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Although the Double Wedding Ring quilt design was most popular during the Great Depression, the quilt pattern is very old, dating back to the late 1800s in America. Often made for special occasions such as weddings or anniversaries, the Double Wedding Ring quilt has historically been a symbol of love and romance with its interlocking rings symbolizing the marriage of a couple, who are joining together as one.
Long before the design appeared in American quilts, early examples of this design were found as decoration on 4th century Roman cups. The gimmal ring, an engagement ring which was popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, is another pre-American example of interlocking rings. The gimmal ring was really two or more rings that during the engagement, each partner wore; then after the wedding, the rings were interlocked together to form one wedding band for the wife.
The visual effect of a Double Wedding Ring quilt is striking and varies greatly depending on the placement of colors within the interlocking rings. Many quilters use their scraps to make the small angled patches in the rings, sometimes taking great care to plan the placement of colors to form alternating light and dark rings. Other quilters may not want a scrappy look and will purchase specific fabrics for the quilt.
Circular designs with open spaces provide a pleasing combination of patchwork and quilting expertise. Piecing the small angled patches that form the circles requires a great deal of skill. The centers are traditionally done in a light colored fabric to accent the rings as well as to show off the quilter's fine stitching. Completed without a border, the rings of the Double Wedding Ring pattern form a lovely scalloped edge.