My Medallion Quilt Finish

Never before has an “active” project taken me so long. I started this quilt in February after finishing the wedding quilt, shown below. In fact, in the center medallion of my quilt, you can see the four corners echo those below. I made them intending to use them as corner blocks on borders of the wedding quilt, but then chose something else.

The Wedding Quilt

For six months I have taken my time, enjoying the freedom to go slowly. Most quilts I make are gifts, and most are for events such as new babies, weddings, or the like. There are deadlines, however squishy, and I get things done pretty much on time. There was no such thing as “on time” for my medallion quilt. Other than wanting it done before winter, I could dally or speed, whichever I pleased.

When I consider the process, I begin with those first four corners. They were too pretty not to use. The cream with pink dots is a fabric I’ve been using for years. Originally I purchased it to back a quilt for a sister and her new husband.

When I finished the center, I was stumped already. It was a pretty block, and I knew I wanted to make a quilt for me, but I didn’t want a pink and green quilt.

In fact, my bedroom is painted pale yellow. The curtains have a yellow background with a bold print, and they’re edged in a yellow and pink plaid. My intention was to use a lot of yellow to “go” with my room. The photo to the right shows you the curtain’s print. (In real life the curtain pink is more pink and less coral than what you may see here. And the quilt shows a little “cooler” on my screen than it is in real life. Ah photos, a mystery to me…)

I asked Jim what to do next. He’s my color consultant on a lot of projects, helping me pick through choices. This time he said right away I needed to edge it in pink. So I did.

But I didn’t want a pink and green quilt! Kind of a bad start given that parameter.

When I considered the options for the first real border, I kept thinking of purple. In my stash was a purple print, very sweet, purchased a very long time ago. The print includes green and bright pink, so it went with what was already done. How to use it, and with what other color? I wanted something small in scale to keep the emphasis on the center block, and chose the half-square triangles, purple with pale aqua. It seemed like such an odd choice to use aqua with the purple. But it was almost like the purple was talking to me, telling me to trust it. So I did. Surprise! it worked!

Next came an outline of darker teal. If I remember correctly, I used that primarily as a spacer before the broken dishes border, to allow that to be the size I wanted.

The broken dishes include all the colors already used — greens, pinks, teals and aquas, purples… And here I finally added some yellow.

This was the first time I’ve used broken dishes. All those little pieces! All those seams meeting! I knew it was what I wanted, though, and I’m glad I used it.

At the same time, all the busy-ness made the top seem a little closed in. I needed to create a resting place and also start to open up the pattern.

Around the broken dishes I put three firm lines of the double pink, purple, and cream with pink dot. In essence, it “finished” everything in the center and also acted as a spacer before the 4-patches border.

My original plan was, instead of using 4-patches, to use churndashes. Churndashes would relate back to the center block, which is just a modified churndash.

If you take a 6″ block and turn it on point, you cover 8.5″. (6 x 1.414 = 8.484.) I made 6″ churndashes, lots of them. Lots and lots.

And when I finally had almost enough little churndashes, I set them around the top as it was so far. And I hated them. And I felt defeated. They were too intricate, they were the wrong colors. All in all they didn’t work.

I put it all aside for a while until I decided what to do next. The four-patches were a simple solution, in contrast to the intricacy of the little churndash blocks. I included yellow for the bead all the way around, and set the blocks in teal to continue that into one more layer.

When I showed it to my small group at that point, they asked if it was done. I said, no, because now it is a teal quilt, and I don’t want a teal quilt. They nodded (wise women,) and agreed I needed to bring pink out again.

The pale-yellow green made a beautiful offset to the double pinks. Using candy stripes (barber poles?) helped open it up more. I framed that again with the cream and pink dot, sizing it so I could use four of the churndashes as corner blocks. Finally came purple.

I got stuck on the binding for a while, too. I assumed it would be pink or purple. Neither seemed right. Finally one morning while walking with Jim, he patiently listened to me talk through the possibilities. Pink, green, purple, teal… Teal. That was the right thing. And I had just enough (barely enough!) left from an earlier project to make the binding.

I don’t have a pink and green quilt. And I don’t have a yellow quilt, that’s for sure! It doesn’t really go with my bedroom. But it goes with me. It is mine in a way that no quilt has been until now.


10 thoughts on “My Medallion Quilt Finish

  1. Lucie the Happy Quilter

    I love this quilt. I love all the different prints, I just think it’s cheerful and it makes me smile. Ok you’ve won. I’m going to start planning mine but first I have to finish a few things. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I look forward to reading your future posts about Medallion Sew-Along. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, Sarah! I agree, but it was kind of hard to get that balance. I think the candy stripe border really make the difference. It’s a good lesson for me in composition, and a good reminder that you can still change the look clear up until the end.

      Thanks again!


  2. Kathy Aho in MInnesota

    Just let me say all that deciding and redoing must have worked because it is really lovely. I think your colors are so wonderful together, Bravo and I am inspired, I am sidetracked with two baby quilt gifts for a friend’s grand-twins due next month. But I plan to get to hubby’s retirement quilt right after that! I will keep you posted.


    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks, Kathy. Fortunately I hadn’t sewn them on yet! And I still have a lot of pretty little churndashes that will work well for something else.

      Yes, do stay in touch on husband’s quilt. I’m eager to see that unfold.

      Thanks for stopping and commenting.



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