XX’s Quilt

XX's Quilt. 75" x 75". Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in February 2015.

XX’s Quilt. 75″ x 75″. Begun with a medallion print purchased in Boulder City, NV. Finished in January 2015.

XX’s Quilt is a funny name, but this is a quilt for someone special, someone who can’t know the gift is coming. It will be several months before delivery, and in the meantime, I need to call it something!

I began this just before the end of 2014 and finished it in January.You’ve seen this as an unquilted top before. I’m trying to get in the habit of describing process on current projects, rather than unloading the whole story after the fact. Most of my decision points were described here.

I had created a quilt two years ago that I still consider one of my best. In the center of the center block, I used the medallion print used in XX’s. I set that quilt on point, as this one is. It was very elegant and masculine. I had hoped this one would have the same feel, but it does not. It is masculine, but I wouldn’t call it elegant. I’d call it bold, rather forthright!

So what do I like and what do I think falls short? It’s a unified design, with the different elements of color, value, line, shape, and pattern contributing to a whole. Nothing stands out as out of place. The repetition of various elements adds to that unity. The sawtooth border in the corner settings adds movement. The narrow borders create delineation between sections of the border but do not fragment it. The medallion print in the very center is repeated directly in the four corners, but also more subtly in the dark red floral border stripe, and in the small print of the next-to-last border. The strong value contrast leads to that bold, showy look, along with the Americana colors of dark reds and dusty blues.

For negatives, it seems slightly center-heavy to me, so the proportion isn’t quite right. Not sure how I would change that if I were starting over. I like the accents of dark brown, but they are rather far and wide, so don’t feel as consistent as if I’d used them a little more. And over all, it takes itself pretty seriously. There’s nothing playful or exuberant or light-hearted about it.

Even with all that, I’ve come to love it anyway. It will suit its recipient quite well.

Thanks as always to Jim for taking photos for me. ❤


24 thoughts on “XX’s Quilt

  1. Ann

    I think the recipient will love this quilt. You are very hard on yourself with the criticism as it is a beautiful quilt. I have nowhere near the experience that you have but if I were to comment on the overall colours I would have liked a final blue border rather than the dark red, but that’s just me, I love blue!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I am rather hard on myself, trying to learn how to do things better! I’ve found that honest evaluation is the best way for me to learn. Thank you for your kind comments.

      1. zippyquilts

        I think you do an especially good job of making a panel into a unified quilt that is more than just a panel with borders. I might have made the final border wider in an attempt to balance the “weight” of the center, but I like the quilt as it is. Lovely colors, too.

        1. Melanie McNeil Post author

          Thanks, Mary. Yes, a wider, pieced final border (or nearly final…) would have balanced it better. Easy for me to see that now. 🙂

          As to “panel,” I’m not sure if I was clear in how I described the quilt. This didn’t use a panel. The “medallion print” I mentioned is a fabric that has a repeated medallion or motif that is only 3.5″ across. It’s the little circular design in the very center, and toward the 4 corners.

          Thanks again.

  2. Nann

    I think it’s a very pleasing design in comfortable colors, very much like a tile floor. If I had made it I would have used pieced blocks rather than large setting triangles, but that’s because I like busy, “noisy” quilts. Thanks once again for sharing your design decisions.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I like the idea of pieced blocks, rather than setting it on point. (Is that what you meant?) If I hadn’t been trying to mimic the earlier quilt, I may well have done it that way. And in fact, if I’d pieced more around the outside, like a block border before the very last border, I might have fixed the proportion/balance problem. Always things to learn!

  3. katechiconi

    It’s bold but orderly and airy. I think its recipient will be very pleased with it, and it’s all too easy to look at something with the advantage of hindsight and say “Oh, I should have done this or that differently”. Medallion quilts are evolutionary and grow out of what is already there. You do not have the whole thing ready to look at and make these judgements. I find this quilt beautiful and very successful in the way it harmonises the colours and shapes.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Kate. You don’t what it will look like until it is done, that’s for sure! When I critique my work, I do it to learn. I think of it as a positive exercise and it doesn’t harm my self esteem! Thanks as always.

  4. Rose Huskey

    I love this quilt! It is intricate yet one element flows beautifully into the next. The colors and fabric choices are perfect. Many of the quilters I know, myself included, tend to be critical of their work. I finished a small baby quilt last night and almost decided to remake it because it just didn’t seem “quite right.” Happily, after a quick trip to the washing machine and dryer it somehow morphed into a exactly what I had intended it to be.
    I enjoy your blog so much. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to share your work with your readers.

  5. allisonreidnem

    Melanie, I’ve really enjoyed watching this quilt grow and it still reminds me of a tiled floor in an Edwardian hallway so I’d have to say I see elegance in it! Going along with the hallway floor theme I could imagine some solid wood doors and chunky banister rails with it too – so definitely got the masculine feel! Thank you for giving your critique – it’s very interesting reading such a careful description of a quilt.

  6. KerryCan

    It’s for me, isn’t it?! Good, because I love it! It isn’t? Oh. Well, I still love it! I like that it has a focus at the center and some “blank” space in the corners. I like the center set on point. I like it all!

  7. Gayle Bong

    I like this lots. My first thought on balancing the heavier center was perhaps the sawtooth border should have had more contrast. Could always darken them now with dark quilting thread or paint. But then I am VERY fond of high contrast. I am thinking of doing over some of my less successful quilts from the last 35 years. What a learning experience! maybe I will put some on my blog for comments first. Thanks.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Gayle. The quilt is done — I’m not redoing anything! 🙂 I like the paler sawtooth border as an entry to the darker border stripe, but I understand your point. I am a high-contrast gal, too!

  8. shoreacres

    It’s so funny — I’m not a fan of blue, generally, but I found myself thinking, “You know, a little blue around the edges would have been nice.” What I do think is that those who’ve compared it to a tiled floor, or placed it in a setting with dark wood and grand scale are exactly on target. I very much like it, precisely because of that understated elegance.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      When I got to what was the end, I was, in truth, fed up. There had been enough issues that I rather threw in the towel. Another pieced border that included that blue would have helped the design in a couple of ways. BUT… it’s done! And it’s the right size for the recipient, so I don’t regret it at all. Thanks for taking a look. Always glad to see you.


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