This medallion quilt top can be counted as a great success, if I do say so myself. It was created at the behest of a friend who started out years ago intending to make a very ambitious first quilt out of those octagons of Japanese prints. She got as far as adding borders of blue but there she faltered for years, not knowing what to do next. She had taken on more than she was able to do but she wanted to somehow make a quilt out of this jumble.
So she did white Sashiko stitching on nine of the octagons and I appliqued them onto pieces of the blue with white chrysanthemum print. But what then? She thought perhaps sewn together somehow they would work, and I thought that the nine in a square would make the start of an interesting medallion. Agreed. And then she gave me the rest of her octagons, some blue fabric and the bright cherry print plus a Japanese woven print she was eager to use and a little more of the chrysanthemum print to work with, and carte blanche to design a large quilt top.
I designed this as I went along, using graph paper and the limitation of the amount of available fabric which was a bit of a challenge and the reason I'm so proud of how this turned out.
The first thing I did was to trim the chrysanthemum fabric under the Sashiko octagons very carefully and then stitch them together to form my center square. I added a border of the bright cherry print and triangles of blue so that it could be set on point which always adds a lot of interest to medallions, I think. It also adds size which was important. A narrow border of chrysanthemum print was added using scraps I trimmed off. I wanted a repeat of that fabric and it's the sort of print that can be pieced and you can't tell, a quality that came in handy with this project!
My friend wanted me to use the extra octagons if possible and I found a way to use a dozen of them. First I added strips of the blue Japanese woven fabric and then triangles of chrysanthemum print. Many of the triangles had to be pieced and I was really glad that I had made the border out of the scraps because I needed every square inch! I set the octagons on point like mini medallions which echo the center.
Then I added strips of a blue print so that these octagons would appear to float in the blue. But I ran out of the one blue print and had to supplement with the blue print from the large triangles, which I had the most of. And then I alternated the mini-medallions with rectangles of blue, finishing with a final border of cherry print. Total size: 84" square.
My friend was surprised by what I chose to do with this assignment and definitely delighted.