drafting paper and then two inches beyond. I set my compass for an 8" diameter circle.

Here is the completed curve  on my 12" square piece of drafting paper.
Here is the completed curve on my 12" square piece of drafting paper.
Cut the paper along the constructed curve with utility scissors.
Cut the paper along the constructed curve with utility scissors.

When cutting along the curve, you use utility scissors because you do not want to dull your good fabric scissors--save those for cutting fabric!

You may now wish to label your paper templates with a marking pen, so, if you save them for future use, you'll know what they are.
You may now wish to label your paper templates with a marking pen, so, if you save them for future use, you'll know what they are.

The standard seam allowance in quilt making is 1/4". When actually cutting the fabric, ALL sides of the template piece need to have this seam allowance added. If you don't, you won't have sufficient fabric on which to sew, and your proportions will be wrong.

Transferring the paper template to vinyl and adding the seam allowances.
Transferring the paper template to vinyl and adding the seam allowances.

If you think you will be using your Love Ring pattern for several projects, you may want to transfer the pattern pieces to a more durable material, such as cardboard or vinyl. Vinyl sheets are available in most crafting stores.

In the picture above, I am adding the seam allowances so I don't have to add them in the future.

Adding the seam allowance to the curve (detail) for the vinyl transfer.
Adding the seam allowance to the curve (detail) for the vinyl transfer.
Cutting the vinyl template with utility scissors.
Cutting the vinyl template with utility scissors.
Again, it's a good idea to label the vinyl template for future reference.
Again, it's a good idea to label the vinyl template for future reference.

Fabric Selection

Your fabrics, one dark and one light, should look nice together.
Your fabrics, one dark and one light, should look nice together.

The fabrics you like are an individual choice. Patchwork can be made from any durable fabric, including basic-weave cotton, cotton blends, denim, flannels, light-weight wool, and even silks or satins. If you have never made a patchwork project before, 100% cotton with a high thread count works best. The reason is that more threads per square inch will last. Pure cotton, too, holds a seam crease when you iron it. This is helpful when sewing fabric pieces together.

Below is a table of the primary and secondary colors with their compliments. You may wish to refer to a color wheel to help you when selecting your fabrics.

Primary Color
Secondary Color Compliment
blue
orange
yellow
purple
red
green
Compliments are the colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Using these will create an exciting effect. You don't have to use them, but they are listed here for reference.

Preparing the Fabric

I always wash the fabric in cold water on a gentle cycle or a normal cycle with other things of like color. Washing and drying helps shrink the fabric so you don't get rippling after the project is completed. Cleaning also helps remove any residual commercial fire proofing, a source of allergy concerns for some people. White vinegar in the wash water helps retain colors in the fabrics. Use about one cup of vinegar for a full load. I recommend 1/4 cup for front-loading and water-saving washers.

Now its time to remove the selvages, the half-inch-wide edges of the fabric. Selvages have a tighter weave than the rest of the fabric. So, it is best to remove these; otherwise, rippling can occur should your project get washed again.

There are several ways of removing the selvage. If you have a rotary cutter, cutting ruler and mat with grid markings, you can line up the selvages vertically, place the ruler along the selvage line, and cut the two layers of fabric to remove the selvages. This method gives a very clean edge.

You can also cut away the selvage with fabric scissors. This takes a bit of time, though.

The quick method is to snip the fabric where the main color and selvage meet, then tear off the selvage along the grain of the fabric. The edge won't be as clean as if cut by the scissors or rotary, but it's quick and effective. Pressing the raw edge with an iron will smooth out an rippling creating by the tearing process.

I have snipped the selvage from the fabric and begun the tearing process.
I have snipped the selvage from the fabric and begun the tearing process.

Next, you will smooth all wrinkles and folds with a steam iron or spray water and dry iron. The setting for cottons is "4," a medium heat.

Smoothing the wrinkles and folds to ensure accurate cutting.
Smoothing the wrinkles and folds to ensure accurate cutting.
Marking the fabric with a water soluble pen and using the vinyl template as guide.
Marking the fabric with a water soluble pen and using the vinyl template as guide.
Cutting the fabric with good fabric scissors.
Cutting the fabric with good fabric scissors.
Since I have a paper template without seam allowance, I have to mark my cutting line 1/4" away from the edge of the template. Soap is used to mark the dark fabric.
Since I have a paper template without seam allowance, I have to mark my cutting line 1/4" away from the edge of the template. Soap is used to mark the dark fabric.

Marking and Cutting the Fabric

There are several ways to cut the fabric. If you have a paper pattern template, you can simply pin baste the piece to the fabric and trim around the pattern. Be careful not to cut into the pattern piece.

Another method is to use dressmaker's carbon paper and tracing wheel. I've never had one of these, but I have used carbon paper and pencil to mark fabric.

Chalk or chalk pounce can also be used. Chalk wipes off easily from fabric and can be sharpened in a regular pencil sharpener for a fine drawing tip. Chalk is inexpensive and requires little to no pressure when marking. If you use chalk, pick a color that is not present in the fabric. The odd color will stand out for easy viewing.

The method I use here is to outline the pattern template with a washable ink pen. You can also use a number two (No. 2) pencil. In the case of very dark fabrics, a soap bar that has well worn to thinness works quite well (photo to right).

