Class Quilts

My medallion class began last week! In class I help lead participants through the process of designing their own medallion quilts. And while they create, I do, too.

In the few weeks we have together, while each of them is making one quilt, I design and construct two. I start with very different centers and color schemes in order to demonstrate a variety of strategies.

The first one I began has a center block that features flying geese circling a star. The block design came from theΒ Big Book of Scrap Quilts, published by Oxmoor House in 2005. The quilt pattern is called “Dizzy Geese,” designed by Joan Streck. Dizzy Geese is a block quilt, with a 17″ block made with templates.

I re-drew the block to 16″ and paper-pieced it.

Though I’ve made quilts in reds and greens before, I haven’t made one I’ve thought of as a Christmas quilt. This one will have that intention, but I’d still like to keep it lighthearted. I’ll minimize the holiday-focused prints, but refer to the occasion through shaping. For instance, the circling flying geese give the impression of a wreath.

With the intricate center, I wanted a simple first border, but one that would extend the range of color. Because the star points are a forest green print, I chose a citrus green for the border. The corner blocks add to the gold, found in the center’s green print and in its background fabric.

The second border was fun and easy to make. Take a look. The corners are just half-square triangles. The side blocks are each made of three pieces and all the blocks are same. Their orientation gives the look of a twisting ribbon as they circle the top.

And the third border is a plaid with dark green, dusky gold, and burgundy, with bright gold corners. I don’t love the dark plaid, for various reasons. But I think it will serve its purpose as the design develops. It’s easy to get hung up on individual elements, such as the color or shapes or value of a particular border. Just as you don’t have to love a particular block to have it work well in a block quilt, you don’t have to love a particular border in a medallion quilt. Every border changes every border, and it’s the final effect that counts.

I have tentative plans for the next borders, but won’t work on this more until next week.

The second quilt begins with a bear’s paw block in the center. I’m less certain of the direction for this one. I really like the center block, with its beautiful Julie Paschkis print in the large sections. And I love the batik that surrounds the block. I am not absolutely sure they work together. However, some patience is in order as I let the process play out. (Trust the process.)

Though I rarely work on two quilts in the same stage at the same time, the chaos is kind of exciting, too. We’ll see if I still feel that way in a couple of weeks. πŸ™‚

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17 thoughts on “Class Quilts

  1. TextileRanger

    I love that the center of the top one is that lacy five-petaled flower instead of just a solid red square, and the way all the elements play so well together.
    The bottom one is my favorite — I love batiks and I wouldn’t have thought of using a print like that to blend in with them, but they complement each other so well! I also love that the cream color is a tone-on-tone instead of a plain solid, and the rounded shapes in it echo the rounded shapes in the batik and showcase print both. Gorgeous choices!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you for the feedback on the second one, especially. I love the colors of the batik and the center block together, but wasn’t sure the scale worked well. I’m feeling more comfortable with it now. Also yes on the repeated shapes. Honestly I hadn’t noticed all the circles within the animal print. Funny how other people can catch things that I can miss completely. πŸ™‚

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  2. Tamara Hutchinson

    I’m loving the specific cutting (my daughter won’t let me say fussy cutting) you have done for both. I’m especially loving the second quilt as you have used two of my very favorite fabrics, the Julie Paschkis and the Kaffe in the corners of border # 3. MMMM!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      “Specific” cutting! That’s a new one for me. πŸ™‚ Yes, that Kaffe print in the corners. I’m eager to use the gold-on-black fern part of it, too. I think it will work its way in somewhere else. Thanks for taking a look.

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  3. knitnkwilt

    I love the “paws”; that animal print plus the dark claws is perfect. The batik works to my eye. I’ve always found it amazing how each border changes the overall feel.Have fun.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It’s really true. Sometimes I find I don’t much like a particular border. Often I trust that instinct and change direction. But other times I decide to wait, and that’s almost always the right choice for them. So for both of these projects, my uncertainty probably means: go ahead! πŸ™‚

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  4. tierneycreates

    Oh my goodness I have that book in my collection and I never made a quilt from it! I wish I could be in one of your medallion quilt classes – that would be so cool! Both pieces you posted are lovely and I really like the one starting with the bear paw block (with fussy cut squares) and the batik fabrics!

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  5. KerryCan

    It’s fun to see how different these are and to consider where they’ll go from here. I really like the Dizzy Geese pattern–hadn’t seen that before–and the plaid fabric seems just right to me! Fun!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Kerry. I actually bought the book because of that block. And though I only have a handful of pattern books anymore, I never got rid of it largely because of that block. So glad now that I kept it! I do think the plaid will work, but the print isn’t very distinct and the colors are a bit murky. But the overall effect will be fine, I think.

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  6. katechiconi

    I really love the bear paw block! The colours are gorgeous together, particularly that lovely batik. The other quilt is beautiful too, but this one just does it for me πŸ™‚

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  7. Elizabeth E.

    I always learn so much when I read your blog. I especially like the advice you give us to “trust the process” which is something we are not prone to do in creating our quilts. I’m loving these two quilts, and looking forward to the journey you have begun. Luckily I get to watch!

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  8. snarkyquilter

    As always, your somewhat surprising (but good) fabric choices set your medallions apart from the usual traditional fabric quilts. Right now the first start seems harder edged than the second, but that may change with subsequent rounds. I am drawn to the softness of the second, though the first should make a great seasonal quilt. I’ll stay tuned for the next installments.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you! I think they will stay harder/sharper and softer, based on what I’m envisioning for them. I like both characteristics — they both can serve a purpose. Thanks for your thoughts.

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