A New Quilt for an Old Year

There’s an awful lot beyond my control during the holidays, as for most of us. I might be the only one, but stress can make me cranky. 😉

I am just about done with my “last” quilt of the year, the Flip Side. I still have to attach and stitch down the binding. (Pix and full process report when it’s done.) I figured if I worked on anything else this year, it would be one of my UFOs or something very simple.

But feeling like I did, a little out of sorts, I decided instead to take the plunge. Yes, dearies, I decided to start something hard. And why not, really? A hard quilt takes a lot of mental power, and using it there means I am not using it to fret about stuff beyond my reach.

I began with some fabrics in a pile, much of which I bought in 2014. Looking at the pile discouraged me. Most of it was very traditional brick reds, creams, tans and golds, greens. Beautiful, but lately I’ve enjoyed using bolder fabrics and want to continue in that direction. There was probably enough of the traditional stuff for tops of at least four or five queen-sized quilts.

Okay, I’ll do hard stuff, and BIG! Let’s go BIG!

A while back I published a design for a queen-sized medallion quilt.

It makes a 96″ square quilt. All the elements are simple, but because of their layout and combination, it looks complex. My first thought was to use this design. But immediately I deviated…

The 21″ center block is a 9-patch format, fancied-up churndash. I decided to change the center patch, making it a pieced patch. I made a 7″ economy block using a print I bought in Boulder City in 2011, after visiting the Hoover Dam. (Yes, I do use my own tutorials sometimes!)


Beyond the center block, I used the last bits of a border stripe originally used in FFDIL’s college graduation quilt. There wasn’t enough to miter the corners, so I built 4-patches to finish them.

I used the interior stripe of blues, bronzes, and rusts. See the whole quilt here: https://catbirdquilts.wordpress.com/some-old-favorites/

The border stripe took the block to a strange size, finishing at about (but not exactly) 29.25″. Huh. I needed a spacer strip to take the center to an easier size. A hard line there might seem stark next to the soft design of the border print, so I opted for a brown and cream stripe, cut across the stripes. Only about 1/2″ will show. With that, the center finishes at 30″.


ugh. Terrible picture… Again the colors are so not real… The other pix show them better.


At this point I could go back to the design as shown, beginning with the unpieced green border called Border 1 in the design post.

Instead, though, I’ll make a 6″ border of variable stars and an alternate block. Not sure right now if I’ll make hourglasses or puss in the corner blocks.

I’ve started on those variable stars, cobbling together scraps for the pale backgrounds. Scrap quilts take a lot more time, if you use scraps as I do. (Post on that coming soon!) But they do make more interesting quilts (another post!), in my opinion.

I hope your holidays are going easily, with minimal stress and cranky moods. And if not, I hope you have opportunities to escape enjoy some quiet time to restore your peace.





13 thoughts on “A New Quilt for an Old Year

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Hi, Lisa. Purple… not something I would have thought of here. Now I’ve made another border focusing on the reds, blues, and creams. I think it’s too late for purple! However I appreciate your taking a look and commenting. I am ALWAYS open to suggestions! 🙂

  1. Thread crazy

    Well you did an excellent job at combatting the “mood”. Stress this time of year does seem to get us all. Love the design – will need to sit and make one of your “economy blocks” here one day soon. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  2. snarkyquilter

    Doing some quilt planning and sewing is a much better (and less fattening) way to deal with holiday moods. It’s great to be in control of at least one aspect of one’s life.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Of course, “in control” is relative, yes? I won’t buy anything new for this quilt (or at least, I’ll be mighty surprised if I resort to that.) So my control is limited by what’s already in my stash. Still, yes, way better to deal with stress with something constructive than something destructive! Thanks.

  3. KerryCan

    I like your approach to handling stress! And I agree, you might as well distract yourself by wrangling with something that ends up being productive. If I don’t “talk” to you again beforehand, have a relaxing and peaceful holiday!

  4. shoreacres

    Re: taking the plunge and going big, I’ve always enjoyed this, from Annie Dillard:

    “It is no less difficult to write a sentence in a recipe than sentences in Moby Dick. So you might as well write Moby Dick.”

    Makes sense to me.

  5. andimc13

    Interesting perspective in your decision to tackle something hard to keep your mind occupied! Your medallion quilt is lovely. I hope it brings you peace and joy!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks for your good wishes. I love the challenge of medallions. One of my challenges on this one is having enough of some of the fabrics. Oh! Wait! I have that every time! 🙂


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