Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Museum Medallion

After 4+ months of work, 82 hours of hands-on quilt making (and only 16 hours of that was spent quilting it) I am finally done with my (commissioned) Museum Medallion quilt!!!

Finished Museum Medallion quilt.

It was commissioned for a wedding gift, and I worked with the bride and groom on picking a quilt pattern, colors and fabrics.  It is far from my normal quilting palette, but it turned out so gorgeous.  I hope they love it.

Museum Medallion center.

I had never heard of or seen this pattern before, so the whole experience was very new to me of ordering an international pattern (I bought it from Alewives Fabrics in the states), translating a hand piecing pattern to machine piecing, and the many, many places I had to fudge what to do as the pattern is very slim on instructions, measurements, and general helpfulness.   This pattern is not for the faint of heart!

Museum Medallion detail.  The flying geese aren't in the pattern (it calls for a second row of diamonds).

The pattern is lacking (including all online content I could find), at best, and I would only recommend it for people who like a challenge and are already experienced with y-seams, curved piecing, fixing templates, fixing wobbly borders, precise piecing and pressing, and extensive quilt math (despite the pattern you will still need to figure the right size of blocks for each border, as she doesnt' include that, and you will inevitably need a different size than is given anyway).  See why the piecing alone took 63 hours?!  Never.again.  But for those not deterred, stick around because I am giving away my copy of the pattern and the templates I used in an upcoming blog post!

Drunkard's Path circles and lemoyne star corner stone.

But despite all the setbacks and frustrations due to the pattern, it turned out fabulous, and beautifully flat (but only after hours spent making sure it would be!).  Some of my favorite details are the ones I added--the cornerstones, the quilting, the flying geese.

Large border detail--French Wallpaper in Spruce, by Amy Butler.  Love the quilting on it!

The quilt top finished at 95.5" square.  After quilting it was 93.25", and after the first wash it shrank down to 86.75" square.  I'm always surprised by the amazing shrinkage a quilt goes through in the quilting and first wash, but do plan ahead for it!

Museum Medallion back, which is mostly Arabesque Buds in Ivory by Pat Bravo.

I had planned a simple back using some wide backing, but really wasn't drawn to any of the options I looked at (would have loved a solid--does anyone know where to buy quality wide backing solids?!), but then I got the idea to incorporate a double wedding ring (I used this free pattern), and decided to just piece the whole thing.  You may notice the double wedding ring type quilting in the Arabesque Buds border on the front of the quilt too--I promised to incorporate it in the quilt.

Back detail.  I love how the circular quilting from the front medallion is linked with both of these.  Totally happened by accident, I actually intended for the rings to be further down on the quilt.

I pieced and quilted it using only Aurifil in #2000 and #2310.  I used nearly 2 large spools for quilting, and another large spool just on piecing!  My sewing machine adores Aurifil, and by that I mean it very rarely has any issues with it, even during my crazy free motion quilting!  

Drunkard's Path circle quilting (before the wash, as I neglected to get a photo of them after the wash).

Back detail of the Drunkard's Path circles.  They remind me of portholes.

Quilt back, quilting detail.

Quilting texture.  On the last wide border I followed the design on the fabric (French Wallpaper in Spruce, by Amy Butler).

I laid the quilt over my bed to see how it would fall:

Museum Medallion laying on a queen sized bed.

Since it is a square quilt the drop at the foot of the bed is pretty small.  Hopefully it keeps their feet warm, haha.

Side view of the Museum Medallion laying on a queen sized bed.

I delivered it on Saturday to the parents of the groom (they were the ones that commissioned it) and their reactions were so touching!  Lots of words of praise and adoration, some tears, and the best: "holy shit!"  Haha, still makes me happy.  Can't wait for them to gift it and hear how the newlyweds like it!

Quilt labels.


  1. Wow - holy shit is about right. So much work and it's gorgeous! Congratulations

  2. I looks gorgeous! Sounds like making it was a headache but the end result was worth it.

  3. Holy shit definitely sums that up! It's stunning! You deserve a medal for getting through that 'pattern' though. You've totally quilt levelled up now and got a new super power!

  4. Holy amazeballs, Renee, this. Is .freaking. Awesome!! I know it was a super pain in the you-know-what as a pattern, but your hard work shows and this is a feast for the eyes, and I am guessing it will be aOh, I'll be at the Moda party @playcrafts I kind of hatched this idea to show up as my quilting alter-ego, so I'll be in a bright blue fliflightflu flight suit (a la fighter jet pilot) joy for them to snuggle under, too!

  5. Wow. Wow wow wow wow. That quilting really just pops right off the quilt! All that hard work was worth it! Now you deserve a weekend away! :)

  6. An amazing amount of work that went into this quilt, and it was all worth it - it is beautiful :) I think the bride and groom will be very happy.

  7. Gorgeous! Truly a treasure, thanks for sharing!

  8. Oh my goodness, what a work of art - to be used, loved and treasured. I absolutely adore the colours, the quilting and the patience you had for it all. Well done.

  9. Renee, that is all kinds of awesome!! Congrats on such an amazing quilt and for soldiering through and not giving up! Holy shit indeed!! :) I don't know that I would have been able to let it go after putting that much work into it! Or maybe I would have just wanted it out of my sight forever LOL

  10. what a wonderful wedding quilt. I love everything about it, the pattern, the colors and especially the quilting. The rings on the back just push it over the top!

  11. The Museum Medallion quilt has turned out beautifully, I really love the flying geese border and spinning wheel corner blocks. As someone who is hand piecing it I can appreciate the extra work you have put into making it. I do agree that the pattern is quite light on instructions, I would have liked finished block sizes too, as it would make it easier to check borders for accuracy. From the your photo of the quilt on the bed I can see that this is going to be one huge quilt.

  12. Fabulous, again :-)
    Holy Shit ~ I love it!! Such a perfect, completely honest response :-) (I'm sure it was said in a much different tone than the "Holy Shit" we got from my mother-in-law when we announced the pregnancy of our 3rd child. Which, incidentally followed a miscarriage, so should not have been any sort of surprise ;-)
    82 hours?! How do you charge for such work? (and do you find that you enjoy commissioned sewing (poor pattern aside) less than your other sewing?)

  13. It may have been a pain to piece, Renee, but it turned out so beautifully! Everything about it is gorgeous!

  14. Yup. Holy shit! I am impressed too. This is not a quilt for the faint-hearted, and you have done a beautiful job.

  15. Ummm, gorgeous!!! Seriously what an extraordinary amount of work - and it turned out so pretty too!!! (FQS sells Bella Solids in 108" but I think there's only 4 colors to choose from) Good thing to keep in mind about the quilt shrinkage too. :)