Sewing the Block

If you prefer, you can hand stitch the pieces together by using a running stitch reinforced every third or fourth stitch with a back stitch. When hand stitching, you have an extra step of marking the seam line (1/4" from edge of fabric) to help you keep your hand stitches straight. The marking is made lightly on the wrong side of the fabric.


Sewing by Machine

Notice that the cut pieces appear to not fit each other. This is normal because the seam allowance has been added.

Proper seam allowance causes the pieces to appear as if they do not fit together. This is normal.
Proper seam allowance causes the pieces to appear as if they do not fit together. This is normal.

I get ready to sew the pieces by folding each piece in half and finger pressing a crease. This gives me a reference point for aligning the raw edges to each other.

Each piece has been folded in half, raw edges of each piece matching with itself. I press the fabric with my finger to create a crease that I will use as a reference point when pin basting the two fabrics together.
Each piece has been folded in half, raw edges of each piece matching with itself. I press the fabric with my finger to create a crease that I will use as a reference point when pin basting the two fabrics together.
Matching the creases and pinning the fabrics with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
Matching the creases and pinning the fabrics with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
Next I pin the outer edges so they align.
Next I pin the outer edges so they align.
I put pins every few inches working from the center toward the outer edges and smoothing the fabric with my fingers as I work.
I put pins every few inches working from the center toward the outer edges and smoothing the fabric with my fingers as I work.

When I sew, I go slowly and stop at each pin to remove it. I "eye" my seam line and use the engraved brackets found on the base of most modern sewing machines as a guide. If you don't have these, you can measure the distance from the needle tip to where the raw edge of the fabric should rest (to the right of the needle). Mark where the raw edge should align with masking tape.

There are quilting aid products on the market now that bear a 1/4" width. One of these is quilter's, or seam, tape with a light adhesive on both sides. This holds the raw edges together while you are sewing them and eliminates pin basting.

Once I've sewn the pieces together with a narrow, 1/4" seam, I trim the edges with embroidery scissors. BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THE SEAM'S STITCHES! The slits will help create ease so the curved hem will lie flat.
Once I've sewn the pieces together with a narrow, 1/4" seam, I trim the edges with embroidery scissors. BE CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THE SEAM'S STITCHES! The slits will help create ease so the curved hem will lie flat.
Pressing out the finished seam so it lies flat. Light fabrics are pressed toward darker ones.
Pressing out the finished seam so it lies flat. Light fabrics are pressed toward darker ones.
Finally, checking the block size against a 12" pattern to be sure the seam allowances are sufficient and even. Looking good!
Finally, checking the block size against a 12" pattern to be sure the seam allowances are sufficient and even. Looking good!

Variable Designs

The following video gives a quick visual review of the steps in making a Love Ring, or Drunkard's Path, block, followed by quilts with different layouts. The design possibilities are endless!

Finishing Touches

All the captioned pictures and detailed explanations may seem complicated at first appearance, but if you follow these steps for your first block, the others that follow will be easy. In time, you develop a creative knack for combining many harmonious fabrics together using a light-dark, dark-light scheme and mirror-image pattern placements. You can even combine different size blocks, such as two 6" blocks with a 12" one, similar to some of the designs in the video.

The Love Ring (I much prefer this name to Drunkard's Path) makes really a beautiful quilt. If you're not ready to make a bed quilt, try a pillow sham or small wall hanging. These make great gifts, and you gain a sense of accomplishment that no shopping spree can give. Creative sewing is great therapy. Enjoy your sewing time! ***

© 2013 Marie Flint

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    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Chitrangada. This simple pattern, which can be drafted for differently sized blocks is quite versatile. Handmade gifts are special. I'm glad you feel inspired by the article to make something. Have a wonderful holiday season!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This looks very creative and beautiful!

      Your instructions and pictures are very helpful and I am thinking of creating a beautiful piece just like yours.

      Thanks for sharing the details!

    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I'm posting my little design that I made from the featured block on Facebook. I'm thinking about just binding it without any border and presenting it as a Christmas gift to be used as a tablecloth or just as a decorative piece for the back of a couch.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Dora. Now it's off to Facebook to post my creativity. --Blessings!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      I love quilts,but have never made one. Thank you for your very clear instructions and diagrams. Voted Up and Useful!

    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Thank you, Writer Fox, for reviewing my hub and commenting. I did try creating a text capsule just above the video and linking that, but it didn't work. I don't know if it had something to do with publishing the hub with the Internet Explorer browser and then going back into it when the video capsule didn't work. No matter what kind of internal link I tried after that first publishing mode, the connection wouldn't work. The topic title would be in blue, too. At least now, I know how to create a table of contents that direct you to the intended spot in the hub, and that's pretty neat! ***

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      You are a woman of many talents. Your photographs are excellent and add so much to the directions. The Table of Contents is very useful, too. To link to the video, you could try adding a page divider in an image and linking to that. (That's what I use.) Voted up!

    • Marie Flint profile image
      Author

      Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      This entire hub was created out of my own quilting experience of over 40 years. The only outside source is the video, which has its own accreditations.

      The Love Ring, in my opinion, is delightful because if offers a feminine design with the curve and works especially well with floral prints mixed with a harmonious solid. It's the easiest curve to do.

      I am also delighted to finally incorporate a "table of contents" into my hub. The only link I couldn't get to work after several attempts was for the video. Even after creating a text introduction and attempting to link that, it still didn't work. So, I simply left it unlinked with scrolling instructions.

      Thank you for reading this hub, and I hope I've inspired you to make a Love Ring block! ***