Thursday, April 5, 2007

Round Robins Coming Back Around

Have you ever participated in a round robin quilt project? Round robins are group quilts that begin with each member creating a center block or medallion. Then the project is passed in rotation to the other members of the robin, each of whom adds another border. There may or may not be "rules" for each border's construction, either in block style or construction.

I belong to a fantastic group group of quilters called the Cyberbee, fifty members of the Capital Quilters Guild in Raleigh. We formed this group back when the Internet and e-mail were relatively new to most of us. We meet four times a year for show-and-tell, and to discuss or share ideas for swaps or exchanges. Over the years we have done row-by-rows, block exchanges, art challenges, a Sharyn Craig block challenge, and many other projects. I am always blown away by the creativity and skills of our Cyber-bee members.

Anyway, eight of us began our round robins over a year ago. These are the rules we followed for each border:
  1. Triangles

  2. Curves

  3. Squares

  4. 2-inch border

  5. Applique

  6. Embellish

  7. Anything Goes!
We are now completing the last borders, and the exchange of the completed tops will be on Thursday, April 12. And where will I be? Manchester, New Hampshire, at MQX! So far, that is the only thing that I will regret about going on my quilting excursion. In fact, my local bee is meeting tonight, and one of the members has MY Round-Robin quilt for the last row! I don't think I can cajole her into revealing it to me a week early.

My center block was based on a quilt published in a quilting calendar. The picture has been on my "inspiration wall" (i.e., pinned to the wall behind my sewing machine) for years. It is actually four log cabin blocks with bright, clear colors on the outside logs, and shades of white on the inside. In the white center, I appliqued some flowers using hand-dyed fabrics. Here is a picture of my center block, and a rather overexposed scan of the "inspiration" quilt.
I know my quilt top will not look like this one when I get it back, but I can't wait to see what my fellow quilt artists have done! I can't say anything else about the other projects until The Reveal, but let me tell you, they are truly incredible.

If you are planning to participate in a round robin exchange, here is one word to the wise: plan the applique round early in the exchanges so you don't have to spend so much time on that one!

All of us included a journal to pass around with the project, so you can read about the creative processes that inspired each border. The robin owners usually include fabric, a list of preferences for the quilt (must be washable, will be a wall quilt, etc.) and often include a little gift for each quilter to enjoy when she is working on the project.

When I get back from MQX, you can bet I will be blogging about my round robin quilt top as well as my experiences at the conference.

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