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37.6 How Round Robins Work

May 23, 2015

This is a post describing how round robins work, or rather, how our round robin worked, complete with pictures.

If you missed a while on the blog or were redirected here from elsewhere, I was included in a multi-group internet friends (twilter-twitter quilter friend) round robin quilt exchange.

One fantastic lady, Daisy of Lazy Daisy Quilts decided to put together a round robin quilt exchange and asked for signups from interested people back at the beginning of 2014.

There were enough ladies who wanted to participate that we had 3 groups: Twilter Round Robin Group A, Twilter Round Robin Group B, Twilter Round Robin Group C. Our group was Group A

Basic Definition of a Round Robin quilt exchange:

Round Robin quilts are long-term projects in which each person works on other peoples’ projects during the time of the round robin, passing along a quilt idea, fabric, and a rapidly growing partial quilt top to each participant until the quilt ends back in the original quilter’s possession.

For me, it all started off with a pattern from electric quilt, a fabric choice & then a block.

center for round robin quilt darla

Here’s the first question I am asked when talking about the round robin: How does it work?

Generally, a round robin quilt (as our group did it) is an agreement between friends or strangers and friends to work on a quilt of someone else’s with the understanding that they will work on yours in return.

My role in the round robin:

  1. I made the center of the quilt. I decided what colors to be used & original quilt direction.
  2. I selected fabrics for the quilt to use in the quilt.
  3. I provide some kind of guidelines or suggestions to the others in the group for working on the quilt.
  4. I send the quilt onto the next person in the list (in the mail or in person). I am always sending to the same next person.
  5. I receive someone else’s quilt in the mail, with their center (or more), their fabrics, their instructions. I am always receiving a quilt from the same previous person.
  6. I work through an appropriate design to add a border to the outside of the quilt. Using math, graph paper, books or websites for inspiration, sometimes electronic quilt blocks or suggestion from Electric Quilt 7 (EQ7).
  7. I follow general guidelines by the round robin coordinator for each round to help spur imagination or direct the appropriate design. Not to be used religiously with all quilts in all situations, but to help stretch each quilter, and attempt to provide harmony with the finished project.
  8. I finish my section of the new border, sometimes making changes due to size restrictions, or fabric shortages which happens because we’re not always great at figuring out in advance what fabrics others would be appealing to the general design or just underestimation. Sometimes this step also requires purchasing fabric of our own.
  9. I write down something interesting in the process in the quilt journal. (optional) I write my name on a label provided by the original quilter (optional, but fantastically helpful in the end).
  10. I send the quilt top with my new border to the same next person in line.
  11. Receive the new quilt, repeat steps 5-10 until the original quilt comes back. I have a full quilt top and a full label and journal.

Twilter Round Robin Group A final collage

 

The coordinator has a lot of decisions to make before getting the round robin started.

The round robin coordinator’s role:

  1. They decide the groups (if more than 6 want to be part of the round robin) 5-6 people seem to be a good match for this round robin.
  2. They create a deadline for each border swap.
  3. The estimate the approximate amount of each type of fabric needed to make the quilt work, suggest the amount of background fabric, focus fabric, and other fabric to be used in making of a quilt top.
  4. The estimate the sizes of each of the borders to be proportional to the space on the quilt.
  5. They create general guidelines to help direct the future quiltmakers down a path to help create a good quilt and/or to ask people to work out of their own comfort zones.
  6. They coordinate the addresses and order of each person to do the round robin.
  7. They answer general questions, help figure out if deadlines need adjusted.
  8. They type up all the info and get it to the participants. Follow up if needed in some areas. Perhaps some handholding or drama-gathering if needed in some groups.
  9. Remind us it’s all fun.

Round Robin Twilter Group A

As you can see above, we had 6 different quilts with 6 different personalities and styles.

How does the passing of the quilts work?

Because we had a round that we passed quilts on to each other, and each person was in a different order, we were able to affect each quilt at a different stage of its development.

  • The first two quilts each of us received, we were only beginning to shape the look and feel of the quilt to follow.
  • The next round brought the middle into focus, the meat of the quilt,
  • The last two rounds were on the finishing side of the round, these were larger & took up more time & fabric.

