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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.
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. :)
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: