Our Round Robin Continues
This project among friends has given me a chance to to work out of my comfort zone--something I encourage everyone to do. It's a little intimidating receiving a block where you truly believe you will have a hard time following the person who pieced just before you. It's caused me to do some research into Round Robins, and I'll share what I've learned today.
But first, this is my block for the month started by Sandra of mmm! quilts, who began with the house motif, white background, and batik stripes. Tish of Tish's Adventures in Wonderland add the spinning stars border, and three cheers to her for accurate piecing because I had to sew against all those star points. She's good! (Cindy of Stichin At Home is the fourth participant, but she will be adding the last round to this block.)
What I Was Thinking: The WOW Factor!
My very simple addition of a double border and corner blocks was hard to figure out. There was already so much going on in the block, and I thought it needed a rest. I've worked on medallion quilts in the past, and at a certain point they just needs something low key. Of course, there's no Wow Factor, and that's what we're going to talk about today.
Joan Wolfrom's Advice Summarized
Joan Wolfrom wrote "The Visual Dance--Creating Spectacular Quilts", 1995, C&T Publishing. I have referred to this book and her design advice so many times. If you design your own quilts, it's worth it's weight in quilter's gold. In a section devoted to specialty quilts, she remarks that medallion quilts can be especially tricky.
- The central motif needs to be the focal point radiating outward.
- We should be careful to not compete with it by adding too many large borders.
- Unity is a main consideration.
Moving on to Round Robin quilts, she has more specific suggestions. She encourages participants to create their centers carefully so each participant is able to add a border that will enhance the center. Take consideration toward 'shapes, colors, scale and proportion, direction, values, patterns, and fabrics used.' And above all, keep in mind unity of the design.
The Critique On Our Work So Far
The one thing Wolfrom didn't mention was familiarity with the block owner's likes and dislikes. I know Sandra loves batiks, and she did use a few in her original center. Tish played that up, and added batik in the center of some of her stars. She also repeated in the spinning stars the HST theme Sandra started. I was especially taken with how she muted the strength of her strong border with a darker toned background. Sandra's center still pops, but Tish's border adds a lot of interest and movement to the piece.
I decided a multi-colored fabric worked best to unify the palette. It has nearly every color in it used so far. I wanted to add some gold because there were small amounts of gold in the original center that hadn't been brought out yet. My dark purple batik follows Tish's purple centers in her stars, and also pops the yellow. The grey adds another calming border, and repeats Tish's background. It also has a dog print on it--something Sandra and I share a love for.
I think it works. I think there were a lot of possibilities that could have besides this one, but I'm happy with the turnout so far. According to Wolfrom, the last round is the most difficult for all Round Robins as it must tie it all together. Won't this be fun?
A Final Note
To me, this is a fun exercise. I've spent the post dissecting this block, and what each of us has done so far. What happens when my own block comes back? My center was an improvisationally pieced center, and not what you'd call a strong focal point perhaps. I doubt I'll see any imperfections in how someone interpreted their border. I'll see Cindy's, Tish's and Sandra's love for me in what they thought I'd like. We didn't go into this with any hard rules. It was just for fun. This was just a good opportunity to share what I had learned.