Medallion Design Basics Presentation and Trunk Show

A week ago I had the pleasure of presenting to the DeKalb County Quilters’ Guild in Sycamore, IL. My topic was medallion design basics, including examples of design concepts such as unity, balance, movement, and value. I also discussed the components of the medallion format, including the center block, the first borders, intermediate borders, and last borders. Each has a role to play in creating a cohesive design.

Besides the slide show, I brought 11 quilts with me. I asked the guild members to notice a few things generally. In particular, few of my center blocks are very spectacular themselves, though generally they are bold in their sizing and values. Most of my blocks are pretty simple, variations on Ohio Stars or churndashes or the like. None are elaborate Mariner’s compass blocks, or intricately appliqued designs. Those are wonderful centers for medallions, but you don’t need fancy to achieve a great quilt.

What do you need? You need something interesting to look at. The center block is the natural focal point. The borders around the center direct the eye to and from it with differences and similarities in shape, color, and value. Repetition of shapes, especially when varying sizes, creates interest. Repeated similar colors or patterns, with some variations, make us seek out just what the differences are. Diagonal lines are effective in giving a sense of movement, and half-square triangles are an easy way to provide that motion. Variations are as important as repetitions. Too much of one leads to chaos; too much of the other leads to boredom. As with all else, balance is key.

Jim joined me at the meeting, helping to set up and tear down. He also took the following photos.

quilts on racks

Before we began, three of my quilts hung.


Three quilts from my Medallion Sew Along, with good examples of balance, value, color, and shape.

beginning the talk

Great audience of 75 or 80. They use a church hall for meetings.

my medallion

Me pointing out one of my un-spectacular center blocks. Not fancy but it works well!

In addition, Doris Rice, a member of DCQG, allowed me to share her photos. Her complete blog post can be found here. Thank you, Doris! So lovely to meet you.

Flip side

The Flip Side. They also like the back.

Garden Party

Garden Party

Stained Glass Too

Stained Glass Too. Another un-spectacular center, gussied up.

wide view

Quite a contrast in styles.

I enjoyed meeting the guild and sharing my quilts with them. If your guild is interested in a session on medallion quilts, give me a holler.

19 thoughts on “Medallion Design Basics Presentation and Trunk Show

  1. dorisquiltingqueen

    Loved your presentation and am now on a “medallion mission”. Be watching my blog, especially during the Halloween Haunts Blog Hop later this month. Thanks for the shout-out in your blog post. Hope to see you again sometime in the future.

  2. snarkyquilter

    Besides the pleasure of seeing your quilts en masse, I was impressed at how well your helpers held up the quilts. They stood completely still for the photos. Usually when I try to photograph such quilts they are flapping and all I have are blurred pics. And I really enjoyed seeing Garden Party again, my favorite.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Didn’t they do a great job? The young ladies are TWINS! So they were just the same height and able to hold them at the same level.

      Garden Party is going away. 😦 Before I boxed it Wednesday I told Jim to come look at it one last time. I will miss it.

  3. TextileRanger

    Wow! Your quilts certainly brought life to that standard meeting room! It is so interesting to see them all together – in comparing and contrasting I notice new details.

      1. Thread crazy

        All your quilts are something to be very proud of….gorgeous. Most of my quilts go “out the door” to family or friends, but I’m hoping I can make a couple to keep myself one of these days here soon.


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