Our round went like this:

Daisy passes to me, I pass to Diane, Diane pass to Laura, Laura pass to Tami, Tami pass to Tina, Tina pass to Daisy.

twilter round robin how the quilts got passed in a round

And each of us had our own version of that. The drawing above shows how the quilts were passed around.

My role in the round robin Group A, and the quilts as I saw them in the order I worked on them

Round 1 – Daisy

Since Daisy’s was the first round robin quilt I saw, it was the first one I worked on, and thus the smallest round to do.

This is a collage of the completed quilt of Daisy’s (on the left), the block as I received it, and the block as I finished it.

daisys finished quilt center and my portion

Once completed, I wrote in the journal, and on the label, then sent it in the mail to Diane.

Once Daisy was finished with the next quilt – Tina’s quilt, she sent it in the mail to me. As you will see I was always receiving from Daisy and sending to Diane. So I really only had to have 1 address.

Round 2 – Tina

Tina’s quilt only had her center and Daisy’s first border. The sky was the limit here.

tinas finished quilt center and my portion

The picture above is Tina’s finished quilt on the left. Top right is the original block, middle right is the quilt top as I received it, bottom right is the quilt top I sent out.

Round 3 – Tami

At the “halfway point” everyone was working on the opposite person’s quilt. I was working on Tami’s quilt when she was working on mine.

tamis finished quilt center and my portion

 

The picture above is Tami’s finished quilt on the left. Top right is the original block, middle right is the quilt top as I received it, bottom right is the quilt top I sent out.

Round 4 – Laura

Laura’s quilt was based on neutral fabrics. Greys and browns dominated the landscape of this quilt top with dramatic golds and blue hues thrown in for a smidge of color

lauras finished quilt center and my portion

 

The picture above is Laura’s finished quilt on the left. Top right is the original block, middle right is the quilt top as I received it, bottom right is the quilt top I sent out.

Round 5 – Diane

Diane’s quilt was mostly done. I was trying to figure out an appropriate finish for her quilt.

dianes finished quilt center and my portion

 

The picture above is Diane’s finished quilt on the left. Which is also the portion that I worked on and sent out to her. Top right is the original block, bottom right is the quilt top as I received it.

More notes about Round Robin Quilts & observations

Since it was a center-focused round robin where we added further borders to the outside of an already ‘finished’ project, so the projects usually take on a medallion feeling.

Each quilter has to essentially be a “border designer”, and has to be willing to either ‘do the math’ or make a program (like EQ7) do the math for them.

I used inspiration from either drawing graph paper, or Electric Quilt 7, or a book on borders, or pinterest pictures, or various books on techniques. Sometimes I tried several different versions of the quilt, but once I kept seeing one version in my mind more than 1 day, that is the variation I went with.

There is an option to do rows instead of medallion rounds, which would be the same amount of work on the last one as on the first one. This would work in a similar way, but are usually called “Row Robin” quilts instead.

The first round we received, we had a shortened timeframe, but we had less size to finish before sending it off. This was stressful for me, but I did get the quilt done by or close to the deadline most of the time.

Each swap we had different goals, different color pallets, different visions to try to work into the quilts. It is truly a good way to sew out of the comfort zone.

And since the twilters who were interested in this swap were all over the US, the boxes got some post office traveling time around the country.

Some of the early quilts I worked on, I was completely surprised with at the end.

We got to learn about each person as reading through the journal entries of the original quiltmaker, in addition to things other people said in the journal. I was inspired by things in the journal in addition to other blocks and items I saw elsewhere. Many times the journal dictated the “tone” of the quilt more than anything!

Math was very helpful in the round robin. Having the original dimensions of each quilt, then trying to figure out how to put blocks together with appropriate spacers was challenging, but a heck of a lot of fun.

It helped me to use a program like EQ7 to help with the math and to visually see if the blocks I were doing were too big or not big enough or if I needed to add spacers.

Often times, I used my moleskin graph paper the most as it was the perfect thing to visually count other parts of the quilt.

Another note was to not try to overshadow the other people’s work. Since I try to do “big bold complicated” this was a constant worry for me, and something that at times reigned me in, and other times I probably ignored. Looking back, I ended up adding a darker border many times to the quilts I received. I don’t know if/what that says about me.

