Medallion Mystery

Vicki Welsh and I have been conspiring about another joint project for 2013.  The emails and drawings have been flying between us for a while and I think we’ve come up with a wonderful plan.  I’m so excited about it, I can hardly wait to get started.  Of course, I think it’s a beautiful quilt.  The name of this project will be “Back to Square One” Mystery Quilt.

Here’s a button that anyone participating can add to their blog.  Simply copy the code from the right sidebar and paste it into your sidebar . . however that works for you, depending on the blog software you’re using.

Back to Square One

Here’s the plan . . and it might be a bit confusing when I describe it but just ask questions here and I’ll answer them here and we’ll get it all straight.

We’re going to do a mystery that lasts through the entire year.

The Quilt – It will be a medallion type quilt.  The finished size will be 92″ x 92″.  Don’t panic . . you don’t have to do the whole quilt!  🙂

The Plan – On the first day of each month, instructions will be given to do a portion of the quilt.  From January – August, there will be choices.  (1)  You may stay on track to make the quilt as described above or, (2) Vicki will be giving alternate ideas for how the blocks can be used.  Things she might share could include placemats, table runners, wall hangings, or whatever smaller project she might come up with.

September through December, we will be adding borders and assembling the top so for those who are not making the entire top, those four months, you can make one or more of the small projects that Vicki will design throughout the year.

The Rules – There will be a link box at the bottom of each new month’s post.  In that box, as before, you will place a link to your photo or blog post which shows that you completed the previous step.  From those links, a winner will be drawn and that winner will receive a Stash Pack of their choice from Vicki’s Etsy shop.  Please use the comment sections of each month’s post to offer questions, suggestions and comments.  Please use the link box for your photo sharing.  I am asking that no Facebook, Flickr or other external groups be formed for this project.

The Fabric – Now the fun begins!  It’s a mystery and Vicki and I will guide you to make good fabric choices.  Vicki will be offering kits of her hand dyed fabrics for sale.  These kits will feature fabrics from her new Transcend Palette and they will be offered for a limited time only.  You can read about the kits on her blog in this post.  Vicki will be accepting orders for these kits only through January 10.

Here are the fabric requirements.  Binding fabric is not included in the requirements.  If cutting your strips 2-1/2″ wide,  you will need 11 strips across the width of the fabric, or 27-1/2″ of binding fabric. (or just a tad over 3/4 yard).

Fabric 1 – 3-5/8 yards  (Background)
Fabric 2 – 4 yards (Dark Main, including most borders, as well as outer border.  I’m suggesting you use this for your binding too.)
Fabric 3 – 2 yards (Medium Main)
Fabric 4 – 1-5/8 yards (Medium/Dark fabric that is completely different from Main fabric but works nicely with your Dark Main fabric.)
Fabric 5 – 7/8 yard (Medium fabric in the same family as Fabric 4)
Fabric 6 – 1-3/8 yards (A highlight fabric.)


Fabric 1 – This is your background.  It can be white, or ecru or it can be scrappy very light fabrics.  I am recommending that you not use a dark background fabric.

Fabrics 2 and 3 – These will be your main or predominant fabrics.  Whatever color you choose for this will be the color used to describe your quilt.  If you choose a dark blue and a medium blue, you will think of your quilt as a blue quilt.  Your Medium Main should be plenty dark enough so that it stands out against your background.  There should be no blending.  Your Dark Main should be dark enough that there’s no blending with your Medium Main fabric.

Fabrics 4 and 5 – These should work with your main fabric but not be in the same family.  If you’re using blues for your Main fabrics, for Fabric 4, you could use greens or rusts or  golds.  Your Medium/Dark Fabric 4 should not be as dark as your Fabric 2.  When deciding which fabrics to use, lay Fabric 2 next to Fabric 4 and make sure you can easily see the difference and there’s no blending.  Fabric 5 should be a bit lighter than Fabric 4.  The two should not blend but make sure that Fabric 5 does not blend with Fabric 1 (background).

Fabric 6.  This will be your highlight.  It should work with your other fabrics but be completely different.  A medium to dark value fabric would work nice.

These are the fabrics I will use:

The fabrics on both ends are the same fabric.  The lighting makes the fabric on the left look more white than it is.  It’s actually closer to the fabric on the right.

For my choices:

Fabric 1 is the background – far left and far right.
Fabric 2 is the purple closest to the left.
Fabric 3 is the lighter purple/lavender.
Fabric 4 is the dark green.
Fabric 5 is the lighter green.
Fabric 6 is the tan.

Other fabric choices I considered, with the background on the far left and far right, and the fabrics numbered left to right are:

There are also fabric ideas on Vicki’s blog.

On January 1, New Year’s Day, the first clue will be posted.  Get your fabrics chosen and join us for the fun.  At the end of the year, I believe you will be thrilled with your project!

Please post your questions here and I’ll answer them here.  Thanks for participating with us!

Links to Clues & Info:

Swatch Sheet


    • 1.1


      I think you could definitely use scrappy for your background and just so your darks are all dark and there’s plenty of difference in the darks and medium fabrics, and just so you stay with the two color families, I think it would be great in scrappy.

  1. 3


    What a great way to start the new Year. I don’t think I have anything in my stash that would work!! This isn’t going to help my stash report this month.

    • 3.1


      Hurry up and buy the fabric so you can include it on your stash reports in 2012 and then start off 2013 with good numbers. 🙂

  2. 4

    CrftySAHM says

    Is there a way to sign up to get a notice when the postings are made for this mystery quilt?

