The Center of The Universe

May 7, 2008 § 12 Comments

… Er… the quilt, I mean.

I have to admit, there was a tiny bit of fear when I first proposed to make this quilt into a quilt-along. But the more time I’ve had to think about it, the more excited I am getting about it. This is going to be great! A huge Thank You to everyone who has been excited with me. You guys are awesome! I can’t wait to see how everyone else’s quilts develop over time.


We will begin in June. Actually, you can begin now if you want. But… officially, we will begin in June. We will make the center block and the first border in June.

The image on the Quilt-Along page has numbers on the borders so you can see how each month will break down. I’ve tried to make December an easy month, well, easier than some because life is always crazy then. And, we’ll have to double up on some months to keep the time spent to one year.

The Center Block

I’m proposing that everyone chooses their own center block and then we’ll pretty much stick to the quilt after that, with the exception being the prairie points on the outside edge. I’m still undecided if I want to tackle those or not. We’ll have plenty of time to decide that later.

  • Make your center block 12-inches finished, 12 1/2-inches with the seam allowances.

I was hoping to use a feathered star block that I’ve had laying around, but it is too large. So, I’m still undecided on my center block as well. You could use a large, interesting piece of fabric, a simple block, a block left over from another project, or anything you like.

If anyone needs help or suggestions, just send me an email and I’ll do what I can. I’m a firm believer that hobbies need to be fun. If you aren’t having fun, then we need to change something. So… please, PLEASE, let me know if you are not having fun and getting frustrated. Okay?

The First Border – 1a

On or about June 1 (I’m shooting for the first of each month), I’ll post instructions for the first border. After a rough estimate, it looks like most borders will be somewhere around 2 or 3-inches wide. But I haven’t actually started working on any of them yet. It all depends on how the pieces will go together most nicely.

Also, you can make as many or as few borders as you like. I’m thinking that I’m going to end up with something near the size given in the book, 88-inches square. But you can stop at any time and have a great baby quilt, throw quilt, or keep going to the very end. It’s totally up to you.

The Fabrics

The great thing about medallion quilts – and others have mentioned this in the comments as well – is that you don’t have to choose all the fabrics you want to use right at the beginning. In fact, if you look at the original quilt, there isn’t much “matchy, matchy” going on at all. That’s what I love about antique quilts. And my own personal goal is to use this as a stash busting project. There are fabrics on my shelf that I just can’t imagine in a quilt any longer and they may just work for this one.

You may want to be thinking about a color theme or value while not yet deciding on fabrics. Or pull out a couple of favorite fabrics as inspiration and work from there.

  • an overall light or dark feeling
  • a seasonal feeling – summer flowers, winter greys
  • solids or prints
  • old and worn feeling or new and modern

If you want some inspirational reading, here are some books you might want to check out from your library:

Kaffe Fassett’s Museum Quilts – This book is great inspiration for taking antique quilts and interpreting them into more modern fabric.

Making Welsh Quilts by Mary Jenkins & Clare Claridge – good examples using both solid and printed fabrics.

The Art and Techniques of Creating Medallion Quilts by Jinny Beyer (no longer in print?) – Jeannie of Notebook Fame recommends this book. I’m trying to find it in our inter-library loan program. No luck yet. I may have to find it used from

Classic English Medallion Quilts by Bettina Havig – I haven’t seen this book, but it also came up in a search on medallion quilts.

Start pondering about your center block…

§ 12 Responses to The Center of The Universe

  • amy says:

    I was thinking about a feathered star. Now I’m wondering if I want something a little simpler. Ponder, ponder. I’ll have you know that I moved furniture to get up in the attic to see what I might have done with my Jinny Beyer book collection. Didn’t find it, of course. Can you add me to the quilt-along list? Thanks, Anita!

  • Jennifer says:

    Great post! Thanks for the information. I am also a firm believer in having fun. I like how some of the borders (like the flying geese) are done in a lot of different colors, not all matching.

    I have a book by Darlene Zimmerman called Quilting on the Edge, and it has excellent photo instructions for prairie points. She even shows how to make a continuous strip of prairie points in one or two colors. Her instructions also remind people that the quilting has to be finished before the prairie points are added, which would be like with any binding. So….I am thinking that the finishing part of this quilt may be happening quite a while after 2009!

    I will let you know what I decide for the center block…we will travel a lot that month, so might get an early start now.

  • ivoryspring says:


    Through Jennifer’s blog, I stumbled across yours. I think the Quilt-along is such a good idea. I am still trying to decide whether to take part or not. If per chance, I am not able to meet my goal for a particular month, would there be any serious consequence – would I have to drop out of the quilt-along? I am just thinking I have quite a few quilt deadlines to meet in June…. I might not be able to finish the center block AND the border…

    You have a very nice blog. I will be back to visit.

  • Tami says:

    I am so excited to get going on this! I think that I’m going to do the center block that is shown. It’s very old and simple.

  • Carey says:

    I would love to join your medallion quilt along.

  • Michelle (ravelry:michelleinseattle) says:

    This is exciting, I am hoping I can take advantage of this Mon off to create my center block or better yet, find one I can use from my stash!!! I do not want to fall behind – this will be fun. Thanks Anita!

  • Michelle (ravelry:michelleinseattle) says:

    ok – in Flickr I see a pic of the first border – maybe, but no instructions yet correct? I need to settle on my center block and I will try to do so this week!! I have been looking around and nothing has struck me yet but it will!

  • Well, I’ve done my center and drat if I didn’t make it small, about 1/2 the size it needs to be but I like the overall design of it and will re-make it large enough to work. You can see the mini version on my blog.

  • Myrna says:

    I have the book you mentioned by Bettina Havig and it is great; lots of different borders and the sizes of the center block are varied. I have just recently found this quilt-a-long and am thinking of trying to catch up. My problem is I have at least 40 UFO’s at the moment. Oh well, we only live once, right?

  • Myrna says:

    Okay, you convinced me. I will have to catch up though; with camping every weekend, it will be hard to fit this in but I will give it a shot.


  • christine says:


    I just stumbled into your medallion-along

    can you point me to somewhere that has a similar centre to the one you have in this post please?

  • Jenny McArdle says:

    What good luck to find you. It’s my turn in the friendship group to have my block made so I thought asking everyone to do a border would be a bit different. I’ve been on and found lots to choose from but you’ve done the numbers and made my job so much easier.

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