Round robin quilt

Last year my sewing group organised a cushion swap with the idea that if we liked it, we would try something bigger. We liked it, and this year nine of us are trying a quilting round robin. Not everyone is taking part as not everyone has time to take on a new project like this.

Those who are joining in are each putting together a bag full of quilt starter ideas, be it a central medallion or blocks that can be added to. The rules are very loose: almost anything goes. Each month or so, we will swap bags and work on a different quilt by adding blocks or a border.

I have made up my starter kit. So far it contains:

  • a very large round block, inspired by Red Pepper Quilts
  • some of the fabrics that I have used
  • my notes and ideas
  • my 10-degree Sew Easy wedge ruler, just in case anyone else wants to play with it.
Giant scrappy Dresden plate made by Granny Maud's Girl using a 10 degree wedge ruler

This giant scrappy Dresden plate block is 40 inches across.

Planning a round robin quilt by Granny Maud's Girl

I will include some large pieces that can be used as background fabrics and some of my leftover strips in the round robin bag.

I trimmed away the background from behind the circle to reduce bulk. It also frees up a huge piece of fabric to be reused elsewhere in the quilt top.

I chose to make this block because I had been itching to make a giant Dresden plate for ages, ever since I saw Red Pepper Quilts’. I also thought something bright and colourful would be fun for the group to play with. I really do not mind what they decide to do next, as long as the fabrics are as bright and colourful as they can be. I am encouraging them to raid my stash for more fabric if needed, but I would love to see what bright fabrics they choose to contribute too. I have set some fabric guidelines, such as ‘no brown’ and ‘lots of orange’.

I sketched some ideas, and I would be happy to see any of these – or something completely different that I have not thought of. Mostly, I sketched the ideas to prove to myself that such a large block could be added to by a group. I did not want to set an impossible task. I know that some of my ideas will not work for a round robin, but they are part of the creative process.

What to do with a giant Dresden plate block ...

I sketched a few layout ideas. Not all are suitable for a group to work on.

What to do with a giant Dresden plate block ...

Then I sketched some more ideas! What should I draw in the last empty square?

Pulling fabrics out of the cupboard and cutting them into 2½-inch strips was lots of fun. As I raided my stash, two things went through my head:

  • ‘Goodness, I have a lot more brightly coloured fabric than I thought!’
  • every song associated with round things, such as Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’ and Spandau Ballet’s ‘Round and Round’, which I sang (badly and loudly) as I cut.
Granny Maud's Girl's fabric stash

I pulled out my bright green and blue fabrics.

Granny Maud's Girl's fabric stash

I wanted a lot of orange to really lift the brightness.

Granny Maud's Girl's fabric stash

I did not have as much bright red as I would have liked. I think I use it as quickly as I buy it!

Granny Maud's Girl's fabric stash

I stepped out of my comfort zone and included black and purple.

Giant scrappy Dresden plate made by Granny Maud's Girl using a 10 degree wedge ruler

From all of my fabrics, I cut 2½-inch strips.

The circle itself was surprising easy to make, thanks to the wedge ruler. The only advice I can give is to alternate the direction you press the seams on each wedge, but most quilters will do that instinctively. I did not need to follow Red Pepper Quilts’ tutorial, but I know it would be a great help if you are unsure how to put this together. The trickiest parts were appliquéing the centre circle on (there is a little puckering or easing around the middle on mine) and then squaring the enormous 40-inch block up after I had hand appliquéd the giant circle in place. I think I used every quilt ruler I owned, and I marked and checked and checked again before cutting.

The first swap handover day is 4 June. After that date, I will not see what happens to my block until it comes back to me in a year or so. In the meantime, I expect I will have a lot of fun working on everyone else’s round robin projects. Unfortunately, I do not know how much I can share here on my blog as I think we plan to keep everything under wraps.

What would you do if you were given a giant scrappy Dresden plate block to play with?


22 thoughts on “Round robin quilt

  1. You have given your round robin group such wonderful ideas Carla! I love the idea of the one with lots of circles or the noughts and crosses! You could have some great fun with those! It will be interesting to see how your quilts grow!

  2. I. Love. This. Such great inspiration drawings too. The off centre one appeals to me
    : ) Hope you get what you want
    Thanks too for your comment over at my place

  3. Whoa. Carla. You are so talented! Oh my. If you are this good, I can’t even imagine Granny Maud’s mad skills.

    Sadly, I would panic if I got a giant scrappy dresden plate block. But hey, that means I just have room to grow, right? 🙂

    • Oh dear, I don’t want them to panic! I do worry about the size. It looked smaller on paper! I plan to check with the group while I still have time to come up with plan B. Some of them are far more experienced than I am and the two beginners are the type who will give anything a go.

  4. I like to see those kind of projects but just watching from big distance. Being very orderly and matching person I would have hard time to be part of it 🙂

    • I know what you mean! I am normally an orderly and matching person too (and I like seams to line up) so group projects are often a challenge for me, but I am forcing myself to try this.

  5. What a beautiful Dresden Plate and oh my goodness you have so many lovely fabrics in your stash!

  6. What a great idea, but I don’t know if I could let go of my project that completely. What if someone decides to cut up your Dresden into quarters. And to pack up your ruler too! Oh, ye Woman of Great Faith.

    • I almost sewed the background in four pieces so it would be possible to take it apart into four fan shapes. Then I realised I would have to do the same for the centre. In the end I got lazy and kept it whole. But, yes, I do have faith in my friends. I have been sewing with them for 5 or 6 years, and they are trusting me with their work too.

  7. What a great idea to include some sketches and ideas for the next person. Because if I got a huge Dresden block I’d have no clue what to do with it. I like it in the middle though. Seems like if it’s the star of the show it should get centre stage. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

    • I think if I had not made such a foolishly large block, I wouldn’t have done the sketches, but when I had sewn the circle together and realised just how huge it was … We learn as we go, right!?

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