Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Three Ring Circus


Tara Miller Collection
The Double Wedding Ring has to be the most popular quilt made in the 20th century.
Most often pieced of the new multi-colored floral dress prints with a pastel plain four-patch on
a white background, the style was a true fad. 

One of the earliest in the common style in my files. 

Another 1928-1930

The Quilt Index has 1,814 pictures of quilts named Double Wedding Ring,
99+% look like the above.

But a few don't follow that design rule. Why can't the lozenge shape
be a print?

Two quilts from the North Carolina project and the Quilt Index.

Attributed to Nora Benson (1883-1970) of Johnston County, North Carolina.

Well, you might say using a busy print among all those little pieces creates a design problem.
Busy + busy = Too Busy.
All in the eye of the beholder.

Tara bought this three ring circus from Julie Silber Quilts.com

Collector Bill Volckening always has something to show
when we are talking busy. This one from Texas.

Matt Macomber found this top in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Teddy Pruett's collection from Spring Hill, Florida.

North Carolina project & the Quilt Index
Crib quilt finished by family after Sabra Willis died in 1955.

No surprise that the origins for these wild versions are usually
Southern. There was a visual there rule mid-century:

Variable contrast in patterning.
Variable value in choosing fabrics.

Or as folklorist Teri Klassen put it on our QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page: 
"Things get crazy when the ground patches are strong prints."

Join the QuiltHistorySouth Facebook page


  1. Here's a Double Wedding Ring that I own, https://quiltindex.org//view/?type=fullrec&kid=12-8-5439. It's not unusual or busy, but it is signed and dated. I bought it at a yard sale in Okemos, Michigan.

  2. I LOVE the busy ones. Bring them on!

  3. The more I see the busy ones, the more I'm liking them. Well mostly, there are some that charge right past busy into total chaos. Today, the one from Teddy Pruitt collection is too much, but the rest seem to have just enough consistency in their wackiness to make me happy.

  4. I have one made by my Neighbor and hidden until I was getting married. Surprise at my Bridal Shower. Hand Quilted by Momma and Grandma. My most treasured Quilt!

  5. And I thought a red solid as the background was pushing the boundaries. Wow. I love nearly all of them.

  6. My first quilt was a double wedding ring for my son's wedding. I used all blue and gold fabrics with a cream background and center to signify University of Michigan. It was very calm with all the cream. I think all the ones you are showing are too wild for me!