Monday, August 3, 2015

Modern Medallion Attempt


July 31st was the deadline for submitting Riley Blake fabric challenge projects for the Modern Quilt Guild.  Due to some extenuating circumstances (many of you know my father died in June) I didn’t get officially started until about three weeks ago.  I had just bought a copy of the awesome new book The Modern Medallion Workbook by Janice Zeller Ryan and Beth Vassalo and the idea to make a medallion style quilt appealed to me.  My favorite quilt in the book is the June quilt, so I kept the book open to that page just as inspiration for my own creation while working on my design.  I also remembered seeing some medallions made by Gwen Marston so I pulled out one of her books to use as inspiration (which is where I got the idea for the black and white striped frame).


Usually these contests provide fat eighths of a select range in the collection, so I added a layer cake to the fabric to give myself more options, and more large floral motifs to use in the design.  Bea (my oldest) made almost all the yo-yos for this quilt.  After showing her how to do it, she was on a roll and even taught her friend how to make them too. 


The yo-yos are my favorite part of the quilt.  Making a “modern” quilt using yo-yos and rick-rack seemed almost an impossible feat, but I think the medallion is “modernish” for certain.  The limited colors, improv nature of the design process and the “made” fabric in two sections, and the feeling of negative space from a distance all add up to a quilt my grandmother inspired, but probably wouldn’t have made herself.


Even the buttons are stark, just black and white (and a few gray and white), but they are playful too.  The gathered ribbon ric-rac is one of my favorite Riley Blake products.  I’ve used it numerous times on dresses for Veronica but never on a quilt before.  It was simple to sew down (I just used my machine, versus hand-tacking all the yo-yos).  It comes in red and aqua, and is available at  Donna’s Lavender Nest.


The back of the quilt absorbed some of the design elements I wasn’t able to use on the front.  Originally I planned to make a “stepping stone” round in the medallion, but it never felt right because it closed in the open space of the entire medallion.  So a few of those pavers along with a hibiscus with black and white leaves bring some beauty to the back.


The garden at my home looks pretty messy this season.  I haven’t had a lot of time with the baby to spend outside working in it.  Luckily the veggies we planted in April right before she was born are doing just fine without too much human intervention.  But I wish I could say the space looked more neat and orderly.  So for photos we took the quilt to the only place I could think of with a “cottage garden.”


Can you spot the bumblebee moth in the petunias?  The entire time we were taking photos, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even dragonflies were buzzing all over the garden.  After I finished photographing the quilt, Bea took the camera and captured images of some six-legged friends.


This bumblebee moth kept us company the entire time, buzzing from one petunia to another.  It’s such a rare treat to see one.  We’ve seen one at our house this summer too (visiting nearly the exact kind of petunia no less!).


This buckeye was one of about twenty flitting about.   Its wings have seen better days.


I’ll take my butterflies plain or fancy.  I think this is a cabbage white butterfly. 


The final quilt measures 50” x 50” and is made with fabrics from Cottage Garden by The Quilted Fish (Amanda Herring), Riley Blake Le Crème basics, and Riley Blake Vintage White solid.



  1. No I see your close-ups, the Rachaeldaisy inspiration is much more obvious! Love the yo-yos, love the black and white stripes and love the aqua! This is a very fun quilt Jamie!

  2. I didn't know about your father - my deepest condolences Jamie. I really like the quilt - it's fun, it's modern, it's cute! I think you did a really good job with the design.

  3. Great design. This is a beautiful and fun quilt. So nice to have a helper who can make the yo-yos for you.

    I am sorry for your loss. Hope you and your family have peace and comfort soon.

  4. Wonderfull quilt Jamie! I'm so excited about it! You combined so many different elements with great results.

  5. It's a beautiful quilt, Jamie! I'm so sorry about your dad. I had not heard about him. Hugs.

  6. really wonderful quilt Jamie - so love the black and white and the ricrac and yo-yos are such fun !

  7. I love every thing about this quilt!! And I think yoyos and ric rac can be used in modern quilts :0.
    Sending you and your family my condolences on the loss of your father.

  8. Jamie your quilt is absolutely gorgeous. I am sew in love with it you did a wonderful job.


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