Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Carolina Lilies at Dragonfly Pond--An Island Batik Challegne

The December challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is to create a medallion quilt.  Now, I have never been tempted to make a medallion quilt, so this would take some thought.  Fortunately, we were given the list of challenges at the beginning of the year so I've had many months to think about my medallion.  I really wanted this medallion to hang on my living room wall.  I have one wall with 12' ceilings and I've had a Trip Around the World quilt hanging there for about 10 years--definitely time for a change!  My finished quilt measures 78" square and I love seeing it hanging on my wall.


I chose the Lemon Grass line designed by Kathy Engle as a signature collection for Whirligig Designs.  Lemon Grass is a gorgeous collection of blues and greens, and there are a few prints that have some purple marbled in.  I wanted to pull out some of the purple (my favorite color!) so I added two fabrics from the Foundations collection, Dandelion in Jelly and a Periwinkle dot.  The background is Island Batik's solid black.


The hardest part for me was choosing a center.  I spent a lot of time thinking about possibilities and I kept coming back to a Carolina Lily block. Carolina Lily is a vintage block that I've always liked, and of course there is the added bonus of Carolina in the name, since I live in North Carolina.  Since it's a vintage block there are a lot variations out there.  Once I decide that I wanted to use Carolina Lily, I chose the Fat Quarter Shop's version that is part of their Classic and Vintage series, and I used the helpful tips from Julie at Crafty Quilter in my block construction.


After I decided on the Carolina Lily center, I went to EQ8.  This is the first project I designed in EQ and made!  I've used it for a few other projects this year but more to figure out fabric placement, not to create an actual design.  I've been subscribing to Tech Know Quilters with Kari Schell of On Point Quilter and two of the months focused on medallion quilts.  I used those lessons and the skills I'm slowly learning in EQ to create my design and to finalize fabric selection and placement.



I love the fabrics in Lemon Grass so much that I knew I wanted a few borders to just be the fabric, as opposed to blocks.  I started with one of the fabrics called Rain that I really loved and added purple flowers to the cornerstones to try to create a design that is cohesive with the center.  Do you see anything different from the photo above and the final design?  I originally used the same border fabric with the corner flowers, but after adding the next border decided it would show up better with the black fabric, so I switched them out.

before the switch to black background in the corners

The next border is pieced Hattie's Choice blocks, one of the Blocks on Board (or BOB) dies from Accuquilt.  It was fun to use Hattie's Choice in a way that was completely different from the March challenge

Hattie's Choice border

From the beginning, I knew I wanted to use the dragonfly print in Marbles.  I love all the colors in it and I wanted that purple element to not just be in the center.  This is also where part of the name comes from.  There is a Dragonfly Pond at one of my favorite local parks, Reedy Creek Park.  And again I repeated those purple flower buds from the center.

Getting too big for my deck!

The final border is square-in-a-square blocks cut with dies from the Accuquilt Go Cube.  I like it as a frame to the quilt.  If you count the 1" solid black borders in between each round, this quilt has 7 borders!  But even if you don't count those, there are 4 borders--2 pieced and 2 of a single fabric with pieces cornerstones.



When the top was done, I layered it with Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 black batting.  The black batting is fabulous for quilts with dark backgrounds like this one.  For the quilting, I wanted something that would blend well with the greens and blues as well as the black background.  I looked at several Aurifil threads and settled on color 2735, which was the middle blue in my Aurifil Como Colorbuilder set from my first ambassador box of the year.  I tried something new with the quilting and did an on-point square around the very center of the quilt, then continues making squares that radiated out using 1 1/2" intervals.  I don't typically like designs that require burying threads but I'm pleased with how this looks, especially in the center. I put a fresh Schmetz Chrome Microtex needle in my machine before I started the quilting--such smooth stitching!

The materials used to make this quilt were provided to me by Island Batik, AccuQuilt, Hobbs, Aurifil, & Schmetz. 

This is my final Island Batik challenge of 2020.  I've been so honored to work with Island Batik and their industry partners for the second year.  The challenges have really stretched my artistry and creativity and I enjoy seeing what I can come up with each month.



  1. Oh that is so pretty! Love the different borders and the center block, too. I will have to go look at the pattern for the center!

    Sandy A

  2. That is a very pretty quilt, Emily. I haven't learned my EQ8 well, yet, but I might have to go look at the medallion quilt sections. I can see why you enjoy having this beauty hanging on your wall!

  3. Such a pretty quilt, Emily!!! I love seeing it hanging up on your wall, as I'm sure you and your family do, too!

  4. WOW! I love this and the purple really does stand out. Great job on doing your first EQ8 design. It is totally addicting isn't it? I am behind a bit in my lessons but the impending storm will allow some catch up time!

  5. This is so pretty. I love what you did with the Hattie's Choice block especially.

  6. This quilt is OH SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!
    Love how the lilies are cornerstones in some of your borders ... wonderful!!! And ... it looks fantastic hanging on the wall!!!
    Happy Quilting! :-)

  7. WOW! Gourgeous quilt! Medallions are so hard to keep cohesive, you did a great job with selecting the borders to support the center. I love EQ8, it's such a useful program for playing around with ideas and colors.

  8. Wow what a wonderful grand finale for your ambassadorship year. The quilt is absolutely gorgeous and how wonderful that is so personalized to suit you.

  9. Hi Emily, what a fantastic quilt you made. So much piecing went into this one - the colors are stunning - just really really a great finish. Well done. :-)

  10. Great designs, and the fabric choices are perfect.

  11. Emily, this is such a spectacular finish. It does belong on a wall where it is seen and admired by all who visit. I am surprised that even when the fabric line is light blues/green, the overall effect is dark and purple.

  12. Carolina Lilies at Dragonfly Pond is such a beautiful quilt. I never would have thought to put black with those bright colors but it perfectly sets them off! LOVE THIS! I too have the Hattie's Choice BOB die and would have NEVER thought to use it as a border. You just nailed very part of this challenge. WONDERFUL!