The following are ideas and tips for successful Round Robins (many ideas are from the book Round Robin Quilts by Pat Magaret and Donna Slusser).
Commitment is a Biggie: When you sign up for the Round Robin exchange, you are committed to meeting the deadlines and finishing the project. Other people are depending on you. Remember that if one person does not bring her block to an exchange, the next person will have less time to work on it!
The golden rule of Round Robin quilts: Work on another person's project as you want her/him to work on yours.
Do your best work. Respect the project. Trim threads, sew neatly, press when finished, etc. Take care to match points and corners. Do your best to make the craftsmanship on the quilt as good as possible.
Avoid "great expectations" - don't enter a block hoping that it will turn into an heirloom. It just may do so, but you also may be disappointed if you have a preconceived notion as to how it will turn out.
In your notebook - include instructions like a size limit (wall hanging or make it as big as you want), or a color limitation (no pink or use as much purple as possible).
You may include fabrics in your bag and challenge your quilters to use just those fabrics, or give them the option of using their own too. If you are using a black background - supply that fabric.
Be willing to work with colors and color combinations you don't necessarily like. Add new colors to your stash if you don't have what the piece needs.
Adding to the quilt top:
Measure, measure, measure. Make sure your Medallion addition is “square" when you're done adding to it. When you get a new top to work on, it will help you to make sure it is "square" before you start your addition.
When adding blocks to a Medallion side, it helps to make sure each side of the top is divisible by 2, 3 or 5 plus a 1/2 inch seam allowance to allow you to add even-sized blocks. You may need to add a narrow strip to each side to achieve that.
Look at the piece carefully. Sometimes it is a good idea to add a plain/solid/or tone-on-tone border to give the eye a rest.
Medallion tops - Never Ever take out someone else's sewing. However, if the person before you has made an extra wide plain border on a Medallion, you may make it narrower to fit your math.
Improv tops - You may add anything anywhere, and make adjustments as needed to enhance the top, even slicing and rearranging what's already been done.
Look for units to repeat from the original block (such as half-square triangles, drunkard's path units, etc.) or to avoid (maybe the piece is already full of tiny triangles, or you might need to add some curvy pieces if it's very angular looking). Look for new colors to introduce, or add colors to tone down what's already there.
Think "what would complement the top or the center square" rather than "what would the originator like.”
If you are having difficulty deciding what to do - give it a rest, look at it for a couple of days, and see if it will "talk to you" later on.
Pull out graph paper, sketch out the top and possibilities - it could help when you're stuck for design ideas.
Take a color photo of the top, then change it to black & white. That may help you decide where to place fabric colors and tones.
This could be the most fun, creatively stretching exercise you have ever had in your quilting experience! If you feel stuck, call another group member for help and inspiration.
Sign up for the 2024 Round Robin here.
Questions? Visit the Directory for Mindy phone & email information.