Robins are my favorite type of quilts. I must admit I like Row Robins a little better than Round Robins, but both are tons of fun. Carol Doak, the leader of my favorite on-line quilting group and queen of paper piecing, started us all on a no-mail round robin (called Yours Truly Round Robin) in January 2008. Every month for 6 months we were given instructions to follow for the center block and each round we added. The majority of the design was up to us but the challenge was to meet Carol's requirements as well.
Everyone who completed the robin and posted a picture by July 1 was entered into a random drawing to win a beautiful cherry wood keepsake box to display a quilt block. I was gonna make this quilt regardless but there came a time when the prize and the support of a fellow quilter (Thanks Birdie!) is the only thing that made me finish this challenge. I decided right away I wanted my YTRR to really represent Yours Truly - me. I decided to make a Quilter's Tribute. Quilting has been my saving grace over the last two years and I wanted to make something to help me remember. This quilt is my tribute.
My center block was my favorite free block off the online group site. It was a block Carol designed in celebration of the group reaching 700 members. Less than 2 years later we're almost at 4,000 members. I "fussy cut" cartoon quilters in Black, Red, Yellow, and Blue and surrounded each one in coordinating fabric. The center of the block was my favorite color -- ORANGE and I had some fabric that represented stacks of fat quarters that I used in the block. The block was a big one and almost 16 inches square. Lime green (another of my fave colors) brightened up the block and I also added a small lime green border to set off the first round.
The rules for the first round were easy all you needed were four paper-pieced corner blocks. I liked the idea of using free blocks but I wanted a thin round so I chose the mini quilt block design for the corners and used three blocks in each corner. The round was only 2 inches wide. I wanted to make each round a different color to match the cartoon quilters. The main color in my first round was black with orange corners and I finished it off with a small black border. To keep with the quilter tribute theme in the corner blocks are tiny little "fussy cut" quilt blocks that are less than 1 inch square. Too bad you can't see them in the photos.
The second round was easy too. All I had to do was use paper-pieced blocks with points. I decided to use LOTS of them. The main color in this round was red. I used another free block from the group site -- the star points from the September Block of the Month. The round had 44 points not counting the corners. This one was 4 inches wide. I used fabric with tomato pin cushions in the corners, but I didn't like it so I took that out and replaced it with Ellen's block (from 50 Bright and Bold Stars book) that had a black ribbon with a red heart in each corner. I liked that a lot better. The fabric didn't have any link to quilting except the heart fabric and hearts in the corners to show how much I love it.
The rules for round three said you had to use a paper-pieced rectangular block. I admit I took it easy on this round and only pieced 8 blocks. I used block 264 (from 300 Paper Pieced Quilt Blocks book) on the sides and Unit 22 (from Simply Sensational 9 Patch Stars) in each of the corners. Inside each block is a "fussy cut" sewing machine to keep with my quilting tribute theme. Between the borders is a really cool striped fabric with very bright colors. I kept this round at 4 inches wide. The main color is yellow.
Round four seemed like it was going to be the easiest round but it was actually the hardest. The rules said we could only use two colors. We could use multiple shades but had to stick to two main colors. I used black and blue and that's how I felt after completing it -- like someone had beat me until I was black and blue. I used a very common quilt block called flying geese as a tribute to quilting. But because of the size of the quilt I needed to make 20 blocks and each block had 28 pieces and each corner block had 12 pieces but I modified it to match the other blocks and it ended up with 14 pieces. I used block PB13 (from Carol's Designer Edition CD) and the corner blocks from the October Block of the Month (free block) in the corners. This was a tough round and took me a long time to piece, but I loved the results. This was another 4 inch round, this time with a blue focus.
I have to admit I knew what fabric was going to be in my last round when I started this quilt. If it didn't conform to Carol's rules, I just figured I'd add another round. But lucky for me it fit and I was able to take it a bit easier on the last round. I was already late with the fourth round and only had 2 weeks to complete the fifth. It only took me three nights after work. Not bad at all. The rules said we had to make paper pieced blocks that incoporated all the colors that were used in the center. This worked perfectly for me since every other round matched the four main colors of the center block (black, red, yellow and blue) so this was a great way to finish it off. I decided to use another free block -- the 2000 member celebration block -- which is a kind of mariner's compass star -- but I only used it in the corners. It takes 8 sections to make a whole block but I only needed 3/4 of a block in each corner. So ... only 24 sections -- 12 x 6" blocks -- much easier than round 4. I made it with red and blue star points with an orange and yellow center and I used that same Fat Quarter fabric (from the center) in the background rays. This one was my fattest round -- 6 inches wide. In between these blocks I used another fabric with cartoon quilters - I've been waiting to use this fabric for a while -- I love how it came out. Actually it is two different fabrics but from the same line - one looks like a quilter's show and tell and the other is quilters shopping. And to finish the quilt off I am adding a lime green binding in the same fabric I used to surround the center block.
So that is the saga of my Yours Truly Round Robin (aka YTRR). This quilt was fun to make and truly a tribute to quilting. I love it and hope you do too. I plan on keeping it in my sewing room to keep me warm this winter. I may have to pay someone to quilt it. I wouldn't know where to start!