The most important part is to leave a part of yourself in the quilt that you’re working on. Being true to who I am is very important to me, even if I don’t always know what that looks like. So even during the “potential overshadows” I may/maynot have done, I still made quilts that were pleasing to me, that were something that I could do as well as I could.

That’s what matters & that is what’s special about these quilts.

In summary (visual)

The quilts as I worked on them, the center block, what I did to them, and their final product.

Round Robin Progress

Yay for round robins with friends!

 

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37.5 Twilters Entwined

May 4, 2015

Early April, after I got back from my slight failure of quilting the Samurai Sudoku quilt, I had a package waiting for me on the porch!

About a year (okay not quite that long) after we set aside time to do a Round Robin, they have finally come home to their owners. I am so proud of what everyone has done for me, with me in mind, and fantastic piecing skills and color sense!

Darlas round robin quilt finished top

One of the many amazing things about this quilt is that I managed not to look at it for the entire time it was away from home.

In the next post, I will outline how round robins work, but this one I will celebrate my fantastic round robin!

The 30 second explanation: I made the center, sent the fabrics and set of instructions, and others worked on my project just as I worked on theirs.

Daisy’s idea for this round robin was to include a Journal.

darlas round robin box before sending off

I covered my journal with pretty paper from michaels. Sent along the fabrics I posted here above.

darlas rr journal covered

And the ladies doing my round robin wrote all up in the journal too!

I am going to share the rounds and journal too.

I passed my center

center for round robin quilt darla

With my scribblings

darlas journal into page

Then Diane blew up the block to something fantastic & bigger!

darlas round robin dianes round

She posted her thoughts and ideas.

darlas rr journal dianes page

It was great seeing the designs here on paper.

Then she sent to Laura.

darlas round robin lauras round

Who came up with the first mention in the journal about the Entwined border mentioned on Quilter’s Cache site.

darlas rr journal lauras page

But the quilt was too small.

And then the quilt was sent to Tami, who did folded fabrics on all the quilts I saw her work on.

darlas round robin tamis round

And Tami had all sorts of ideas going that I even got 2 journal pages from her. More than that, but these two pages were different, showing the evolution of an idea!

darlas rr journal tamis page 1

darlas rr journal tamis page 2

Its interesting to see the creative process. I LOVE it. By the way some other mention of the Entwined border was here also.

And then the quilt and journal journeyed over to Tina.

darlas round robin tinas round

Who ended up taking the Entwined border idea and running with it, just modifying it slightly to fit Tina & me!

darlas rr journal tinas page

Which also reminds me of my weave quilt that I recently finished the top.

So three Entwined mentions help set me for this in name of the quilt.

And then our fearless leader, Daisy got to round it off.

darlas round robin daisys round

There is such great quilting space here. I love the subtleness of the darker shade of pink. It actually lightens up the center of the quilt a bit.

darlas rr journal daisys page

And yes, it was worth the wait.

So then the final project sent back to me and I found some dark that I had used in the early rounds and just did a quick small border on the outside. I did this because when I went to quilt my Sudoku quilt, I was leaving lots of room on the edges and was ultimately going to cut off a lot of that. This happened 2 days before I put the border on. So I went into paranoia mode about this wonderful quilt top, so to preserve the points, one final round added.

I really didn’t look at this quilt when it was traveling around. I was determined to make it a surprise. I may or may not have been the only one surprised by my quilt in the end. Each group member posted in flickr group when we were finished with our sections. I found I could post to flickr, tag it for a group, but not look through the group.

We had our 6 members. Some groups had 5, some had disastrous setbacks at first.

I trusted my group, and was such a proud member of the group. And they did great on my quilt!

darlas round robin start to finish

We also signed backing labels!

Darla Pink and Purple Round Robin top and name panel

And I am proud to say I have already finished piecing the back!

twilters entwined pink round robin backing

And the journals was just so yummy & special. My favorite non-quilty part!

Darla RR Journal Collage

 

 

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37.4 Higher, higher, higher

April 18, 2015

First off, a week ago, my quilting of the Samurai Sudoku quilt didn’t turn out as I expected. So there is no quilt to show there as I only am a third of the way quilted and I have to go re-rent time on the longarm to finish.

Then I received my round robin quilt that same day.

