Rockin’ (Round) Robin
Many of the quilts I have done were started with no purpose other than to learn a new technique. I enjoy the challenge of the lesson more than the finished product. I belong to three different quilt guilds for just that reason: They often have guest presenters and classes that showcase new designs and methodology.
In one of my guilds, I was given the opportunity to participate in what is called a Round Robin. There are two categories: Traditional or Modern. I chose to do the modern, since most of the quilts I have completed tend to fall in that genre. Each Round Robin participant creates an original 16” block, which they send to the next person on the list (in reality, there is one very amazing woman who coordinates it all, and sends an email with all the hand-off information). You send your block with a completed preference questionnaire and a small notebook.
The receiving person checks the questionnaire for any “rules” (for instance, solids only, no batiks, only batiks, etc.), and then has about 8 weeks to add an approximately 6” border or layer in any manner they see fit, write a message to the original owner in the notebook, and then complete the pass-off.
I decided that this would be an excellent way to build my skill set, and challenge myself to think more artistically and “outside the box” (ironically, since it does, indeed, create a box!). I actually found the process to be fairly stressful. I live in a place that does not have easy access to fabric (there is one store in town that does have some beautiful batiks), and the workmanship of my predecessors was often intimidating.
The very first block I was given was made of all silk, something I hadn’t worked with before. Luckily, the owner had sent some fabric in the box, and I was able to combine it with some I had on hand and the effect turned out pretty well. This last one (pictured above with the birds) was more fun. The scene was beautiful, and I was able to add something that represented me – an Aurora Borealis sky border.
I am excited to see the results from my own 16” block, created eleven months ago. The full travel-and-sew cycle takes almost a year to complete, and we are currently in the last round. While I probably won’t participate again, I am glad for the experience, and would encourage others to try something similar, or even start their own with a few sewing friends.