Saturday, 14 April 2018

floral medallion, an adventure in improv

While unpacking my quilting books recently, I came across "Liberated Quiltmaking II" by Gwen Marston and I was once again captivated with Gwen's free-form, innovative approach, especially with her liberated medallions. Further improv posts recently by Ann from fretnotyourself and Kaja from sewslowly have inspired me (again) to try a bit of improv.

This idea of a floral medallion quilt has been simmering away in my mind and down on the 'desigh floor' for a while now. 

Fabric selection started with using my stash. I chose a lovely 18" floral outbackwife fabric  for my centre. And then I've been slowly planning one border at a time.
The first border was an easy decision for me. I had two pieces of fabric in my stash, and while years apart, I felt they worked well to bring out the colours in my centre section. I've used a small print "Christine" a recent Outback Wife fabric and an older fabric, 'Dashing Roses' from Art Gallery.

Next up, from the 'spare parts' basket, a crazy pieced border
made up of quirky vintage fabrics, ginghams and modern prints.

Then things got a bit tricky. I don't know about you, but I can't seem to be able to sew a bit and then work out the next bit as I go. I like to have an overall idea of where I'm heading before I sew anything, so I lay everything out first on the 'design floor'.
Plans do have a way of changing. And, to be honest, these borders have changed many times over the past week, thank goodness I didn't actually cut & sew anything together - improv is certainly not as easy as it looks {sigh}.

I audtioned several fabrics for the third border, but most seemed to me to swamp the centre floral piece. At the moment I'm thinking of using a variety of yellow fabrics, to help draw out those warm golds in the centre. They will all be in different lengths as I don't have enough of anything to go all the way around, the main one here is Bari J. Ackerman, Sage, Yuma Lemons in Mist . . .

Some of my strips of fabric ran short so I added a few wonky corner flying geese and extra fabric. I also want my borders to all be different widths and I'm really excited about adding some 'kantha' style quilting to the centre floral square, but that's a little way off yet.

. . . and then another border of an oldish Anna Maria Horner fabric from the stash basket,
something a bit crazy different, maybe

I haven't yet figured out what happens after the fourth border, I keep telling myself evaluation & consideration are all part of the process. After several changes & some discussion with my "personal colour consultant" (aka my daughter), I think I can now safely say I'll be stitching this up soonish . . . it's either that, or I continue to walk around it for a few more days/weeks!

Linking up with Myra from 'finished or not Friday' here at busyhandsquilts     
- I'd love to hear about your experiences with improv too


  1. It looks lovely together. I have tried improv style once but found it very difficult.

  2. I like the idea of a floral medallion a lot. My favourite bit of this is the little flying geese section and the way there is a tiny bit of the same fabric on the left hand side, at the top of the lemons. I love that sort of repetition. I would have caved in and sewed some bits together by now, but patience is not my strong suit!

    1. Thanks for the +ve encouragement Kaja. It’s been quite tricky actually, lots of 2nd guessing myself. I’m planning on sewing it up today sometime. I think I’ll need a calmer border next, no idea what though!

  3. Love the bold choices of fabric and the utilitarian look to your medallion. The florals are fabulous here and I love those flying geese units at the bottom right!

  4. JUST KEEP GOING!!! This is absolutely wonderful - you're doing Gwen's legacy proud.

  5. You're really zooming ahead with the Medallion quilt. Love your idea of extending the border with the Flying Geese section.

  6. I think sometimes we "over think" things too much. Just "going with the flow" can be very liberating and surprising. Well done.

  7. I absolutely love it so far. Every border, I went ‘yes!’ as you showed and explained it.

  8. This looks like fun. I think you have been very successful so far.

  9. I love,love this! Very inspiring!!

  10. I read somewhere once that every quilt should have some yellow. I like a bit of black, you have nailed both. It's a striking fabric.

  11. This is beautiful Linda and to me it doesn't need another border, I think your last one hold everything together wonderfully.

  12. I enjoyed reading this post very much. I love hearing about quilter's process in choosing what they do. Gwen has a fabulous philosophy doesn't she. And this piece is really coming together beautifully.

  13. Your 'outback wife' floral medallion is gorgeous. I love what you've done with the borders too.
    Very nice.

  14. Such a fun quilt! Looking forward to seeing what you add next.


Thanks so much for leaving me a comment. I love to hear your thoughts. Happy sewing!