I am working on a couple of posts about my round robin, and no this is not it. I had a whrilwind of a day yesterday trying to figure out some solutions that in the end didn’t work, and that involved my round robin quilt. And now I just need a tiny bit of space from it. Teeny, tiny space.

Anyway, I was listening to a lyric of a new song by a band I absolutely adore and this lyric caught my eye. So I made a photo!

my walden burst

Or maybe I like this photo better.

my walden tree mood

I also started playing around with pic monkey on my logo. None of these are takers yet, but starting to see if some kind of update is in order (maybe not?).

Scientific Quilter Lights

Scientific Quilter Blue Painted

scientificquilter underwater

Anyway, that’s where I am at. Looking to be higher, higher, higher, flying with my tapestry of many colored yarns. Thought it sounded quilty.

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37.3 Finishing the old inspires the new

April 7, 2015

One major benefit of my annual March-A-Long is that often times to help fulfill my self requirement of 15 minutes of sewing a day, that I dive onto Quilter’s Cache or into EQ7 and start looking at new quilts, new blocks, new ides, new patterns.

Also, working on the long-ago formed Weave Quilt last month, made me think about other quilts that I have been close on. Figuring out what steps need to be done to finally finish those that are close or “oh so close” that sit in the corner unused, unadmired.

I have been wanting to get back to work on the longarm again, but to do that, I needed a quilt that was ready with a finished backing. I end up piecing like “all” of my backs for some reason or another, I don’t like buying backing fabric.

And I have been about 16 inches short on a back for my samurai Sudoku quilt for a few years now. So close. I have the pattern for the quilting picked out, I have the hours prepaid for renting time on the long arm.

But my aversion to phones & appointments, and the not finished back has kept me down, kept me from getting another bed sized quilt done.

Until this past weekend. Whoo! The back of this monster is done!

samurai sudoku top

This does not fit in my living room.

Luckily, I just had to make the backing a little larger. I hope it is square enough.

samurai sudoku backing with zippers

I even sewed the zippers on because I knew I wanted to quilt this one next.

As much fun as it would be to do custom quilting on this quilt, I don’t have the time or energy to do so, I have a large pantograph for this quilt that I bought a few years ago when I finished the border.

And finally I had an open day off with nothing else planned, and so decided to call to rent time on the long-arm.

Thanks to the guild for having a long-arm panel this last month and opening up the conversation to getting quilts done that way.

And I have an appointment for friday. I hope I remember it all! I think I will!

And then since I was on a “finishing up borders kick” I decided to stop where I was on the gemini sky quilt, which in my mind I had been wanting something else on the borders than what I had already done.

gemini sky with one border

And I finished pieces for the backing on this quilt too. since I was thinking about backings.

So I have another quilt ready for the quilting stage. :)

And then thought of 2 other things to do to other quilts, other ideas for new quilts. Neither of which are matched up yet, and I misplaced something I need for one thing.  My hand appliqued hot air balloon has the perfect backdrop once I figure out where I stashed it.

I am excited to get these old items done & done. Then I can say I completed more than like 1 quilt in 2015.

I would like to do more of these. Maybe as a series.

turquoise single tumbling block

And since I wanted a “dice bag” for my carcassonne tiles. I made 2. One for me and one to sell at the quilt show. 2nd one is the same, but not pictured here.

dice bag drawstring

Anyway, wish me luck. I am heading friday to quilt the samarai sudoku quilt, and then saturday to play tabletop games for tabletop day. Looking forward to my long weekend of fun!

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37.2 Silent March-A-Long almost finished

March 30, 2015

So, how did you do in the 15 minute a day sewing challenge for the month of March?

Did you let the stress of every day get to you, or did you challenge yourself to do a little bit of sewing each day?

It is hard to “see” the results of my sewing, a lot of my 15 minutes were closer to 5 or 10 minutes hand stitching applique that has been glued for a while.

hot air balloon glued down stitch line

So I have gotten past about half of the hand stitching on this section of the quilt.

This applique will migrate to another project from my original plans I think.

Geesh, I noticing that I have a lot of projects I started back in 2011 (the date for this quilt’s start).

Anyway, I did the weave quilt early in the month.

Circular ends

I have made appointments with two long arm quilters during the month. For the first time ever.

