Regal Medallion by the District of Columbia Modern Quilt Guild

By Lynne Mackay-Atha

As the news was out, news being the colors and theme for the charity quilts for QuiltCon 2018, it was time to get going on the DCMQG charity quilt. Robin and I met to look at the colors and this year we wanted to go bold. We decided that there would be no white this time and we would use the regal purple as our background color.

For the design, modern traditionalism was the prompt. Our goal was to start with a very traditional block and then use those blocks in a more modern setting with plenty of negative space - a great place to showcase gorgeous quilting. Creating a central medallion with borders or corner pieces would be a nod to traditional quilt design.


Maybe because our quilt last year was very geometric, a pixelated view of the skyline of the United States' capital, this year the blocks we seriously considered were curvy. We narrowed our search to to Dresden Plates and Drunkard’s Path and chose the latter. Robin ordered fabric and created fabric kits with instructions for our members.

Large, medium, and small quarter circle blocks, take your pick. For some members, circle piecing was a new skill. We talked about “pie” and “crust” pieces and although we asked that most of the pie pieces be solids, quilters could also use prints and pieced fabric for the pie portion.

Fortunately, our members, about 25 of them, created solid blocks plus a wide and wild array of pieced pies.

Our early fall retreat offered a great time and space to start playing with the layout. We tried simple circles and also back-and-forth diagonal chains. The results were okay but not stunning.

Next we returned to the medallion idea, but creating not just one, but several medallions. We were on to something! Initially we were concerned that too much intricate piecing with
these bright colors would be too distracting. As we continued to rearrange the pieces, we were
surprised that we were really liking the energy and interest that the pieced “pie” blocks provided.

As we jigsawed the blocks together, it slowly evolved from a hot mess to a purple monster to this regal creation.


Little did we know that our master quilter, Sarah Thomas (@sariditty) has a great love of purple and had a completely purple bedroom as a kid. While she has no desire for a return to that decor, she loves purple quilts. It shows in the quilting - circles and lines, lots of ruler work and several colors of threads.

Next, it was off to Natalie to work her magic on the binding and label. Once again, our charity quilt passed through the hands of about a third of our guild. When the quilt returns from QuiltCon, the guild will decide which worthy local charity will benefit from the proceeds of this special quilt.

Regal Medallion

Regal Medallion

To learn more about the DC Modern Quilt Guild, visit or their Instagram @dcmqg.

Cheyann Neades