Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Row Robin Journey

At the end of June, in one of our monthly "Dallas Meet & Greet's", a friend asked if I would be interested in participating in a Round Robin quilt.  Since I had absolutely no idea what that was, I asked for details and then decided to give it a whirl.  As if I don't have enough on my plate this year as it is --- what is wrong with me?  Within a couple of weeks, the assignment groups were out and the first deadline of September 1st on the horizon.  I guess that meant I needed to get busy.  Somewhere along the way I get this bright idea to do TWO rows.  That way I can keep one for myself and attach a duplicate of whatever row I am working on at each stage to it as well.  I have now made double the work for myself.  Apparently I am just a glutton for punishment.  

First things first:  This is all in batik.  I have some bright batiks that I purchased for a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt last January and since I bought quite a bit, I can use some of those along with some leftovers from my Lazy Sunday quilt.  However, I do not have many neutrals at all.  Again, what was I thinking?  I am preparing to leave town in a couple of days to visit my daughter for a week.  If I take this with me, perhaps I can get some work on it accomplished.  That means a quick trip to the local quilt shop and within half an hour I have a stack of neutral fat quarters to work with.  I have decided that the first block will be the kite block from "Virginia Bound" by Bonnie Hunter.  This gives me the chance to use up lots of bits a pieces and odd shaped leftover strips.  I quickly throw the new fabric and a ziploc bag of brights into my suitcase along with a cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter.  Time to fly.

7/21  I am at my daughter's home in Cheyenne, Wyoming and my time this week is being spent watching my gorgeous granddaughters while their mom works extra shifts during Cheyenne Days.  I am lucky to have this time with them and am also blessed by having another daughter and three grandsons living in this city as well.  Once my daughter goes to work for the evening, Miss Elena and I set up a little mini ironing/cutting station on the table and get to work.  Elena helps by sorting the strips by size as I need a bit of variety in my blocks to keep them interesting.  Soon, we have a beautiful stack of strips all cut and ready to use.  LOVE the colors.

8/2  I have not had a chance to get back to this project for almost two weeks.  I flew to Denver yesterday and picked up two grandchildren to come and stay with us for 10 days and decide that now is a good time to start back up on this.  I have lost my mind.  In reality, we have quiet time each afternoon and while they sit and watch a movie of their choice, I sit nearby with my beautiful Featherweight, "Barbara", and stitch away.  My stack of papers is building.  I need 56 of these quarter blocks in order to complete my two rows.  I have set a goal of 4 quarter blocks per day - let's hope that works out.

8/15 - I am more than halfway through the quarter blocks.  All the kites are made and I am now adding the neutral edges and cutting into the final square.  I have been to Denver and back again, returned the grands, and am leaving tomorrow to pick up another grandson for a few days.  Life is certainly not dull around here.

8/16  Received my next row in the mail today.  Oh my, now I am really feeling behind.

8/20  I do a grandson switch out today and after a very full day, a chance to work on my quarter blocks presents itself.  I didn't get any quarters made at all yesterday, so today has a quota of eight.  I'd better get going.  After I finish the eight, I spend some time trimming the ones that are finished and I gotta say -- I am lovin' me these pretties

8/21 My fat quarters from the Batiks Etc. sale have arrived.  Yep, it didn't take me long to realize that I do not have enough for what is basically two quilts.  I immediately put the neutrals to work for more variety in my quarter blocks.

8/25  The quarter blocks are finished!  Thanks to Netflix, Breaking Bad, school starting so no grands, and Mister being out of town, I spent about 12 hours yesterday sewing away.  This morning I am able to make all the blocks and then get set to arrange them into rows.  Today is a good day!  My rows are complete and ready to mail.  What do you think?  I decide to hang them in front of the screen door and enjoy the stained glass look for a few minutes.

The journal entry is finished.  Extra fabric is included for sashings since even with all my calculating, my blocks are too big.  Others will need to sash theirs.  Ugh.

8/28 I finally make it out of the house today and get to the post office to mail the rows.  I made the deadline.  Woohoo.  Fist pumps in the air and all.  I even did this with grands everywhere all month.

