It’s that time of the year…twice a year during quilt market, Amy @Amy’s Creative Side hosts a Blogger’s Quilt Festival. If you have stopped by my blog for the first time from the quilt festival, thank you!
We are allowed to link up two quilts to the various categories and have the opportunity to visit and be inspired by other blogger’s wonderful quilts. I was so excited to be highlighted in January in one of Amy’s Blogger’s Quilt Festival Features. Yesterday, I highlighted my Triangle Transparency quilt for the Original Design category.
Today, I am excited to share a new finish for my entry in the Large Quilts category: Cocoa Leaf Medallion Quilt. (I was hoping and working like crazy to get it finished in time to link up!)
I was commissioned to make an oversized queen quilt based on the unique light fixture in my customer’s bedroom: a dried and died cocoa leaf drum lamp.
I started working on the design in early September, and I warmed up by creating a pair of mini quilts to discuss some of my thoughts about inspiration, design, and the quilting process with my customers. The mini quilts now live on the top of their night stands. 🙂
My initial design sketch for the queen size quilt was hand drawn, but I was pulled toward making the center medallion out of large leaf shapes immediately.
At about the same time as the design was evolving, I was learning to use Electric Quilt (version 5). I was never able to fully get EQ5 to represent the center medallion the way my customers and I envisioned it, but it was a great tool for fine tuning nuances like the size, orientation, and color for the bordering cocoa leaves.
I took my Kona color card into the room with the lamp on a day with great natural light, and we color matched to the lamp.
Top to Bottom: Kona Flame, Kona School Bus, Kona Cheddar, Kona Corn Yellow, Kona Buttercup, Kona Chartreuse, Kona Peridot, Kona Chartreuse, Kona Delft, Kona Cornflower, Kona Bahama Blue, Kona Dark Violet, Kona Eggplant.
The background and backing of the quilt are Kona Cream.
Taking my time to coordinate with my customers along the way was really beneficial for this quilt. Taking a look at how I had originally planned to sew down the center medallion side by side with the finished center helps point out a few of the great changes that were made. The leaves at 4:30 and 7:30 were swapped to achieve a better color balance. And while I had been focusing on the layering and multi-color effect that stacking the fabrics could achieve, my clients intuitively arranged the leaves in a consistent overlapping sequence that creates a beautiful spiral.
I used my quilt pattern questionnaire to discuss the quilting options with my customers, and they wanted an intricate, one-of-a-kind, unique, organic, curvy, and free form design. I knew my inspiration for quilting the center cocoa leaves was going to be the veining of the actual leaves themselves, but other than that I had pretty free reign to play.
Note that the majority of the quilting was done on my APQS Millennium longarm machine, but I did some finishing work on my Bernina 820 as well. My longarm has a 10 foot frame and this quilt just *barely* fit!
50wt Aurifil 2000 (light sand) blended in perfectly with the Kona Cream background fabric to create wonderful texture and pops out dramatically on the saturated colors of the medallion and border leaves.
I quilted a repeating flower on the border outside of the border cocoa leaves. In between the border leaves I quilted a simple curved meander. The border leaves themselves are outlined and a quick and I quilted simple vein pattern. In the majority of the negative space on the quilt top, I used Angela Walters’ chain swirl pattern with a fill of back and forth lines. I think the swirls evoke both air and water.
On the colored transition between the round center medallion and the square quilt, I quilted a wood grain pattern. I really want the center cocoa leaf medallion to stand out, so in the negative space around the center medallion leaves I quilted a very small and dense meandering loop.
And I tried to add in realistic vein detail for each of the center cocoa leaves. I made the center vein very prominent by quilting repeatedly down the center of each leaf. The subsequent branches of the veins are less and less quilted, and I really like the effect and texture it gives to the center. In the photograph below you can also see how the veins stand out on the back of the quilt.
I did all of the quilting free-hand without the aid of a ruler to give a more organic and natural feel. If nature doesn’t make perfectly straight lines, I figured I didn’t need to, either.
Speaking of the back of the quilt, I might love the back of this quilt as much as the front.
After removing the quilt from my long arm frame, I spent 1.5 hours outlining the cocoa leaves and the center circle with the walking foot on my Bernina 820. If nothing else, it really helps add definition on the back of the quilt!
Even from the zoomed in vantage of the photo above, the tiny loop meander fill around the leaves is starting to look like pure texture!
The finishing touch for the cocoa leaf medallion quilt is the ROYGBV binding, which I machine stitched down to the front of the quilt and hand stitched down to the backing. For me, there is something so meditative and calm about whip-stitching down binding, and I am glad I took a bit of extra time to hand finish the quilt.
The finished quilt weighs 9 pounds!
Cocoa Leaf Medallion Quilt Statistics
- Total Quilt Time: 58.5 hours
- Mini Quilts: 5 hours
- Design: 7 hours
- Piecing: 18.5 hours
- Quilting: 23.5 hours
- Binding: 4.5 hours
- Quilt Shrinkage (Quilter’s Dream Green Batting)
- Finished Flimsy: 103-inches wide by 122-inches long
- After Quilting / Squaring / Binding: 101-inches wide by 118.75-inches long
- After First Wash: 96-inches wide by 113-inches long (~7% shrinkage)
- The entire quilt was made using Kona Solids
- School Bus
- Corn Yellow
- Bahama Blue
- Dark Violet
- The entire quilt was made using Kona Solids
- Pieced with 50wt Aurifil 2610 (light blue grey)
- Quilted with 3 large spools of Aurifil 2000 (light sand)
- Almost 2.5 miles of thread just in the quilting!!!
My previous Blogger’s Quilt Festival Entries: