Round Robin Quilt

My Quilt Guild,  The Brandywine Valley Quilt Guild, is starting a Round Robin at the next meeting. Why do I think everything will be easy? I thought I would just find a pattern, use fabric from my stash and ta-dah, a quilt is born!

Here are the Guidelines:

  • Center square should be a minimum of 12" square and a maximum of 16" square. (mine is 14")
  • Each round/border must be no more than 6" and no less than 3" wide. 
  • The rounds may include but are not limited to: checkers, flying geese, half square triangles, stars, embroidery, and/or applique. The border does not need to be symmetrical in shape, color or style. 

Due Dates - April 12th, May 10th, June 14th, July 12th and August 9th. 

Along the way, we received additional guidelines to make the process smoother:

1. Always use straight ¼ inch seams to add the border.

2. Measure, measure, measure, and make sure it is “square”.  Not really square, unless it is supposed to be, but that the top, bottom and across middle measure the same and the sides and down the middle measure the same before and after you add your border (Or close enough to be worked in – like within a 1/4th or less).  Unfortunately, if it is not squared up each round the problem multiples with each border. You can google quilt borders for instructions, but it is best practice to measure in 3 places and take the average as you border length.  Then work with the extra or shortage to make the ends line up.  If you have one that is significantly off, where averaging is just not going to do it – let’s talk

3. IRON.  Please iron and measure the piece again before passing it on.  Best Press is your Best Friend!! 

4. Make any adjustments you feel are needed and you can do so easily so you are passing on a good start for the next person. Everyone’s work is valued but if the next person cannot add straight borders I want you to feel free to make small adjustments to prior borders if you need to.  

Some suggestions of my own:

5. Trim all threads and clip "ears" if there are any. Check the consistency of your stitches and make sure that your back tension is good.

6. Be mindful of any pattern direction on the fabric.

My center square...

I decided on a "Glamper" because they are just so much fun. I'm not a camping kind of gal, but these fit right into my fantasy of hitting the road and seeing the USA. No Glamper would be complete without a flamingo and since I grew up in the 50-60s, the block needed a hippie flair. My word for 2016 is "Promise" so I had to include it somewhere!

Along with the center block, there is a journal for thoughts on the process, notes from the contributors, etc., a fabric gel pen, a label and suggested fabric to be used in the borders. I included a checklist of items as a reminder.

I found this box to put everything in...just happens to be aqua, my favorite color!

Our Guild Quilt Show is October 15th and 16th, perhaps you will see our finished Round Robin Quilts there!

Since that first meeting, I have been asked for a bigger bag for my top because the box is bursting. I am getting so excited to see what my top looks like now. I have to wait until August for the unveiling

Round 1- The quilter has chosen a Holiday panel and added a border of her own to start the process.

I pinned it to my design wall and stared at it for days... I decided I didn't have the right shade of red or green in my stash. Next decision was whether to continue the asymmetrical pattern.
Time to try out my paper piecing skills, I watched a Youtube video on paperless paper piecing. I traced the design on freezer paper and tried, I really did, with mixed results. Finally,  I just printed it from the computer and removed the paper from the back. I was determined to make presents and this is how it turned out... I like it, I hope she will too!

Round 2
The finished quilt!

After consulting with my LQS owner, it seemed like the next row should be flowers! Hexagon shapes were discussed because the last row had a garden path type design in it. The quilter before me did a beautiful job and I wanted to stay with the theme and enhance it.

I found this great website and tutorial on creating hexagons with free printable templates:
Moxy Ideas. I inserted cardstock in my printer and out came these lovelies!

There was a link to a tutorial on EPP and even though I had done it many times before, it seems like a good time to revisit the process. EPP Tutorial from Sunshine Creations.

 I decided the center needed a frame of black to set it apart.

I started laying out what I had in mind...Not loving it, I will need to purchase a Clover Bias tape maker to create the vine and look for more of the green fabric. 

I'm not really liking this border, back to brainstorming. 

I decided to make the one seam "flying geese." Ricky Tims has a great video demonstrating this technique. Flying Geese

It still looks like it needs something added. I turned the Flying Geese to provide a better contrast.

I played around with some circles to relieve the "Stack and Whack" border. 

I took what I had started to my sewing group to see what the ladies thought about it. Large and small circles randomly placed was suggested...I like it!

Round 3

Upon opening the latest bag, I was totally taken with this fall quilt. I love the colors and borders that have already been added.

This quilter also added a journal to include the process and pictures for each round. I am so impressed, I want to make one!

Our November Guild meeting will be a Demonstration meeting. Hopefully, I can persuade her to demo the process to make this journal. I love it!

I started thinking of a piano keys border. I have gone to three quilt shops looking for the green batik without success. I finally found a batik that will work color wise but I have rethought my original idea and think the border should be all one color to give the eye a place to rest. When I add a narrow border and then a 3.5 inch border, it is wavy and not really straight. I am taking that border off and remeasuring the top. 

There are a few problems with a prior border, so the coordinator and I are swapping tops.

This top is gorgeous and so busy...after consulting with my quilting peeps, we agreed that it should have a calming next border. I love the red "Grunge" fabric by Moda. There isn't enough extra fabric, so I drove to many quilt shops trying to find it. No success, however, I did find another red with a touch of gold in it. 

I added a narrow white border and then the red. I hope she likes it!
The finished top!

Round 4... I love this top (really, I love them all!)

The colors are so dramatic. The previous rows have really enhanced the center block. I think it needs some paw prints.

I am playing around with adding them in the corners above the mice. It's hard to see the mice and they are so cute.

What do you think?

One more row to go, I wonder what top I get next? Stay tuned...

Round 5 and the final Round!

Last row and the quilt I received is stunning! It is the quilt of a friend and she does outstanding work...I am excited and petrified at the same time. After looking at it for a few days, I decided that it needed a little down time and to do  a solid border. I wanted to draw out some of the red inner border, but there wasn't enough fabric. 

I called the quilter to see if she remembered where she bought it and she wasn't sure. No selvages left and no name of the fabric line. My Granddaughter and I checked with the closest quilt shop, no luck. But I did find a light lilac in the same fabric as the aqua. No, that definitely doesn't work. I found the bright pink and purple fabrics at Burkholder's Fabrics, but they didn't have the darker, richer red fabric. I purchased a dark purple and a brighter red in the same fabric line.  My plan is to add a purple border and then repeat the gorgeous multicolor batik fabric. 

The purple next to the quilt top is too bright with the braid border. I try the navy (more of a muted batik) and it looks best. Navy and then purple it is!

Now that the navy is attached, I'm not loving the purple and the multicolored border. Too much going on! I decide to try it with just the navy and a 3.5 inch multicolored border.

Ta-dah! I hope she likes it, I do!

According to the journal, she is going to add triangles with paper piecing in her border. I can't wait to see all of the finished quilts. Our meeting date is August 9th and we will each receive our own quilt top. 

What did I learn from this Round Robin?
  • 1/4 inch exact seams are very important 
  • Borders do enhance and add to a quilt. While making my previous quilts, I don't think I gave a lot of thought to the border design. I would just add enough fabric to make the quilt the size I needed for the project. 
  • If I am going to include fabric I want to be used in the borders, I should consider purchasing at least a yard. There needs to be enough width of fabric for the borders. The pieced borders are gorgeous but leave odd shaped pieces for future borders. 
  • A Round Robin is probably not the best time to try a new technique. I looked at Round Robins on Pinterest and the Internet and had the idea that the border needed to be unique or challenging. Sometimes, it just needs to provide a rest for the eyes.
  • The container to be passed around is important too...mine was bursting after the first round.

This container is ideal.

  • Not everyone follows directions, clips threads, irons, or measures to make sure the top is square. All of the participants need to be flexible and committed to doing their best work.
  • If someone is allergic to cats, dogs or smoking, this should be addressed before assignments are made each month. 
  • It is very time-consuming, I had no idea how much time it would take to plan, find fabric and then make the border. 
  • Math...Math...lots of measuring and remeasuring. Measure twice, cut once.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely! It is a wonderful experience shared with Guild members. I love the quilts, the many conversations, and consultations about the tops and borders. I am hoping to finish mine and enter it in our October BVQ Quilt Show.

My Quilt

All of the members participating waited anxiously in the front of the room. Two participants held up the quilt so that the owner could see it... It was so exciting...the quilts are gorgeous and everyone seemed pleased with the results.
Wow! I love it!
Update...I have delivered the quilt top to a longarming friend to have it quilted. I will post pictures when it is completed and perhaps enter it into the BVQ Quilt Show!

Here are the Round Robins hanging at the show...one won a ribbon!

 "Promise" is finished and hanging in the show!

#RoundRobinQuilt #Brandywinevalleyquilters #glamper 

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