Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Round Robin ABCs

It seems that every artist has a default color palette. There are those certain colors that we return to again and again. In my quilting, I’ve found that those preferences extend to prints as well.

Sometimes I don’t understand why I like the fabrics that I do. In my fabric library, for example, I have an extensive collection of fabric covered in chickens or fish. I have no particular affinity for either of those animals, but it’s difficult for me to walk away from those prints.

I also have a full range of alphabet-printed fabric, with the occasional set of numbers thrown in for good measure. (No pun intended, ha!) The colors coordinate surprisingly well — or maybe that’s not such a surprise based on my default color palette.

For the last two months, my quilt guild has offered a round robin sewing afternoon. Each of us brought a set of fabric — mine was the alphabet prints — and a plan for a modern quilt block that could be made in 30 minutes or less. We passed our fabric to the right and made our block with the set of fabric in front of us. We made five blocks from others’ fabrics, and in return ended up with five blocks in our own fabric sewn by others.

We made each block 12 1/2 inches (31.75 cm) square, and incorporated a piece of our own fabric as a “signature.” Some quilters kept their signatures small and unobtrusive, while others made theirs bold and obvious.

One challenge to the round robin was choosing a block pattern that could be made in 30 minutes or less. Ideally, the timing needed to be closer to 20 minutes because we were in a shop rather than at our usual sewing spaces at home. Sometimes we had to wait for time at the cutting table or ironing board, and sometimes we were simply being social.

I ended up with 16 blocks. Ten were made by the other quilters at the round robin. Five were my timed practice blocks. And one I sewed at home after another quilter accidentally cut too many half square triangles from my fabric. A plan for the layout is already in the works.

I enjoyed the round robin. I had a chance to get to know some of the women in my new guild, and I have most of a quilt top ready to go. I was able to pull all of the materials for the quilt from my stash, including thread and batting, so there was no extra expense. And by the time the quilt is done, I’ll have used up most of my alphabet prints. Now, what to do about those chickens and fish?

What colors or prints always catch your eye?


  1. I would love the alphabet prints also. I'm a pushover for text on fabric. Doesn't matter what it says, if it has words, I'm in. I have the Declaration of Independence, dictionary pages, sewing terms, pattern instructions, inspirational sayings. You name it, I love it!

    1. Oh, yes, those would be fun to use on just about any quilt! I think I have the Declaration of Independence in two colorways.


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