Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Blue Medallion Quilt- Ta Da!

My first finish of 2015. This quilt is for the son of a dear friend and the last of 4 that I have made for her family. The only stipulation was that it had to be blue to match his bedroom. At first, I was planning to make a very graphic paper pieced quilt and actually made one trial block. However, I fell out of love with it rather quickly and started playing around with drunkards path blocks using my sissix drunkards path die. After 4 blocks and all the curved piecing, I changed my mind ( thinking life is too short!!). I had wanted to make a medallion quilt (all those Marcelle Medallions and Gipsy Wives being posted on t'internet),  but didn't want to use a pattern. So, I combined the two and used the drunkards path blocks as my centre piece and basically winged it from there.

The design evolved organically. The first round ( after the border) I made impro  triangles which meant I could even up the size of the quilt so that the round after wouldn't have any half blocks. Despite my misgivings about circles, I decided to continue the circular theme and put circles as corner blocks. I used Claudias tutorial  to sew these and found them reasonably easy ( I didn't want to use appliqued circles). I had only a limited amount of the Kona  blue solid so used low volume fabrics for  alternative rounds.

( the quilt is flat it's just lying half on and half off a rug)
I was intending to make the churn dash blocks go all the way round, but ran out of the pale blue solid. I found that my Kona colour card was useless to try and match up the colour to order some more ( of course I hadn't noted down what colour it actually was!). So I improvised and made more of the drunkards path blocks. I did have to add a border of the pale blue solid round each churn dash block so they were the same size as the other blocks. I eventually found out ( by ordering Kona baby blue and robin egg ) that the colour was baby blue.
Having made the quilt top, the next challenge was the quilting. I'm fairly new to FMQ on a longarm, so this was like an apprenticeship piece. They say that to become an expert at something you have to put in 10,000 hours. Needless to say, I have a long way to go!
As this was for a 15 year old teenage boy, I didn't want to use feathers or flowers, although it's said that non- quilters don't even notice the quilting. I kept it reasonably simple.
I did a different quilting design in each of the solid borders and left the churn dashes, geese and squares unquilted, but stitched in the ditch around them.
I quilted spirals in the circles and pebbles around the circles and the flying geese.
I used simple straight lines around the churn dashes and the squares.
I choose a plain black for the back, thinking that a teenage boy may prefer it as the top.
Apologies for being so longwinded but I'm going to list what I learned from this
Firstly, having constraints like not enough blue solid fabric actually lead me to what I think is a better design overall.  Stitching in the ditch is really difficult! I found that I did improve ( in all aspects of quilting) with practice. Quilting is very forgiving- once the quilt is bound and washed those minor imperfections seem to disappear.  If you use a different coloured thread on top and bottom , it does show through. Black fabric picks up every bit of fluff in your sewing room and you spend hours picking it off! It took me 12 hours to knot and sew in all the threads because you can only move side to side on a longarm and  I didn't want to sew across the solid borders. Although I like the look of dense quilting, it does make the quilt very stiff and I prefer a softer finish.
Quilt Stats
Size :75 inches square
Front in a variety of Kona blue solids and blue prints from my stash plus some low volume fabrics
Back in Bella black extra wide quilt backing
Binding in one of Lizzie House's constellation fabrics ( can't remember what it is called)
Wadding: Quilters Dream Orient
Quilted with So Fine black on the back and Fantastico ( Superior Threads) 5006 which is a variegated blue 
 Linking with FAL 2015 ( my original list is here:


2015 FAL at On the Windy Side


  1. It is lovely, I bet he will really enjoy it - even if he doesn't ever appreciate the work that went into it (especially 12 hours knotting and sewing in threads - what a thought!)! Juliex

  2. This is just so stunning Carol. Can you make your photos a bit larger so we can get a closer look?! I am sure your friend's son will be absolutely thrilled with it.It's funny how things like not having enough of a certain colour force us to think outside the box and often come up with a better solution. Such brilliant, inspiring work :-)

  3. You are a marvel! I love that you winged this quilt and it is simply stunning and such gorgeous quilting. I would not want to part with this one :)

  4. This is fabulous! After studying your details, I realize the quilt has three of my all time favorite blocks, the churn dash, the drunkards path and flying geese. I am so inspired!

  5. This is awesome - well done for designing on the fly! The end result looks great.

  6. I just love medallion quilts. This one is so much fun!