I have been trolling around Quilter’s Cache lately. I made the cutest Galaxy Star from that site.

galaxy star pattern via quilters cache

I hand stitched some batting that wasn’t quite big enough for a smaller project, I basted with spray baste, and am now starting to ditch quilt the borders on my domestic machine.

I also made a few small items for the guild’s boutique for the quilt show.

5pointedpincushiontwo

A few pincushions. This uses 5 squares of each fabric type. I found the tutorial online. I skipped the adding the paper step, but I had to hand stitch the middle closed on the pieces because there are several seams that stop at the quarter inch corner.

And I made 60 degree coasters from another pintrest link. These were easy, but I added batting just below the piece at the bottom of the coaster.

60degreecoasterafterflip

That is the finished project. Without top stitching anyway.

Here’s how they start. Pretty easy.

60degreecoasterstart

I bought my 3 day ticket for the quilt festival in June, and I signed up with a class/lecture by a quilter I was impressed with that is in a nearby guild, with one of the twilters, Carole!

Since changing my computer around, I never reinstalled photoshop (over 10 years old), so I have been using PicMonkey website to edit my photos. Very similar to Picnic that I reviewed a long time ago. Not bad, gives you plenty of free editing options.

Anyway, that’s me checking in with you! How have you been? March-A-Long! Good work getting those projects done!

 

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37.1 Not Exactly as I Expected

March 17, 2015

I am an admitted perfectionist.

So, I have a hard time resetting my mind to “growth mindset” when I do something that doesn’t quite work as well as I would like.

And yes, I realize I should not like this trait. I don’t always.

But it explains why I am slightly disappointed in the results after firing my glazed pots from a couple of weeks ago.

I know now why not many pots start off with the dark colors as the base, it’s hard to tell if the glaze is done “thick enough” to be dark.

Some areas of these pieces I did well, but mostly I am disappointed with the coverage of my coating.

Which the lady at the shop told me would happen.

Anyway, here is my plate after glazing & firing.

dahlia plate after glazing

It’s not so bad, but just not exactly as I expected or pictured in my mind. I did the design great. But I did not do the coverage of the glaze great.

That’s okay, I can use this plate & be reasonably happy with it.

The mug I am less happy with, I should have stopped at one item that day.

Here is the flower side:

glazed mug flower side

And here is the border side:

glazed mug border side

Learning experience, yes I know. And now I can have a flower vase for the next time I ever have flowers.

I think the dark just doesn’t work quite as well because it’s so hard to tell if you have a good coating.

Actually I could tell I was getting tired of sitting there, and wanting to go while I was painting the mug. The wide brush strokes I was doing on the mug and the warning that using a little goes a long way I convinced myself at the time it was fine.

The right thing to do to keep on painting until I also got the mug done.

Actually, the right thing to do would have been to plan the mug better and go back another time.

Luckily, it’s not all that expensive, it’s just a tiny bit challenging to get off work, get all my food stuff done and then drive there to go out & paint.

But I still have the dream of the red & black mug that matches my King’s Puzzle quilt.

So I will plan to go & do that sometime.

My 15 minute a day March-A-Long challenge isn’t going quite as well either, but I have been working on hand applique about 5 minutes every day. And I cleaned up some stray fabric I had out & about in my sewing room that was starting to drive me nuts.

How’s your month? Better?

 

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37.0 Twilt On My Last Round Robin Quilt

March 13, 2015

Between the month of January & February, I was frantically running around trying to finish the very last Round Robin quilt I did for my #twilter group A.

At the time of this writing, I still have not received my own round robin back, but I hear it’s coming, delayed by fabric selection.

Anyway, I had looked at an idea on Pinterest while searching for something else, and this border idea kept sticking to me as a great way to finish off a quilt.

First, the picture of the end, then we’ll discuss the process.

Round Robin Dianes Twilt On quilt with Darla borders

The idea I had seen was a strip style quilt with white borders, an accent color, and then multicolor strips outside extending to the end.

I had punched this into EQ7 and no matter what I saw there, I just couldn’t decide that they were any better than the strip idea I had seen on pinterest.

This was the quilt as I had received it.

dainesroundrobinsquareoriginal lightened

It was so lovely pinned to my design wall (it was heavy, needed pins to help keep it up there).

