Last week I attended Gwen Marston's 2012 quilt retreat. The theme this year was medallion quilts. I love the look of medallion quilts but I was a bit intimidated by making my own. It is not a style that I'm very comfortable working in.
I was floored by the number of medallion quilts that Gwen had to show in her presentation, given that the quilts in her book, Liberated Medallion Quilts, are currently in a traveling show. She shared many different styles and fabric palettes. She is an amazing quilter and I am grateful that I have been able to attend her retreats.
When packing, I went through my pile of unfinished projects looking for something that I could use for the center of the quilt. I found several applique pieces that I had done about 10-15 years ago. Not knowing really what I was going to do or what might inspire me when I saw Gwen's presentation, I chose three applique pieces and fabrics to go with each of them.
In the end, this purple batik block was the one I worked with while at the retreat. The center applique design was from Elly Sienkiewicz's Baltimore Beauties and Beyond: Studies in Classic Album Quilt Applique, Vol. 1.
I started with the applique and thinking that sawteeth look good on pretty much anything, I added those first. Then I made the star blocks. The size of the finished star blocks dictated the size of the greenish border that came between the sawteeth and the stars. A narrow purple border with green corner stones came next.
At this stage, I decided to set it on point - which doubled the area of the quilt. I added strips of half square triangles and then let the large scale of the the fabric do the work in the rest of the corner. The last round in the medallion is border of the same purple fabric used earlier. I love the way it made the little green corner squares appear to float.
I am thrilled with the results of the medallion building workshop. Maybe some day I'll make medallion quilts from those other long forgotten applique pieces. I am inspired to try different techniques and border styles. As always after retreat, my head is spinning with ideas.
It was lovely to spend a few days relaxing and sewing at the retreat.