Medallion Quilt Rules

Each year my local guild has a new challenge, and I’m excited about this year’s! The current challenge is to create a medallion quilt. Though I won’t enter, I’m looking forward to seeing the entries and hearing from members as they create their pieces.

We just started our guild year this week, and it will close out in July with display and judging of these quilts. To help my fellow members move through the process, and also to help and inspire others who want to make medallions, I’ve decided to republish some of my prior posts. The best place to start is the beginning, right? Below you’ll see the fundamental rules of making a medallion quilt.

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reblog of jmn11’s post: Medallion Quilt – Top Done!

I’m reblogging a post on a wonderful medallion quilt for you to enjoy. Also look at her right-hand margin for links to recent posts, which will show you the progression from start to finish. I’ve loved watching this process and hope you will take a look, too.

jmn

Medallion Quilt Top Complete With Border

I adjusted the final corner within the block so that it was better balanced without affecting the outer dimensions. Then I added the outer border, complete with mitred corners. Quilt still square, Yeah! I’ve intended the quilt to be a lap quilt. However, while the finished size (63″ x 63″) is not a full double/queen size it could certainly be used as a colourful spread to focus attention on a bed.

Now I have to think about the back of the quilt. I have a complementary fabric double width so I could just cut the size I need and be done with it, but before I do that I will go through the scraps and other leftover fabric to see if there is some kind of strip I can cobble together to add interest to the back of the quilt. But that’s for another…

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The Rooster

On Friday I finished a quilt top, with which I’m really pleased. When I started it, I didn’t know much about it. I didn’t have a plan. Though I drew some (many!) illustrations in my design software, fabric doesn’t look the same as pixels, so the quilt kept evolving as I got more done. Almost every part of it changed while in process.

I like most of my quilts, really, almost all of them. Some delight me in ways I couldn’t expect. This is one. When I feel that way, it’s because the quilt is something I could not have made before this moment. All the things I’ve learned, all that I know, had to get to this moment, so I could make this particular quilt. When you see this quilt (not now, perhaps in a few weeks,) you might not guess that about it. But I will know. I’ll remember. This quilt is special, because I couldn’t have done it before.

~ *** ~

There was a Japanese emperor who hired an artist to paint a rooster for him. The emperor was a patient man, so when the painting was not immediately forthcoming, he was not very concerned. Even so, years went by. How difficult was it to paint a rooster? The artist was benefitting from the patronage of the emperor, living in the palace grounds, eating the food provided, yet he had not produced the painting. After twenty years the emperor’s patience was spent. He went himself to the artist’s rooms to inquire about his painting.

The artist was startled to be visited by the emperor, but he bowed deeply and invited the other man to have a seat. “Please wait here, and I will get your painting.” The artist retreated into his studio. The emperor could hear him, singing softly to himself, puttering around.

After many minutes the emperor could take it no more. He leapt to his feet, as well as a now aging man could, and filled the doorway of the studio with his presence. “Twenty years I’ve waited and still you make me wait! Why should I not execute you now?”

The artist did not react to the threat, but stepped from his easel and said, “I am almost done now. Do you like it?”

The emperor’s temper calmed as he saw before him the perfect rooster. In simple lines it showed the rooster turned to look over its shoulder at him, just as he’d hoped. But then the man noticed dozens, no hundreds of other paintings almost the same, lining every surface of the room. To his eye, they all looked perfect, too.

“Did you just paint the rooster on the easel?” the emperor asked.

“Yes, your Majesty.”

“If you have painted all these other roosters, why do I not have one yet? Why have I waited twenty years for something you could do long ago, something you could do in just a few minutes?”

“Oh, your Majesty, I could not,” said the artist. “It has taken me this long to learn how to paint the perfect rooster. None of those before were good enough to give you.”

[Written from my memory of an old folk tale.]

Dizzy

Recently I’ve shown you a few illustrations drawn in EQ7. (See pictures here and here.) One of them was to become a sample for my upcoming medallion design class, and the others will be used to illustrate various ideas for the students. Here is one of two that I started with.

Consensus in comments was that the design was too busy and didn’t look maker-friendly. I simplified it by removing the piecing from the spacer blocks — see the connecting blocks between stars in the final border and between pinwheels in the middle border. I also changed two of the patterned borders to plain white.

I liked the simplified version, so I made it.

Dizzy. 60″ x 60″. September 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Even if I design a quilt prior to making, it almost always gets changed in the translation. Fabric simply doesn’t look the same as pixels. On this one, I found that the density of color and pattern in the center (visual weight) was too much as compared to the middle and outer borders. It was unbalanced. To fix the balance, I replaced the white in the illustration’s outer narrow border with green. As soon as I did that, I was happier with it. The binding of the strong blue adds punctuation.

I quilted it with a double teardrop design. The quilting is pretty dense, making the quilt less cuddly and soft than I prefer, but I like this look. The second photo is of the underside while it was still on the frame. 

The quilt is named “Dizzy.” Between the spinning pinwheels and all the stars, as well as its overall brightness, it reminded me of the lightheaded feeling of standing up too quickly. “Dizzy” sounds better than “Lightheaded” though. 🙂

Just to round things out, here is “Dizzy” by Tommy Roe.

Sending Quilts to Texas?

The hurricane disaster in Texas may displace people from more than 100,000 homes for at least several weeks. They need housing, food, water, and some way to replace all the goods lost to water damage, or simply washed or blown away. Should you send replacement items? Should you send quilts?

It’s tempting, isn’t it? A quilt is a tangible item to show your concern, to offer both comfort and warmth. I’ve already seen a number of requests for quilts for Texans. I’ve also seen one of those requests in a Facebook group called a fraud, and deleted after the group moderator couldn’t affirm its legitimacy.

In the past I’ve made quilts to give post-disaster. But unless a disaster is local, I won’t do it again. Why not? Very simply, if a community is facing the scale of tragedy that Houston and other Texas cities are facing, figuring out how to deal with unsolicited stuff creates more trouble than the stuff is worth. As Abby Glassenberg says in her post from 2013,

The truth is, though, that direct donations of goods, especially in the wake of a disaster, can truly cause more harm than good. Boxes and bags of blankets and clothes and stuffed animals pile up on the floors of warehouses, waiting to be inspected, sorted and distributed. The flood of donations commonly creates a second crisis of sorts.

Read Abby’s whole post for more information and some good advice.

NPR.org also covered this topic in 2013. Did you ever see photos of all the donations of teddy bears and other comfort gifts after the Sandy Hook killings? Did you know that many donations sent to Haiti ended up in waste piles on the beach, some of which are still there?

The urge to give is strong. In Texas, however, they may need things like toiletries, school supplies, and clean water more than quilts. Whatever they need, it’s probably better to donate cash, unless you live in Texas or nearby and have connections that will directly serve those affected.

If you still want to give things, consider making those donations to organizations in your own locale. My quilt guild gives between 100 and 200 quilts a year, as well as other items like bibs, burp cloths, pillow cases, and placemats. Almost all those donations are distributed within our county. We know what organizations need, because we work with them on a continuing basis. When their needs change, they tell us.

And there are a number of national (and international) organizations that distribute quilts, as well. Two of them are Project Linus and Quilts of Valor, but there are many others. (I am not endorsing either of these, or any others, as I don’t know enough about them to do so. Please do your own research to decide where you’d like to contribute your time, money, and efforts.)

Quilters are very generous. Our impulse is to give, and to give something with love and concern stitched in. Please do. But give quilts locally and to well-respected, continuing organizations that are structured to distribute quilts. Otherwise, financial contributions are generally more helpful.