10/2  I let the project sit during September so that I could be a lazy girl and spend the month reading all the Harry Potter books, watching the entire Breaking Bad series, and watching the entire second series of Dallas.  Doesn't that sound productive.  I did manage to select the block that I am going to use to add to the row I received.  I have chosen Bonnie Hunter's Big Bang from her Addicted to Scraps column in Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 6.  I think having a quilt in which each row contains a different Bonnie Hunter block will be fun.  Now the dilemma of how to integrate the colors so that they match the row I received AND the row I kept.  Once I have that in mind, I start cutting my strips.

10/3  There is a package at the door and my batiks (from the sale posted in the group - talk about peer pressure) have arrived!  Oh are they not ever so beautiful?  I am ready to finish cutting for my RR row.  Let the fun continue.  As soon as the strips are finished, my checkmark on the daily to do list is made and it is time to move on to other projects today.

10/6  Todays mission is to take all the strips and get them cut into the pieces I will need for 14 big, beautiful blocks.  What a bowl full of fun color this is.  I am going to keep with her theme and have a different color play in each block.  Well, I am going to try anyway.  I do not have anything even close to her main color and after checking in the shops nearby and not finding it either, I have opted to use more yellow.  Please let it work.

10/7  Let the units begin.  I am working on 4 blocks today - 2 of each colorway - however I did make the center four-patches  and yellow/black HST's for ALL the blocks.  I get all units for the 4 blocks finished today and ready for weaving tomorrow.

10/8 The first four blocks are finished - 10 to go.  I like them.  So many little pieces but I have put in the black that was included with the row and tried to tie in the light centers as well.  Does it work?

10/13 - The month is getting away from me.  I need to buckle down on the Row Robin and so have set a goal of two blocks per day.  I start by making units and wind up making all the units that will be needed for ALL blocks.  There are bright little stacks filling my tray and table.  What fun.

10/14 The blocks are made!  I lay them out in what I think is the right order for the two rows and determine the sashing I will need for my own row.  It is so annoying that I made that mistake and I know others will be equally annoyed with me.

10/15  The rows are finished and I all I have left to do is the journal work, fold everything up and head to the post office.  I am two weeks ahead of the deadline and thrilled to be so.

10/19 -- Finally made it to the post office --- my row is on it's way to the next worker bee.  I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my next opportunity to create as well.

10/21 - Fun, fun.  The doorbell rings and there is a package on the porch.  It is the next row that I get to work on.  I open it quick, read the journal before peeking at the row, and then open up the fabric.  Oh my --- this is beautiful and I am so very excited to get started.  I know that I want to use the Jelly Bean Blast block by Bonnie Hunter in Quiltmaker 100 blocks Volume 7 which is also the block she used in her Wanderlust quilt that was featured in Quiltmaker magazine July/August 2014.  I was in the beta class for this quilt almost a year ago in Plano and love the block.  I start pulling fabrics and making a rough plan of how to compose the block.  I will use some of the included fabric, some leftover squares from the previous row I worked on, and plenty of new fabrics as well.  This should be fun and since I am working on Wanderlust as a goal for November, I can just make these blocks at the same time.  Perfect.  I only need to pick up some more very light cream/tan fabrics for the corners.  Not too bad at all.

1/9 - Well, I finally got around to cutting the fabrics for this and I have to say that they changed quite a bit.  Oh well.  I think I'm really going to like it still.  I also received the next row -- oh goodness, I really need to get going.  While cutting, I go ahead and cut for the next block as well since I know what it will be.  I have one more day with girls and then all my attention will go to these and get them out.  I am loving both of them so far.

1/11 It's time to start this block and I do love the colors.  All the pieces are cut and I get to start putting the units together.  Here come the flying geese.
1/12  All the units are together and it's time to make some blocks.  Sew fun. Alas, no pictures.

1/16  Putting the blocks together into a row and loving how great it looks.  After I get the first one together and attached, I discover that my blocks are just a wee bit large and it is causing wave in the row.  It comes back off. (See the wave - ugh)

I put together the remaining units for the second row and sew a slightly larger seam.  Perfect and the row is ready to attach to the mother ship.  This has been an all day project but it is ready to go into the mail and is only one day late.  Tada.

