The Queen’s Medallion

One of the many things I love about medallion quilts is that they’re often square. Their usual symmetry is pleasing to me, and it provides a simple backdrop for the other design elements.

Functionally, square works well for lap quilts, nap quilts, baby quilts, wall-hangings, table mats… But square isn’t the best shape for every purpose. In fact, though king-sized beds are almost square, in the US no other bed sizes are. According to Back to Bed, the most popular mattress size is the queen, at 60″x80″. Even if you add a drop that covers the mattress on three or four sides, the featured part is still the part on top. A quilt fit for a queen would be rectangular, not square.

Remember, your borders don’t have to be symmetrical. To elongate the quilt, you can add borders top and bottom that don’t appear on the left and right. In my Medallion Sew-Along #2 post, I talk about asymmetrical borders. Take a look to refresh your memory.

Here are examples, drawn with EQ7, of queen bed medallion designs. All of them assume a finished quilt size of 90″x110″. This covers the top of the mattress and adds 15″ mattress drop all around.

The first one shows you a basic format with shapes but no blocks or colors. I think this helps see the concept without distraction. Its center motif is on point, visually lengthening the design even before borders are added. It has more borders top and bottom than on the sides.

The strip border with corner blocks takes the “center” to 60″x80″. Outside that is the drop covering the mattress.

And now with color.

As above, the strip border with corner blocks takes the center to 60″x80″, covering the top of the mattress.

This example uses a rectangular center block with straight setting. It elongates the quilt but maintains the border width symmetry, with same width and style of borders on all sides.

The turquoise strip border between HST and checkerboard borders takes the center to 60″x80″.

A more complex design keeps the central motif on point but stretches it. Like the example above, you can maintain border symmetry this way.

These aren’t intended to be patterns, just illustrations of how you might design for a rectangular bed. And just a note, if I were making a queen-sized quilt, I’d probably design it with drops on just three sides rather than four. And if it were a gift, likely I would make bed pillow cases to go with the quilt.

Have you designed a rectangular medallion quilt? Are there any tricks or hints you’d like to offer?

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