I am so excited to finally be able to share with you something that I have been so fortunate to be a part of... The Round Robin Rebels.
And our story is featured in the February 2014 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting!
If you don't have a subscription, you really need to grab one at the newstand when it is available because you won't want to miss it! Trust me on this.
So, who and what are The Round Robin Rebels you ask??
A little background....
This incredible adventure started as a late night conversation with a couple friends (who also happen to be fantastic designers) two years ago while sharing a couple chocolate martinis, courtesy of Gudrun Erla of GE Designs.
We were lamenting about the lack of time we set aside to make anything for ourselves, and how cool it would be if we could do something that would challenge us and force us out of our comfort zones. We tossed around some ideas, brainstormed, and talked several times after that night and almost a year later, Gudrun (GE Designs) finally came up with....
Four designers with different quilting styles.
Four months from start to finish.
Round Robin quilts.
We were to start by making our own center block. ANY size. ANY shape. Pick 20 fat quarters and send them along with 3 yards of a background fabric and our center block to the next person on the list. The recipient had 1 month to add whatever she wanted.... one border, multiple borders, borders on 3 sides. We could add fabric if we felt the need, or use what was in the box. The idea was total creative freedom. WOW! It sounded like bliss to me!
Or at least it did until I got that first box. And the next.... And by then I was seriously wondering when I had lost my mind, what I had gotten myself into, and how I was going to dig myself out. The fear. The uncertainty. The challenge of working in a completely different style. And with someone else's fabrics. Ohmygosh. I was completely overwhelmed and scared to death.
To give you an inside glimpse of our adventure, we will each be posting once a week about a specific designers' quilt. This week, we are focusing on Gudrun Erla of GE Designs.
To see Gudrun's perspective on making her center block, go here.
I was the second person to get Gudrun's quilt. I was little apprehensive because our quilting styles are so different and I had no idea what to expect. So I slowly opened the box, pulled out the quilt, put it on my design wall, then stepped back and just stared at it thinking "No way. I can't do this."
Bright colors on a black background! And what Kari added was so cool. I had no idea what to do and I let it hang on my wall for almost a month. Every day, I stared at that quilt. And every day, that quilt stared back at me. The time was ticking away (we only had one month to add to each quilt and get it to the next person) and I had nothing.
My first impulse was to somehow build off of Kari's border and still keep the rounded circle theme going. I loved the "exclamation points" Kari put in the corners but she had used almost all of the gray flower fabric. So my dilemma was how to add onto them using different fabrics, yet make it look like it was planned.
To give you a glimpse of my thought process, here is an excerpt from my Round Robin Journal:
Still staring at this quilt center. I love how it looks right now and what Kari did with her border. It is just difficult to add anything onto it. Unless I continue what she did in the corners..... hmmmm..... I need to explore that a little bit.
I tried cutting some curvy strips and stitched them together. I like the concept, but it doesn’t translate well to the fabrics. They are too dominant, too strong, and just compete with each other, all screaming for attention, to be seen, which then drowns out everything else that has been done up to this point. Honestly, I think I just need to expand on the black and dark gray and use the bright colors sparingly.
I have an idea I drew out today, but I’m not sure it will work. I've realized when I’m working with my own fabric, I don’t care as much if I mess up and throw away pieces that don’t work. But that is all different when I only have fat quarters and someone else bought them, picked them out SPECIFICALLY, and who knows if I could find the fabric again. Now THAT’S intimidating! I think with this one, I will make a trip to the quilt shop, buy some fabrics that are close to what she included and do a trial run, just to see how it looks. That will be tomorrow’s task.
I finally found a great piece of black and gray polka dot fabric that I thought was a perfect compliment to Gudrun's fabric choices. And I toyed around with adding yellow rick rack.
Nope. Didn't like that at all.... Too much of the polka dot and the rick rack just didn't fit with the style of the quilt. Then I spent a day drawing out Gudrun's center and Kari's border in Illustrator so I could mess around with different aspects of the designs and eventually landed on a solution I liked. By replicating Kari's exclamation points, I could make them into jacks! (Who else remembers playing jacks with a superball when they were young?!)
One of my ideas was to applique big half circles between the "jacks", but it was too much and overpowered the center design. So I made smaller circles in various sizes.
No, I didn't use the larger half circle. And yes, I was heartbroken when I couldn't find any to replace that huge piece I cut. But I did eventually cut a smaller circle out of it and was really happy when I could carry the "jacks" theme further by adding various size circles on my border using different fabrics that were included in Gudrun's box.
I absolutely love the final result and what it added to Gudrun's quilt! And although the entire process for each quilt was hard for me, I would do it again in a heartbeat. The weekend we spent together doing the big "reveal" of the completed quilts at Meredith Corp. was a total blast.
I love these girls. I love all of the finished quilts. And I can't wait to do this again!!!!
So now, I encourage you to find a few quilting friends and start your own round robin quilt if you have never done one before. It is totally worth it! You can follow along on our blogs this week and in the weeks to come to get little tidbits and thoughts from each of us about our quilts and our journey together.
Terry Atkinson (Atkinson Designs)
Kari Carr (New Leaf Stitches)
Gudrun Erla (GE Designs)
You can also visit AllPeopleQuilt/863 for additional videos and links from our time spent at the American Patchwork & Quilting studio.
And if that isn't enough, we have created a RoundRobinRebels Facebook page where you can share your round robin journey with us and be the first to find out when we do this again, because we are all ready!