Earlier this week, at one of our regular sewing mornings, my sewing group revealed the finished projects made as part of our round robin swap.
The rules of our swap were simple: each person taking part put together a bag of quilt starter ideas, be it a pattern, some fabric, a central medallion or a block that could be added to. Almost anything was allowed. Every four weeks, we swapped bags and worked on a different quilt by adding blocks or a border. The project was a lot like our Possum Magic round robin, except everyone was local, we had less time for each round, what we could include in each bag was not limited by postage rates, the projects were kept secret and the rules about what went into each bag were completely open.
Technically, we finished a few weeks ago, but we wanted to wait for a date when everyone who took part could be together for the big reveal. It was so worth it!
In May last year, I made a large, scrappy Dresden plate block. In early June, I put it in a bag and handed it over to eight other ladies in my sewing group. I did not see it again until this week.
They gave me back this.
I am so very impressed! It is bright and cheerful. Rereading my notes, I notice I asked for ‘bright and colourful’, and they certainly met the brief.
While they were working on my quilt, I was working on theirs. I apologise for the poor photographs, but I will try to convey the variety and fun of each project.
The block-based projects
Carol asked for a complicated and brightly coloured foundation paper pieced block. She included a beautiful selection of tropical fabrics, some bought on holiday in Hawaii, and we were encouraged to add fabrics from our stash. Many in the group had never tried foundation paper piecing before. Lessons were arranged and everyone did a sterling job.
Denise upended her well-stocked stash and pulled out all the Asian and Asian-inspired fabrics. Her collection included beautiful panels bought in Japan (which she encourage us to cut up, but none of us had the heart to do) and traditional hand-dyed prints from Indonesia. We went to town. Some of the blocks in this collection are stunning. There are Japanese torii gates, crests and sashiko, as well as lanterns and carp. I should have taken an individual photo of every block while they were at my house, but I was silly and forgot.
Deidre asked us to make leaf blocks in combinations of rust and navy. She provided a layout map with block sizes, but we could do anything we liked as long as it was sort of leafy. She has been making some other blocks to add to this collection before assembling them into a top.
Nikki’s project was the easiest. She just wanted lots and lots of colourful hashtags. She even supplied the fabric.
The medallion quilts
Sharon wanted a Christmas quilt. She said she was happy with whatever came, as long as it was Christmassy.
This actually started out as a block-based project, but Denise, always a star contributor in our group, took the blocks and laid them out, added appliquéd corners and borders and transformed the whole project into something amazing. She was frantically sewing until the morning of our big reveal and still has one border to sew down.
Gail wanted rich, jewel-tone blue, green and purple stars on a white background.
Elgar likes cats. We did not deliberately set out to make a cat quilt, but when Denise suggested appliqué in the outer borders, we knew it had to include cats. I am rather proud of the needle-turn paws I sewed.
Trena is from the USA and based here in Perth temporarily. Her bag included a Dresden plate block, and some Terra Australis (by Emma Jean Jansen) fat quarters. I wanted to do some appliqué after admiring the kangaroos and flowers Denise had added to the centre, but when it was my turn, half Dresdens seemed more appropriate. Others carried on the fun appliqué later.
Am I not a lucky duck!?
I think my quilt is perfect. I do not have to do anything to it except choose a backing and start planning how to quilt it.
I was the one who suggested and planned this round robin, but I think that everyone in the group merits thanks. I watched everyone collaborate, plot and trade fabric and ideas to make it happen. I particularly like how people came up with ideas for borders that needed many hands and then pitched their ideas to others to make it happen. I saw Denise and Deidre both do that, but I know a lot more was going on that I was unaware of, such as whoever planned my four-person flying geese border (which has perfect points). I saw the care, thought and attention each person tried to put into their contribution in every project. Our local sewing group has almost thirty members and only nine felt they had the time to join in, but we all chipped in moral support and ideas.
Has your sewing group organised a swap like this one? How did it go?