2/5  And that larger row?  Well, while at retreat it goes onto my row robin that has larger blocks anyway.  It works.

2/6  My retreat project is to get the next row ready to mail.  Since I precut everything awhile back, itis totally ready to go.  The block I have selected is Talking Turkey by Bonnie Hunter and can be found in Quiltmaker 100 blocks Volume 5.  It's time to get to work.  I put all the units together for the first block and see if it is the right size.  Success!  Lesson learned from last month.  Isn't this pretty with the purples, teals, and blues?  Once all the little geese and the center nine patches are finished it is time for string blocks.  Lots and lots of string blocks.


2/7  Yep they are coming together and looking nice.

Sides on

And tops --- the stack is building nice now.

Now for rows.  I get them together and am now on hold until I return home from retreat.  I left the mother ship there and it's dang hard to attach without it.  Oh well.  Another day.

2/18 -- Ten days!  Where has the time gone?  Let's get this row attached and put this puppy into the mail.  I like it and sure hope the next person adds light in their block as well.

2/11  Oh yeah -- while at retreat, Jennifer Smiley gave me the next top to work on.  Golly but she is on top of things.  Now to pick out a pattern and fabrics for this one.  I pull all fabrics that I have in this color scheme and realize that I need some blue.  Will have to pick that up.  I have picked out the pattern and it will be Bonnie Hunter's Jared Takes A Wife from the free patterns tab on her website.

3/20  Allison was over for the day and I spent all day cutting the blocks for this row robin.  I was able to get some fabric from Debra Linker on Valentines Day and it was delivered this past Saturday at the Dallas Quilt Show.  It all works so well -- can't wait to see how this one turns out.

3/27 Obviously I have not moved forward on my blocks.  Ugh.  What a lazy bones.  What has happened, though, is that Jennifer has finished another row and delivered a top to me at our girl's day.  Once again, I have two in the house to finish.  It's time to get in gear.

3/29  So what do I do?  Well, pick out fabrics for the new one -- naturally.

Look at these purples, blacks, and pinks.  Ooooooh.  This is going to be such fun.  Fabric and pattern selection done.

3/30 While I'm on a roll, I'll just go ahead and cut the second top as well.  What a yummy bunch of pieces.  I'm pretty excited about this one.  Can you tell?  I have chosen Bonnie Hunter's Midnight Flight block.  I think the lines will work well.

4/20  It's time to buckle down and get these blocks made.  I have a deadline looming.  Jared Takes a Wife is back on center stage.  Strippin' away.

Next step is twosies and then four-patches.  Don't you just love the simplicity of a four patch?

I know I do.  The next step is to add the sashing and cornerstones to the units.  I know have these cute little units all ready to go.  Of course it is a ton of them.  Each time I do this, I am making two rows, or one fourth of a quilt.

This block is a bit more muted than what I have been making.  Makes me wonder how it will all fit in on my own BH top.  Hmmm.

4/21  I might as well keep going.  Let's get the 1/2 chevrons finished and then hook them together.  Oooohh, I am loving the earthy tones of these.  It's gonna look so cool.

This is so much fun that I am going to keep going.  I want to see how the blocks are going to look so I take the time to put two of them together.  Oh yeah --- good stuff.

4/22 -- My goal for today is to finish this row.  Can it be done?  First things first.  I grab my new kind of mini design wall that I made and put it to use.  Sorting through the stacks, I put everything together for each block in a little mini pile.  Now to lay them out and sew, sew, sew.  What do you think of my blocks?  I absolutely love them.

There's no stopping this train now.  Within no time, I have one row complete and ready to attach to the mother ship.

It's a good thing since I now have to pack it up and zip it in the mail tomorrow.  Oh I am so glad that everything fit together well.

5/8  I am on day 9 of retreat and am ready to place these blocks on my sewing table to get started.  I have been crowned and guess I need to show that I can be queenly about getting things done.  Midnight Flight -- here we come.  Chains, chains, chains.  Yep, this much I think I can do.

