Saturday, March 26, 2016

Round Robin Reveal

 Beautiful quilt blocks by Elsa, Wendy, Cher, Ellen, Andrea & Brittany.

This is a week that I have been looking forward to for a long time! Last March the Portland Modern Quilt Guild mini-group that I belong to started a round robin. Each of us came up with our own theme and created a starting block. Along with our blocks we included a notebook to discuss our themes, and as each person added to the quilt they wrote notes about what they created and how they were inspired. Beyond the suggestion to look at the quilt and see what it needed next, there were no rules for how to add to the quilt. Quilts were randomly switched every other month, which meant that we got to add to six different quilts, and six different friends added to ours! Speaking of six, despite moving over 600 miles away halfway through the year, I got to keep up with my group and we mailed the quilt tops back and forth.

The Big Reveal!
 This month's timing turned out so that I got to be in town for the big reveal! What an exciting night it was! The image above is my finished quilt. Am I lucky or what? It brought tears to my eyes! I'm just so thoroughly tickled by the whole process and what my friends made that I was moved to write about it. Below, you'll find details about everyone's contributions. 

The starting block
I saw this pattern, "Turkey in the Straw" a couple years ago and was immediately drawn to it. I had been wanting to make it for something, so the start of a round robin seemed like the perfect project! I found references to the pattern from 1933 and 1937. It was either named by or created by a woman named Nancy Cabot. Another name for it is "Swing in the Center". One of the things I love about the block is that it was inspired by square dancing, specifically to the song, "Turkey in the Straw" which is sung to the tune of another old song, "Do your ears hang low". Four dancing couples are represented by the white and blue bars, and arrows point the gents to swing their ladies to the center.
I shared in my notebook how this block inspired me, specifically in regard to dance, music and rhythm. I love how a pattern in fabric can make my mind travel so many places! I also included some extra fabric that I encouraged my friends to use (or not) to their heart's content. 

Andrea's addition

Andrea chose "Boy's Nonsense", a variation on my original block. I love the fabric she used for it. The flowers are a Liberty of London print that I have had for a number of years, and the blue and white fabric I found more recently. It was one of those in the store that I just loved, but didn't have a plan for. I love her placement of them, and how perfectly they parallel the left and right edges of the "Turkey in the Straw" block.

Elsa's addition

Elsa made these cheery "Scrappy Star" blocks picking up with Andrea's fabric choices and adding this lovely yellow wood grain. I love how she matched the grain with the direction of the stars, so their points really stand out!

Ellen's addition

Ellen decided on the placement for Elsa's blocks which was a nice balance for the placement of Andrea's blocks. She noticed that there were a lot of diagonals throughout the blocks, so she had the great idea of finding a block to "ground" the diagonal lines. Her block is called "Checkered Folds" by Yvonne Malone. In her stash, she had this lovely dandelion fabric that matches so beautifully with the original blue in my block. She included extra fabric for me, which I will definitely be able to use!

Wendy's addition part one
Wendy added a whole song to the quilt! It's a round of the song"Shoo Fly", which she explained is a personal favorite. When one of her daughters was in preschool she learned the tune and sang it for about nine months! 

Wendy sang it for me;
Shoo, fly, don't bother me.
Shoo, fly, don't bother me.
Shoo, fly, don't bother me.
For I belong to somebody.
I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.
I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star.

She told a hilarious story of working on her addition to the quilt. She had just had surgery and was on pain medication in bed and had the brilliant idea to make all of these intricate notes. When her medication would start to wear off, she would wonder what she got herself into with all of those tiny hand appliqu├ęd pieces! Then, she'd take another pill and be happy as a clam to work on it! I'm happy as a clam that she did it, I think it's just wonderful!

Wendy's addition part two
And of course, what better way to finish of the "Shoo Fly" song than with a "Shoo Fly" block! I love how these fun polka dots mimic the notes in the song, and I also love Wendy's use of different colors of linen to create the staff.

Brittany's addition part one

Brittany made approximately one million darling Crossed Canoe blocks. She was inspired by Wendy's music notes and thought of songs that she sang during her camp days. She also sang it for me at the reveal, and it is so sweet! I hadn't heard it before.

Here are the lyrics;

My paddles keen and bright,
Flashing with silver
Follow the wild goose flight.
Dip, dip and swing.
Dip, dip and swing.

And if you'd like to hear it, I found a group singing it on vimeo that is really nice rendition.

Brittany's addition part two
Brittany also made this darling "Singing in the Rain" block! Isn't it just cheery and delightful? I love the flowers and bumblebees in the umbrella.

Cher's addition
Cher was inspired by Brittany's "Singing in the Rain" block, and did these incredible wonky/liberated letters. I love their staggered placement and how it echoes the sound of the song. She also created the gold and blue border around the edges that really ties it all together. Cher has a collection of butterfly fabric, and I didn't realize until I got it home, but the background yellow has sweet little butterflies in it so I will definitely think of her whenever I see it!

The final quilt top
All of the colors in the quilt just make me feel so happy, calm and content. The gorgeous blocks made by my friends, and the ideas behind them, make it even more precious. I can't wait to finish it and wrap myself up in song, dance, and friendship! Thank you so much, ladies!