A Center Block for a Medallion Quilt

A medallion quilt is one with a large central motif, surrounded by multiple borders. It’s as simple as that.

“A large central motif” is a decorative design or pattern. There is no rule for what creates the design, or for how large it must be. It could be a special piece of fabric. It could be a great orphan block you’ve been hoping to use, or a new block pattern you want to try. Maybe you have a piece of embroidery or applique, or a printed panel. A photograph on fabric, or a beautiful handkerchief or piece of kitchen linen might work for you. There are no rules here. You get to choose!

Yesterday I pulled a number of things from drawers and bins and my closet, curious about what might make a center block. Here are a few things I found.

A really basic red and white pieced block. It’s so basic, I’m thinking of slashing through it and changing it completely!

A throw pillow cover, disassembled. I discovered this and another one at our local Mennonite relief/thrift store.

African fabrics. I pieced the star and appliqued it onto the background.

A great piece of ethnic print. The circles are about 5″ across.

Isn’t this panel cool? I found it in a fabric shop, on sale. I bought 2 panels and gave one to my sister.

Such sweet embroidery on a tea towel.

I bought this amazing appliqued table cloth at an antiques store many years ago. The pieces are outlined in the tiniest buttonhole stitch you’ve ever seen. The whole table cloth is about 5 feet across. This part is just the center “medallion.”

Six star points of what will someday be a star, approximately 3 feet across.

And for a little more inspiration, here are the center blocks of some round robins I’ve played with.

An appliqued mask, surrounded by slashed up pieces of drunkards path blocks the owner didn’t want as they were.

Incredibly conventional but really pretty pieced block.

An eight-pointed star with a Southwestern flair.

Intricately appliqued wreath.

Wonky use of cat focal fabric.

And still a few more…

The center was made with a twister ruler, and I framed it on point with the luscious print.

Pretty applique, which set the theme for the rest of the quilt.

The tan softens the contrast between black and white.

This block is a little different, maybe paper pieced. I like it a lot.

And goodness, if that’s not enough to inspire you, try using Google to look at images for medallions. Modify the description with “liberated” or “simple” or “modern” to get even more ideas.

Inspired? What will you use?


3 thoughts on “A Center Block for a Medallion Quilt

  1. Kathy Aho in MInnesota

    I might join in using a Camp Wilderness panel (outdoorsy northwoods theme) that I got in a fabric grab bag from Savers Thrift store. Coincidentally my hubby loves it because he actually WENT to camp wilderness here in mn as a boy scout. This challenge might get me started on it.

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Hi Kathy. I’d love to see that project and hope you’ll join us. When I hunted through my own things, I was surprised at how many ways I could start a medallion without piecing a new block! Thanks for reading and commenting.


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