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Friday, March 18, 2016

Epic Anna Maria Horner Medallion: A Finished Quilt (At Long Last)


Finishing a special quilt that's been in progress for years is one of the best feelings.  The only other quilt that compares for me is Dresden Rainbow, our wedding quilt! This quilt is the one I infamously placed in time out 2 years ago, so it's especially exciting to see it finished.


I started this medallion quilt in January 2014 in an attempt to use some of my voluminous Anna Maria Horner fabric stash. It's difficult to explain how thrilled I was to see the above photo! It's done, it's really done!!


Here's the original sketch. The medallion is my original design, except for the very middle block (Ribbon Star by Fresh Lemons Quilts) and feathers (Feather Bed Pattern by Anna Maria Horner). The design morphed a lot as I went. I enjoyed making it up as I went and measuring only when I needed to. As you can see, I originally wanted orange peels in the middle (which I completely forgot about until seeing this again today!). Ironically, this was months before I even made my first orange peel quilt.


I realize now, looking back, I let pretty fabric do the talking as I went on (more so than a complicated design and/or tiny piecing). Color was the main focus. You're probably noticing that I didn't just use AMH fabric throughout; I focused on fabric I loved that would make a statement. Medallion quilts, to me, are all about contrast between each border.


With a picture this size, you can see the contrast and the rainbow pattern even more! I'm glad my friend Jess (@jtlevitt) convinced me to add a 1 inch white border before the plus blocks - it really pops!


On the last border, I quilted the wonky piano keys differently: the warm colors have wonky matchstick straight lines, and the cool colors have a braided motif. This helped break up the monotony of quilting straight lines the whole way! And of course, orange peels for the x plus blocks. Because orange peels are my favorite!

I documented the rest of the quilting on this blog post and on Instagram (#epicmedallionjs). It was a monumental effort to free motion quilt this on my home machine, but it got easier on each border further from the center. My arms felt like jelly! I'm used to quilting large quilts on my domestic machine but I knew from the beginning that this one, a queen sized quilt with a large overhang, was going to be a challenge. 


I posted this picture before but it's worth posting again. At least quilting "the beast" kept me occupied while many of my sewing friends were at QuiltCon in Pasadena!



One of my favorite little details: quilting echoed flying geese in that very first border around the ribbon star.


I used various shades of Aurifil 50 weight thread throughout the quilt, including my favorite #2600 (Dove gray), #2605 (Gray), and #2024 (White). I changed it up depending the border; very saturated borders often got quilted in dark gray, while lighter borders received dove gray or white. Sometimes I like to be a rebel (because apparently you're *supposed* to match threads) and quilt light thread on dark fabric. I want all my hard work to show, and I'm not afraid! :)

 Quiltnado and lots of different thread colors.



Originally, I planned on binding the quilt with a dark frame (like a solid teal, black, or dark gray). I'm thrilled that I went with this heart print by Anna Maria because now the last border, the wonky piano keys, act like a frame instead (since the print doesn't overwhelm). Thanks to Liz (@beadqueene) for helping so much with this very important decision!


I backed the quilt in flannel because the most comfy quilt I've ever made, my husband's Doctor Who quilt, was backed similarly. Easy decision. And, in case you are wondering, it's NOT more difficult to free motion quilt with flannel backing on your domestic machine. Make sure you prewash and then go for it! One more thing: most of the backing is the Echinacea print in Boost from Anna Maria. It's one of my favorite prints of hers (maybe my favorite ever), and other colorways of the echinacea snuck their way into the piano keys. :)

Outtakes:


It's finally on our bed! Mike was more than thrilled that this quilt would actually cover all of it and more. Apparently I'm a cover hog, so there you go. :)


This photoshoot required three people (two people to hold the quilt, because MAN is it heavy, between the size, flannel, and all the quilting!). My dad couldn't resist being his silly self and Mike apparently couldn't resist snapping this pic. When I saw it in the group of photos, I knew you guys would enjoy seeing it. :) You've seen his antics before, after all. There's another great photo from this day and another quilt, but I'll save that for another day. :)


So, overall, you should go make THAT epic quilt. Yes, that one, with your prized fabric collection. Because IT WILL BE EPIC and you will enjoy it forever!

Read more about this quilt:


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28 comments:

  1. Does Mike realize that a quilt finish just means that you're on to the next one? ha ha. Love the variety of your FMQing.

