What is a quilt for?
To me a quilt is for keeping warm, sleeping or snuggling under and making tents or superhero capes. It is to be used and loved and washed. This is what I make my quilts for and when I gift them it is how I want them used. Even my quilts that have won ribbons are on the beds for children and occasionally dogs to lie on. They are used every day. Why then am I hung up on perfection? Does a cut off point or wobbly stitch or varying stitch length stop it achieving the above purposes - NO! Of course not.
A few months back Crystal at Two Little Aussie Birds
was asking for pattern testers for her patternModern Medallion
. I was intrigued and so volunteered. I am so grateful Crystal asked me be a tester as I love this quilt and it has changed my approach to making quilts. Thank you Crystal, I seriously love this quilt. I had fun learning to embrace my inner wonkiness, and was reassuringly surprised how hard it was to be deliberately wonky. I learnt to love the 'curves and edges and perfect imperfections' which, incidentally is what my version of the quilt is called.
I am very proud to say I made this quilt entirely from my stash, mostly my DS fabrics from Spotlight bought on sale a few years ago. I love Denyse Schmidt fabrics as I think she does the vintage look so well. I knew I had to use cotton batting so that once the quilt was washed and dried, it would be shrink a little and look old and loved and crinkly.
I have loved all the different version I have seen on Instagram (use the hashtag #modernmedallion to check them out). They all look so different. There is a Facebook group
and a blog hop quilt-a-long
- got to love a bit of moral support when making a quilt, especially if some techniques are new. For my version I thought I’d use a lot of colours, and while at first I thought it as it was a bit too busy, now I think the cool tones of the blues and green seem to tone it down. I am glad I didn't over think it and just went with my gut (probably should apply that theory in other aspects of my life). Who knew I could love pink and yellow?
I have enjoyed reading about and seeing pictures of how bloggers whose work I admire have approached the various borders of this quilt. I thought I would share how I quilted it.
I made some rules beforehand (rules to increase the fun).
1. No ripping out stitches
2. No marking
3. To use fabric and piecing for inspiration
4. To have fun and not over think it
I haven’t quilted a medallion quilt before but have been looking forward to this part since I first starting making this quilt. I was inspired by Angela Walters, both in quilting style and in approach – fun and not aiming for perfection. Which to me is the lesson I learnt from this quilt right from the start. I don't mean I was careless just that I aimed for something and what I did was good enough. There was times my thread build up and wobbly lines bothered me but I persevered and don't even remember now which bits it was that caused me to doubt my skills.
I used my walking foot to stitch in the ditch of each round and then had fun! For the centre (New York Beauty Contest) I used the fabric print of each quadrant to inspire the quilting – some grid patterns (straight line and orange peels) on the plaid fabrics and floral and swirls on the others.
Don't you think having cute names for each border helped make the process even more fun?
Simple and quick loopy loops for the ‘Plain Jane’ and chevrons on the ‘Drunken Geese’ round were fun. ‘Waving not drowning’ was my favourite border. I thought the curved line reminded me of the spine of a feather – I originally planned to quilt a feather on both sides but liked the look of one sided feather when it was done and so simply echoed the other sides curved seam line 3 times.
I quilted interlocking squares on the ‘Cross my heart’ border and used my walking foot and a serpentine stitch on the ‘Stuck in the Middle’ border. For ‘Equal Rights’ I echoed the shapes in the coloured triangles and did a loopy design in the low volume parts. Finally back and forth lines and an orange peels pattern in the last border (I was Framed) made me very happy. By sticking to my rules I had fun and it was rather quick. It took only 2 evenings including binding by machine to finish.
Just because I love this quilt so much, here is one more photo.
If you haven't got this pattern, I urge you to check it out
. The pattern has lots of diagrams and is a joy to make. It is also quite a stash-buster. My version isn't perfect but I think it is all the more beautiful for it. I hope you like my 'Perfect Imperfections'. I learnt that aiming for perfection isn't realistic and robs me of much joy when quilting. Ultimately it is the quirky and imperfect that attracts us and I think part of the reason I love this quilt is that I had fun and didn't stress about the process.