Monday, August 1, 2016

Mini Round Robin: Round 3

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.


  1. Breaking up your border with the multi color print and softer grey print does just what Wolfrom recommends by not adding something too large to compete with the center. I think you are all doing a wonderful job and I am really enjoying watching these quilts grow.

  2. Julie, #1 I love you, because made me sound like I knew what I was doing :) Actually, thank you for the tip on the book. I just grabbed a copy and can't wait to read over it before the next round. I love what you have done with your round. The batik print really does contain the same colors in the center of Sandra's block. One thing that I noticed when I had it was all of the colors, but because it is so small they don't immediately jump out at you. And the pop of gold in the center of the purple squares was genius.

  3. Nice border! Your multi-color fabric is spot on.

  4. This is going to be a hard act to follow Julie. I think the border you added is spot on enhancing what Sandra started with and Tish added. This has indeed been fun.

  5. I'm participating in my first round robin with three other Quilty bloggers and learned so much from this one post. We are starting on Sat.

  6. I noticed right away, well, a few things: first I LOVE the floral fabric, and I love flowers so you nailed that addition. Then those gold corners just PULL the warmth from the centre. Thank you for adding those personal touches; it makes it so much more than just fabric. What you two have added to my centre just makes my heart sing. Can't wait to see what magic Cindy works and then to get it back here and finish it and put it on my wall!

  7. Oh my goodness this has been SO fun to watch and extremely educational too. I've seen Tish's Post and now this one and moving on to read Sandy's. You guys should do this once a year! Now this is what I call great blog material.

  8. I think it looks great. I'm doing a round robin as well. I'm at a point where I think I need to go simple as there's a lot going on already in the previous. Having trouble trying to figure out what to do. It was good to read your post.

  9. I've not done a round robin, but it has to be hard to add to what's already been done. Your addition works really well in adding to the quilt without overpowering what was already there.

  10. The border you added looks great. So glad you added the gold in the corners-it pulls the centre block out. Love watching these quilts grow.

  11. Interesting reflection on round robin quilts!

  12. An interesting project and post--thanks.

  13. Interesting post and very informative about Round Robins. I have participated in one a long time ago. Was not too successful as I never got mine back from the last person who had it.

  14. I really enjoyed the thought process that went into deciding what border should be next. Choosing fabrics and a design for someone else is intimidating, and it's always nice to read how others approach it. I will be buying that book, it sounds like a necessary resource! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Your border goes very good to the rest of The Round Robin!

  16. Round Robins are totally fun! The creativity of the individuals, and seeing things that we don't, adds so much more to a quilt. Thanks for sharing on Midweek Makers

  17. Many thanks for your inspiration and link to the Show and Tell Monday / Bambi Hug

  18. great post and good color palette!


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