Now to see if these little twosies can become a usable unit.  Four patches everywhere.  And HST's.  And 1/2 chevrons.  Am I making the same block as the last top?  Did I screw up when cutting pieces.  Nope.  Just a different arrangement.  These chevrons are not being put together.  Once I have amassed enough to put a block together, it gets the best of me and I NEED to see how it is going to look.  Right now!  Oh goodness.  I'm lovin' it.

6/15  Where has the time gone?  Oh, I know.  I got lost in Quiet Book land.  Today I am going to buckle down and get these blocks finished.  Mission accomplished.

6/16  I am going to finish today.  Yes I am.  Both rows are made and on the tops.  Oh my goodness.  I am caught up.  What a great feeling that is.

6/29  The last top has arrived from Jennifer.  All the blocks are wonky.  Oh my.  I don't do wonky.  Is there even a Bonnie Hunter block that IS wonky.  Time to do some research.

7/30  It has taken me a full month to get back to this.  Today I take the time to select the fabrics that I wish to use.  I think I am going to do Bonnie's Maverick Stars pattern and hope for the best.  Scared to death.

8/10  See how scared I am.  It takes me until today to even start cutting on this.  Oh my.

Here is a copy of my monthly blog post regarding tonight:  "For my evening entertainment I have decided to try and put one of my RR blocks together.  They are wonky stars and guess what I am learning?  I am not capable of wonky.  I know that sounds bizarre but for some reason I just can't get it.  Are wonky blocks ever really truly wrong?  No, but they may not be as wonky as possible.  After three of them, I call it a night and hope that tomorrow everything will click in my feeble brain.  Ugh, there is a reason they say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

8/11   From the update:  "Oh my goodness!  I did it!  I got a wonky block.  I'm so excited I could pee my pants and Mister says to me, "it's not that wonky."  Really?  What a bubble burster.  Compared to the first three yesterday --- this puppy is dang wonky.  I tackle two more before calling it a night and am oh so pleased.  They look so fun.  Each one got a little better although Mister sure thought it was fun to watch me furrow my brow as I tried to put things at an angle instead of straight."

8/12  Blocks are finished!  Woohoo.  Now to figure out the order, make the rows and attach them.  It IS going to be finished today.

I settle in and by dinner time have completed both tops.  Yes, BOTH.  What a great feeling this is.  I have even written in Carol's journal and packaged up her top for mailing.  This project is in the books.   What fun!

Carol's finished top:

My finished top of all the rows I sent out:

8/18  My top is BACK!!!!  I tear into the package and quickly lay it out.  Look how fun it is.  Since my blocks were crazily the wrong size, I LOVE how everyone worked around that.  Perfect.

As each person's completed tops are posted, I will add them here.

Jana's finished top:

Bonnie's finished top:

Jennifer's finished tops.

Sandra's top

This has been such a wonderful project and I cannot believe how much I learned.  Thank you, Suzanne, for including me in this.  What a great adventure it has been.  UPDATE ------

I have quilted my second one that has a row of each one that I sent out.  I used a blue backing, a simple loopy stipple, and a scrappy binding from leftover strips.  I love it and had it signed by Bonnie Hunter when we spent some time together at the end of 2015.  What do you think?  These are the pictures she took.

June 2016 -

As I load the top into the frame, the circles on Jennifer S's row remind  me of planets so I decide on a panto with starts.  And here we go, quilting is in process:

 As it comes off the frame, I like it even more than before.  Yummy bright colors.

It's June 30 and I was hoping for a finish this month, but it is almost 11:00 o'clock at night by the time I trim the edges.  Binding will have to wait for July.

July 3, 2016 --- Binding is being sewn on finally.

Binding is complete and I have the actual Row Robin complete finally.  Woohoo.  It didn't go beyond a year.


  1. Wow! Those are some crazy rows! Funny how they all look good together. I could never sew while watching Breaking Bad - I loved it, but I had my eyes closed a lot! lol

    1. HAHAHA Sewing gave me an excuse not to look up. I can't believe how well it all came together either. Thanks for following.