Friday, February 5, 2016

mystery medallion 2016

The Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild is sponsoring a new challenge this year - a Mystery Medallion program where we each create a quilt center block of any size to start and add a border each month for the next five months. The fun (or challenging) part is that no one knows what the requirements for each of the five borders will be; they are revealed month by month. So no planning or scheming ahead of time - just jump in and make it work each month!

My quilt center is an English Paper Pieced (EPP) star on a background of "made fabric" (a bunch of low volume scraps sewn together), and it measures 22.5" square.  The star is machine appliqued to the background with a short straight stitch around the outside edge.

The background fabrics were left over from blocks I made for a quilt shop sample in 2014; it hung there as a sample for quilt kits they were selling, and after that I'm not sure where it ended up. The "plus" blocks were made from a pattern found here.  I really did love it, so one day soon I'll have to make another and keep it for myself (adds yet another project to the much too long already project list.)

The hexagons in my quilt center were made even before 2014 when I was first learning how to EPP one spring break vacation in Florida. I was never sure what to do with them, and at one point they were sewn together in rows. Maybe I was planning to put them on some pillows? Who knows!

But sometime last year I saw a photo of a star made from hexagons so I took the rows apart, and sewed them into the large star shape composed of 73 hexagons. So the star and the background piece have been hanging around on the design wall for quite some time just waiting to be used in a project.

The whole point of a Mystery Medallion Challenge is to let go of control and practice your design and color skills each month when the new border requirements are revealed. At our meeting last weekend we learned that January's border must include snowball blocks and use the color red violet.

RED VIOLET?! Sweet - one of my favorite colors, and I happen to have lots of it in my stash.  I gathered a few fat quarters that were primarily red violet, tossed in a couple more that were primarily yellow (but still contained pink/violet), added a stack of more low volume scraps, and started cutting.

Since my center square measured 22.5" I needed to add a "spacer" border to increase the size to 24.5" in order to accommodate the 4" snowball blocks I planned.  This Peppered Cotton in Fog by Studio E has just enough contrast to set it apart from the backgrounds, but it doesn't overwhelm and grab all the attention.  It was cut at 1.5" width to finish at 1".

The 28 snowball blocks are each 4" finished, so now the quilt center measures 32.5".  I cut each center of the snowballs at 4.5" square and each corner background fabric at 1.75" square.  You can find a handy tutorial for making snowball blocks here.  Mine look more like stop signs (I probably should have made the corner pieces smaller) but whatever - I love how it's turned out!

Even if you aren't a member of CLMQG, you can follow along and make your own Mystery Medallion quilt.  Each month the new border requirements will be posted on our website, and photos of members' progress can be found on our Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice so far! I like how the hexagon shapes and snowball shapes mimic each other. And the colors are wonderful! This is such a good idea for group challenge. Is there just one person in charge of the challenge, so only she knows what's coming up? Did she make this up herself, or choose blocks/colors based on a "system?"


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