I had never considered doing a Round Robin because I was pretty new to machine quilting but I had heard of them and even read Jennifer Chiaverini's book Round Robin from her Elm Creek Quilts series. So I was practically an expert right?
In 2006, I was invited to join one of the bees in the Round Robin guild in Houston because they were short one group member. I agreed but, was nervous/excited. I was committing to 5 other people that I would reliably complete my part of their quilts and on a schedule! YIKES. I was promised technical support and emotional support from my bee members who knew my experience level and had all participated before so I happily accepted. We had a nifty little packet with some basics inside (rules, contact info for all group members, due dates, basic directions for sizing borders for quilts, and basic round robin etiquette).
Our group rules were:
1. We had 6-8 weeks to complete each round depending on holidays and our availability. These were all set up at the first meeting.
2. We would all write up an explanation or give a general picture of what we wanted OUR end product to be. Such as size limitations- must be Twin size or no bigger than 60" X 60" for a certain place on the wall, Applique welcome, no fusible applique, No whites only off whites, no florals- for a man etc, hate the color blue etc...
3. We could provide all the fabric that would be used in our quilts or we could allow others to add fabric from their own stashes as they saw fit.
4. At our meetings we would take turns leaving the room while our own quilt was discussed. For example: During my quilt's turn, I would leave the room while the other group members brainstormed, on what the next round should potentially contain. But ultimately it was each persons prerogative what they added to each quilt when it was their round- the discussion was for suggestions not orders.
5. We would each journal about the quilt we were adding borders to, explaining why, giving the name of a pattern or designer, tell where we got the idea etc... These would be given to the quilts owner at the end.
The first big question: what will my medallion be?I knew I wanted a colorful wallhanging to be my finished product. I decided to forbid use of white, off white and only use pastels very slightly. It would be black and jewel tones for the most part. I had a general stained glass effect in mind. I had several exciting ideas but I ended up deciding against all my first ideas because, for all of them I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the finished quilt to look like. That is a recipe for disappointment in a Round Robin--going in with a very clear picture of what you want is a mistake- you have no input other than the few limits you set at the beginning of the exchange so it is best to go in very open minded and flexible.
In the end this was my chosen center.
(did I mention I am NOT photogenic?)I had seen the pattern in Fons and Porter Magazine and decided it was exactly the right thing. It was scrappy, looked good made in my color scheme, I liked it but didn't really know where I would go with it if someone handed it to me but thought it had several possibilities, it also had four points and four is my favorite number.
So I gave my block and a pile of fabrics over to my fellow group members and embraced the first of my five members' quilts and was off!