|By Allison Sharp, Jennifer’s sister|
Several years ago, I decided to make my oldest niece a quilt to celebrate her wedding. As other nieces got married, I continued to make each of them a quilt big enough to fit a queen-size bed. I always asked what colors and patterns they liked, and while some of them didn’t care, others had very particular opinions. My first nephew got married in January, and imagine my surprise when he and his fiancé requested a Lord of the Rings quilt! (The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien and later made into three, very popular movies by Peter Jackson. Tolkien also wrote The Hobbit, and Jackson, again, made this book into three films.)
After trying many complicated and uninspiring ideas and designs, I finally—-a month and a half before the wedding—-decided to see if I could buy Lord of the Rings fabric online somewhere.
Yes! You really can buy Lord of the Rings fabric! The piece below is one designer’s interpretation of the Eye of Sauron.
I bought several pieces of fabric and then pieced together a fairly simple quilt top with a more complicated design in each corner. I decided to do the actual quilting myself, and even though I didn’t pick complicated designs, with a quilt this large on my regular domestic sewing machine, I still spent far more time quilting the quilt than piecing it together.
The stunning Lord of the Rings fabric panel on the front of the quilt is an actual reproduction, on fabric, of the movie poster from the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring. You can buy this on Amazon and a great website called Spoonflower.com. (The links for this and other fabric used in the quilt are at the end of the blog.) Please note that pre-printed panels like this one are not necessarily printed exactly straight or cut very precisely. If you use pre-printed fabric, be prepared to trim the panel and maybe adjust the measurements of the rest of the quilt.
I decided to quilt this panel, starting at the One Ring, in a spiral with lines one inch apart. I quilted this with my walking foot, and once you get the spiral started, this quilting design is not too difficult to sew.
Starting the spiral at the One Ring visually demonstrates how central it is to the books and movies, and I had several people comment that the spiral emphasizes the One Ring’s ever-increasing influence on everything pictured in the panel.
I also decided to quilt spirals on the fabric panel printed with the map of Middle Earth. I started a larger spiral around Mount Doom (the spiral beginning on the right side of the map). I added a smaller spiral around Hobiton, Frodo’s village. I wanted the two spirals to cross, symbolizing the way Frodo and Mount Doom eventually influence and then connect with each other. (If I had not been tired and pressed for time, I would have added more small spirals because I like the way they look when they cross the large spirals.)
My nephew and his fiancé wanted quotations from J.R.R. Tolkien on the quilt. Luckily, my daughter is very willing to embroider for me. The first quotation comes from The Hobbit and is spoken by Gandalf about Bilbo.
The second quotation is written in Elvish, a language created by Tolkien just for his books. Amazingly enough, you can actually purchase embroidery patterns that allow your embroidery machine to sew Elvish letters! I, personally, don’t know Elvish, so I was very grateful that my daughter was willing to find a quotation that she could translate into Elvish and then stitch: “All that is gold does not glitter. Not all who wander are lost.”
I spent the most time quilting the large borders around the central square of the quilt. Using some of the ideas in Explore Walking Foot Quilting by Leah Day, I quilted the border with bright yellow thread in a pinstripe grid set on point. The lines of stitching in the “pinstripe” are about ¼” apart, and the distance between one set of pinstripes to another is about 2”. “On point” means that the squares in the grid are sitting on their points and not their sides.
For the back of the quilt, I found a matching fabric that I sewed to all of the extra Lord of the Rings fabric that I didn’t use in the quilt top. This includes a fabric panel of The Hobbit movie poster, Lothlorien trees, and random pieces from maps of Middle Earth. (Yes, I could have saved them for another project, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would be.) I pieced them together randomly, which you can see from the photo.
With the colors of the fabrics (picked by the bride and groom), the printed fabric panels, and the extensive quilting, the quilt looks stunning!
Even if you never sew a Lord of the Rings quilt, I hope this post gives you some ideas of how you might make a quilt about a specific subject. If you search on Amazon and Spoonflower, you will find fabric that relates to not only The Lord of the Rings, but also The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel Comics, and probably just about anything else you might want.
Amazon has a surprisingly large collection of Lord of the Rings fabric.
Spoonflower.com has beautiful fabrics from many different designers. For maps of Middle Earth, click here.
Here’s a link for Lord of the Rings fabric at Spoonflower
For machine embroidery designs in the Tengwar Elvish dialect (you didn’t know there were different versions of Elvish, did you?), visit Lynellen’s Etsy shop.
You can find Leah Day’s book, Explore Walking Foot Quilting, at her website, leahday.com. I purchased the print edition.