I have participated in three Round Robins – a group quilt creation where each person begins a quilt with the center section, or a row, and passes it along to others who, in turn, make the subsequent borders (or rows.) At the end the quilt goes back to the person who did the center section. My experience, so far, has been mixed. My first Round Robin was, at best, ok. It was nothing exciting, no zip, no zing, no dazzle. As I reflect back on it, the problem may have been the mix of participants or the directions for the borders – Seminole piecing followed by “anything goes” and, finally, triangles. The Seminole piecing was complicated enough that the next borders were very simple. Perhaps the problem was that I didn’t include any fabric for the other participants to use. Maybe we were just all too even in our skill levels. Maybe it was none of the above.
My second experience was disheartening. It was an internet Round Robin exchange. Somehow, people didn’t realize how long it would take, had health and family issues, were overwhelmed, and things just dragged on. My center never made it home. Perhaps it’s languishing somewhere in a great big pile of UFOs. Perhaps it got thrown out, buried, or lost. Perhaps one day I’ll open my mailbox and there it will be. I chalked it up to experience and moved on.
My third experience was magical. Every quilt was different. The five people in the exchange had different skills and quilting abilities. The borders were interesting – triangles, applique, squares, and anything goes. No techniques were specified, so people could do either machine or hand applique, paper piecing, pieced borders, etc. The quilts were very different in style which meant that at different times each of us was working outside our comfort level. The mixture of techniques, skills, styles, colors, and sizes created five very special quilts. The third time was the charm.
I’m about to start with another Round Robin. This one is based on color – using two opposites on the color wheel, so I had to think both about my color and the color that others would be adding. I rejected red / green – too “Christmas.” The hues and tints for red and green also were not interesting to me. The hue – adding black – makes me think of deep rich Victorian colors, while the tint – adding white – screams “preppy” to me with pink and light green. Blue / orange was a possibility. I have a lot of orange fabric left from a challenge based on using a single color. In the end, however, I went with purple, one of my favorite colors, and it’s opposite yellow. From the discussion, it seems as though many of us have chosen purple. It will be interested to see how different the purple quilts will be. My “heart” center goes out in tomorrow’s mail. I’m eager to begin on the yellow border for the “pinwheel” quilt center that arrived at my house last week.