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  2. Gorgeous!!1 Congratulations on your finish!!!! Well Done!!!! :)

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    1. Thank you, Allison! Thanks for celebrating with me. :D

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  3. This is gorgeus quilt, Jess! I love the colour burst and design with lots of details! Beautiful fabrics, too! x Teje

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  4. This is stunning, Jess. Hooray for having it finished, and on your bed!!! <3 It really just glows, and I agree that the small white border really helps break up the borders and allow the eye to see more of the design. There is so much goodness in the quilt, and I am so excited for you to have it all done. :)

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  5. Absolutely stunning!!!! the piano keys rainbow arrangement really draws your eye through the whole quilt. I also love the orange peel quilting on the plus blocks (it kinda makes them look like ghost x-plus blocks). Congrats friend, this is truly amazing.

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  6. Beautiful quilt and congratulations on finishing it! I completely agree with you--don't just hoard your favorite fabrics, use them in something that you'll see and enjoy every day!

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  7. Amazing, Jess! It is so bright and cheerful looking, and I would imagine brings a lot of joy as you look at all those favourite fabrics. I'm working on a quilt for our bed now, with the plan that it will have a big overhang too.

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  8. Great! Do you stitch in the ditch around each border before quilting? I have an AMH quilt top made but as I am planning to hand quilt it, i am waiting until my current hand quilting project is done.

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  9. This is so beautiful. I love all the colors!

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  10. Huzzah!!!! It looks GREAT Jess!! So excited for you that it's finished and can now be cuddled. Soon, I hope to be able to get back to one of my just for fun quilts and finish it. :D

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  11. I love seeing this on your bed because it give such great perspective. I was imagining it as quite a small quilt, but not so. It's stunning, and I bet you are enjoying it.

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  12. gorgeous! finishing that epic quilt is thrilling and fun and the best part of it is you get to keep it and love it. :)

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  13. What a stunning finish! Congratulations. I love Anna Maria Horner fabric.

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  14. Wow, Wow, Wow! What an amazing finish! This is such a happy quilt with such an amazing collection of fabrics. I do love how you outlined each border to make them pop, everything really works. Congratulations!

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  15. Absolutely incredible, well done. Echinacea is also my favourite fabric by her too. x

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  16. How fun to finish a quilt that has so much meaning. I always find it ironic that everyone wants to jump in and share in the festivities when the quilt is finished. And that adds to the meaning and the fun and you end up loving the quilt more and more because it becomes special to the special people in your life. I sort of want to ask my peeps where they were when my arms were falling off, but that would not be nice. Instead, I share my joy and revel in the happiness that the quilt brings me. Yours is lovely and beautiful and colorful...in other words, perfect!

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  17. Absolutely incredible! I love that you planned and then created as you went. Perfection. Thanks for linking up with TGIFF @ A Quarter Inch from the Edge!

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  18. Congratulations! It is a beautiful, dramatic finish! It is wonderful to finish a quilt but particularly special when it is something epic like this one! Flannel on the back...genius!

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  19. Absolutely, stunningly you! What an amazing job you've done with those beautiful fabrics. I smile just looking at the pics, you must be grinning from ear to ear with the actual quilt in your hands! You always inspire me to greater things. Thanks, Jess!

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  20. This is an amazing "beast" and one you can be so proud of! The colors, the fabrics, the design...all of it is just breath-taking! Rebels rule, so keep breaking the rules!

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  21. This quilt turned out so fabulous! When it comes to medallion quilts I'm all about the thin borders between the big borders, it gives everything a little space to breath and shine (rather than run into each other)--and you definitely demonstrated that with this quilt with your thin borders! But I do respectfully disagree about the flannel backing being harder to quilt--I definitely notice a difference when FMQ and avoid using flannel for backing because of it! Also the flannel I've used isn't all that much nicer than a decent cotton, so even more so not worth the extra effort. I'm not sure how we have almost identical FMQ setups yet very differing experiences in flannel, but there you go. So what size did this quilt end up being? It looks amazing on your bed, and it just glows in all of the pictures! I bet it is like a shining jewel in your bedroom.

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  22. WOW, your medallion is a beauty! I am currently working on my first ever medallion quilt as a gift. It is completely improvisational - no diagram. I am just figuring out elements I want to incorporate and the thing is growing very haphazardly. I hope I'll like it when it's done! I love all of your fabric and color choices - just my style!

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  23. Epic is a perfect word to describe this quilt! You can never go wrong with AMH in the first place. I love the small detail in the quilting and the blocks. So impressed you FMQ this on a domestic machine. I bet your shoulders are happy its over! I may have to get my 'epic' on one day!!

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  24. Epic is a perfect word to describe this quilt! You can never go wrong with AMH in the first place. I love the small detail in the quilting and the blocks. So impressed you FMQ this on a domestic machine. I bet your shoulders are happy its over! I may have to get my 'epic' on one day!!

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