Tag Archives: Modern Medallion Workbook

Another Modern Quilting Book

I have mixed feelings about The Modern Medallion Workbook, one of the latest books riding the coat tails of the modern quilt movement. In a nutshell, I think it’s a perfectly OK book with some nice patterns from a bunch of quilters active in the modern quilt movement. However, I think it’s a marketing hook to call many of the book’s quilts modern.
What makes a medallion quilt modern is never defined. All that’s said on this is it’s a medallion quilt with “the addition of modern fabrics and a modern aesthetic.” I take this to mean modern medallion quilts are what the authors and their friends made. Only a few of the eleven quilts – Drop of Golden Sun, June, Graphical Modern, and One Step At A Time  – seem modern to me.  I focused on the use of negative space, asymmetry, and a pared down look. Melanie at Catbird Quilt Studio’s recent post about what is a modern medallion quilt talks about other aspects of modern quilts.

The rest, such as the examples below, look like traditional medallion quilts with different fabric choices. One, Zen Medallion (on the book’s cover,) is made in wedges. I like it, but it certainly doesn’t use the usual medallion quilt construction methods.

Modern Medallion008Modern Medallion007

Good Points:
-The book gives planning, organizing and general quilt construction instructions that apply to any quilting project, and beginners might need/want to consult them.
-There are line drawings of each quilt so you can try out color combinations before you cut fabric.

-I’m inspired by the half circle outer border on Oviedo (the quilt shown on the book’s cover.) Accuracy would be crucial to ensure matched corners.

Bad Points:

-In the special techniques section (piecing curves, flying geese, half square triangles, paper piecing) I have issues with the curved piecing technique shown (too many pins,) and the paper piecing section leaves out some helpful trimming steps. Freezer paper piecing, which would be a good technique to use for the book’s patterns, isn’t mentioned. There’s lots of detail offered for different ways to make flying geese, but only one way to make half square triangles.

-The 6 pages on designing your own medallion quilt seem OK until you try to use the formulas given on pages 112 and 114 for adding, subtracting, or resizing blocks to fit; or for adding filler borders. As was pointed out to me, they are WRONG. The reader is told to multiply, when the correct mathematical operation is to divide. I suspect that somehow the wrong sign got inserted, and copy editors/proof readers never caught the error.

-I think the quilts need a degree of difficulty rating. Some involve intense paper piecing. The Migration Medallion has you piece 48 1 1/4 inch by 2 inch flying geese. That’s tiny.

-There’s no resources section or tip of the hat to the long history of medallion quilts – and books about them. I think a case could be made that many “old” medallion quilts are modern.

What do I consider a modern medallion quilt?  I’ll let Gwen Marston speak for me.

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Filed under Books, Commentary