  3. 5


    I have enjoyed the color palette challenge this year. Several quilting friends have shared their goings ons with mystery quilts this past year. I thought I’d try one. So surprise! You and Vicki are offering one. I’ll be happily joining in!

  4. 6

    Barb in MI/FL says

    Since I don’t blog, will I still be able to participate and get the pattern directions each month?

    • 6.1


      Yes! The pattern will be posted on the blog each month and you can print it. In order to be eligible for the drawing for Vicki’s prize, you will need to share a picture but that can be done on a photo sharing site and then linked up in the monthly link box. But, you do not have to share your photo to keep up with the quilt.

  5. 8

    Marianne says

    I love mystery quilts and am looking forward to participating in yours. You design the most awesome quilts. I’ll just have to squeeze the finishing of my UFOs between clues I started completing them this year and am determined to complete them all.

  6. 10

    Quilterguy says

    Sounds very exciting!!! I can’t wait to get started! I loved CTS. I haven’t finished it yet, but working on it. So, I will be doing two at the same time. Thanks for sharing your talent and wisdom with us!!!

  7. 11


    Judy, if I make only the medallion with only a small border, how much of color 2 would I need? That’s the one I’d cut back on, right? I need wall quilts, not bed or big quilts. I’m out of storage room. ????

    • 11.1


      Hilary: We don’t have it broken down by each segment. You may want to wait til after you see it and then decide what parts you want to do.

  8. 12


    I promised myself not to start a new project, before finishing all my UFO´s. But no……..I can´t resist this. It´s sounds like a great quilt. I´m on LOL
    Gun, Sweden

  9. 13


    2012 was my first UFO Challenge and now I am going to try to do this Medallion Mystery Quilt. I added the button to my blog but it does not seem to do anything right now. Will I need to wait until 1/1/2013 for it to do anythng?
    I am off to try to find fabrics in my stash to do this quilt !!!

  10. 14


    I loved that my question was the same as the #1 comment! So I already have my answer. I have a huge collection of batik samples and I think I’ll just find a background and get started in January!

  11. 16

    QuilterBea says

    I love the Emerald Isle fabrics and am intrigued by a mystery quilt. I am new to quilting so am a little apprehensive but am being drawn in for a new challenge. Do you think confident newbies will be able to follow along?

  12. 17

    Marina Desiree says

    I really would love to participate, but do we need to have all fabrics right from the start? I just can’t afford to spend that much money at the beginning of the year all at once. 🙁

    • 17.1


      It depends on how scrappy you want it to be. If you buy one portion of a fabric and then run out, there may not be more of that same fabric when you go back to get more unless you’re using something like Moda Marbles, or Michael Miller Krystal or Andover’s Dimples. We will use all the fabrics throughout the quilt.

  13. 18


    I picked out the last three fabrics today, so I’m ready for the first clue! I’m taking a color theory class, and I picked these fabrics as part of an assignment. I hope they turn out okay.
    Will there be a centralized spot with a link to the clues in case we need to look back at them later?

    • 18.1


      Yes, there will be the blog button on my sidebar and it will lead to the original post and all clues will be linked there.

  14. 19


    I am thrilled to be able to do yet another mystery as mystery quilts are a passion for me ..I am involved right now in a medallin quilt and LOVE it so I definitely will
    be sewing along ..I like that it is spread out over the year

  15. 20

    Irene in NC says

    Just want you to know; Since I found out you were doing a mystery quilt, I’ve been checking this site every couple of hours on the offchance that you may post the first instructions early !! Can’t wait (can you tell this is my first mystery quilt ??)

  16. 22

    Karyn says

    Is there a centralized place people will be posting their fabric selections and blocks? (Like a flicker group?)
    I just found you and I’m going around and around with my fabrics (not sure I have 4 yards of any dark in my stash)

    • 22.1

      Karyn says

      Judy, I started a Flicker group so participants can share pictures, ask questions & cheer each other on….if this is NOT ok, please let me know & I will remove it immediately.

  17. 23


    I just found this mystery quilt in time to start it before you post the next clue. My question: if I were to to do this pattern scrappy, would you suggest any particular choice as a “constant” ? It seems the background fabric is usually a good choice for this, but I noticed you gave it as an example of choices of “very light” scraps. Is scrappy a bad idea for this design?

    • 23.1


      I am so not a scrappy quilter, it’s real hard for me to judge how this one would work as scrappy. I think it’s safe to say that using a variety of very lights for the background would work but otherwise, I’m not comfortable giving scrappy advice.

      • says

        ok… thank you for your honesty in the scrappy advice department. I am trying so hard to use stash, but I have located enough yardage to use for the requirements of this mystery without needing to buy anymore for the time being. I’m excited to begin! Thanks again!!!

  18. 24


    for all you applique disbelievers try it. After you do a few it becomes habit forming and turns out so pretty. I love needleturn applique. This is something you can tke to the doctors office ,on trips,,in hospital when waiting I always have a project ready to go. No thinking just pick up the box and go.I bet if you give yourself a chance you will come to love it. Dana in L,a.

  19. 25

    Irene in NC says

    It is February 28 and I have been watching for the word “March” to turn from black to red (active link)… now, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will just have to wait till tomorrow morning !

  20. 28

    Debbie Rhodes says

    Am I wrong… waiting for November instructions… I could be more patient but my mom isn’t she has asked several times for this…. thanks

    • 28.1


      The instructions were posted on November 1 on the blog, as scheduled. The link has not been updated but the instructions are posted.