QAAQG Quilt Along Week 3 – Center Medallion

By Nico Laudenberg
February 28, 2021

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly,
is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
                                                Kurt Vonnegut

How are you?

We very much hope that all fingers are well, no blood was shed and all pieces are cut (or not, that’s fine, too)!? Plus we hope that all folks from colder places (like Texas or such) are warm and healthy.
The good news of this blog post: It is much, much shorter than the last one, pinky promise. And the task of the week is way faster done than all the cutting. So if you didn’t make it through all the cutting yet – this week will give you time to catch up.

This week’s task

We finally get to sew some! And we start full speed. Yes, the center star is by far the most tedious part of all piecing involved in this quilt. On a positive note: it’ll be over by the end of the week, so yay! Start with the hardest and the rest is easy going!

Read Elizabeth Hartman’s piecing tips for the center medallion, they are only available to those who have registered for the QAL. You can sign up here

Fear not – you can do this! Be kind to yourself! If you are talking to yourself, listen well and check what you are saying carefully: Just say things that you would also say to your quilting buddy or best friend!


And some tips

  • We recommend that you have a handful of your favorite swear words handy, just in case you need to un-sew and re-do.
  • And talking about that: When in doubt: un-sew and do it again, your future self will thank you.
  • In related news: Don’t be too ambitious. Follow the horse-rule. Follow the what? Will your inaccuracies be visible when riding by on a galloping horse. Can’t see any? Then you’re good!
  • Even though the diamonds are symmetric – the rows are not. Double check whether you are going in the right direction.
  • Watch this video to see how you can match the diamonds!
  • This post has some great general tips for piecing:
  • And this post, too:
  • Or here:
  • Pressing matters. And we mean pressing, not ironing! When you iron your pieces, especially when working with bias edge, (that is fabric cut in an angle, like diamonds), don’t move the iron back and forth as you do when ironing clothing. Apply pressure with your iron in a up-down-movement. Press and lift it up, put down on the next spot etc. This will prevent the distortion of your fabric
  • Press often!
  • But sometimes, less is more: When trimming, stay on the shy side. Better trim less now than ending up with a block that is just 1/4 inch short…
  • It can be of help to align the parallel sides on grain.
  • Check your seam allowance. Even if you use your sewing machine’s guiding marks or a 1/4-inch-foot: measure the seam allowance. Tiny differences add up and lead to, yes, you got it: a block that is just 1/4 inch short…There are neat seam gauges out there, or just stitch a piece of paper and measure with a ruler.



Hint: Chain piece wherever possible. That means: sew one seam, and at the end, just keep going and sew the next pieces, and the next,
without stopping, cutting the thread and starting with the next seam. This way, you’ll have a garland of pieces. Just snip the little thread connections and see how much time you saved.



  • Be consistent! If you are one lucky gal that owns two or even more sewing machines: Congratulations. But you need to decide on one and stick with it, at least for this quilt, to ensure the seam allowance stays the same.
  • If you feel like nothing is going well anymore: Give yourself a break, leave the crime scene, have a cup of coffee, take a walk – it will be better when you come back.
  • Uhmmm… did we mention the sufficient supply of swear words?
  • And after all: This is your hobby. You are supposed to have fun.

Did we scare you enough now? Now just do it and saddle the horse. Oh, and by the way: the medallion block shown in this post might not be perfect, but it was made while neglecting pretty much all of the tips we just gave you… Give it a shot, you can do it!


Improv Alternative

Or you just skip all that measuring, piecing precision pressure and do it freestyle. Here is how:

Skew Star Center Medallion

For this medallion center star, we started out with a single diamond, pretty much like the #1 template, but not necessarily very exact.

Like a log cabin, we just went clockwise and added random strips of varying width. Just attach a strip on one side, open, (finger) press, trim, and repeat on the next side. Work clockwise, round and round, until the piece is big enough to cut out the shape of one star-eights (the larger version of the diamond we started with).

Add the background according to the original instruction. Cut out the eight star pieces, they are 45° diamonds with 4-1/2’’ side length.



What’s next?

Take your time and make the center. Or finish cutting first. Whatever you do, enjoy it and show us! We can’t wait to see what you are doing! Share on social media and meet your mates in our private Facebook group! We will cheer you (or maybe teach you some swear words in Spanish or German)

When posting on Instagram, always use this hashtag: #gaaqgqal

Next Sunday will bring a new newsletter and blog post. If you sign up for the newsletter, don’t forget to check and double check your secret boxes: spam, trash, junk, promotions folder!

Not comfortable with Instagram yet? Need a little refresher? Find our Instagram slideshow here: Instagram Tutorial

 Do you want more and meet some of your fellow quilt-alongers live? Let us know –, we’re happy to set up a Zoom meeting to hang and chat together!


Stay healthy,
Nancy Frye, Gena Loyd and Nico Laudenberg

Reach out and connect:


Instagram: @gaaqg

Hashtag: #gaaqgqal

Facebook group:

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This post was written by Susan Schwandt