The whole quilt was so whimiscal & fun. It needed a whimsical & fun last border on it.

Anyway, I had been doing bargello quilting for a while, my Royal Red King’s Puzzle quilt is a bargello style, and so was another quilt I was working on (not shown yet), and so my mind was doing strips anyway.

Lucky me, the math worked out fantastically and I could make 12 inch blocks.

So I drew it up in my sketchbook, abandoning all these EQ7 variations I had done during Nov-Jan.

sketch of quilt borders smaller

I can divide easy numbers easily, and I first was thinking I would do a plain inner border and maybe inset some applique swirls on it, which would have also have been really nice too.

the original drawing and some math smaller

But then I started laying out fabric for it, and I found I had a really nice light green that looked like a good compliment to Daisy’s white & green disappearing four patch round.

I was thinking the green was like the grass for the birds, Daisy’s round was like a white picket fence, and then I decided to do a pathway & some sky, using the pathway as the contrasting color.

The pathway & the blue sky border are actually pieces I purchased for Laura’s neutral round robin that didn’t exactly “go” with her quilt, but were close. Well the pathway I bought & the light blue/grey that I used that I bought were for her quilt, and then I tacked on the bright blue butterflies to the order for ME, but they looked really good next to the blues in the birdhouse round. So decisions I thought I was making wrong earlier, ended up being good decisions now.

And then I decided to change the green fabric. Why? Because the green fabric I originally picked (not shown) was a lower quality. I could tell. It would have worked well for me, but not for a friend. It was perfect though in shade & lightness. So I had to substitute.

trying out borders in strips

Which lead me to the lightest seafoam green fabric I have in the quilt.

But the fabric was “too plain” by itself. It was a good shade of green, the closest to what I was searching for, but it was too plain by itself.

But then I also saw the next lightest green at the fabric shop that mirrored Daisy’s fabric just exceptionally, even though it was darker than I wanted. I decided to do both in the quilt and then just layer them next to each other.

THEN I had the even darker batik sitting next to my computer. And as the week went on, it kept taunting me, telling me to gradate the greens into 3 levels of dark.

Which I did! And I love it.

redrawing to accomodate fabric changes smaller

And as you can see from the picture above, I had a fairly easy time of making the blocks once they were figured out. Each half was only 7 strips of varying widths.

Strips of green & strips of blue & brown. The blue & brown I made easy and made a base unit, then tacked on the extra blue to the base unit for the different lengths of the strips.

The greens I had less of a defined base unit, but that was ok.

various strips

Bargellos are a lot of work, don’t get me wrong, but there is an ease to them. You sew the strips into sets (base units) and then cut up those sets to the widths you need.

The hard part is going back to the ironing board for all these seams.

And here I could see it was going to work!

trying out the corner blocks

The corners were actually the trickiest part, trying to decide the order I would quilt them in. Part of it is like a log cabin block, and part is strips.

I snuck in the focus fabric into the little part of the border in addition to some of my pretty pink fabric as a nice compliment.

closeup of corner blocks

My only regret is not bringing in some of the cream into the quilt. I love it, but I think cream sitting right next to the pathway fabric would have eased some of the green we see here.

I calculated about 2000 pieces in total for the entire round of the quilt. Not to brag, again, bargello easily lends itself to having lots of pieces with less individual sewing sections in it.

That did lead me a few thoughts about my quilting insecurities. 1) Did I go overboard? 2000 is a lot of pieces. 2) Did my sections of the quilt overshadow the other sections of the quilt. 3) Did I try to show off?

I had the realization that not only did I do my best job for a quilt for a friend, but I did a style of quilt that was pleasing to me in a style that I was comfortable doing, something that I was familiar with, and also shows my style enough for others to know just by looking at it that border was mine. I did my best to match the other’s sections, and perhaps there is a little bit of overboardness, but even though it took a lot of 2 full days of 2 full weekends, it meant a lot to me to make something that I am proud of that can go to my friend Diane, who had to put up with all my insecurities with the Round Robins along the way.

And with that, I am done with my section of the Round Robin quilts. Once I receive mine, I will see what pictures are in the flickr group and put together a roundup for the round robin in its own post. I hear mine is outstanding, I can’t wait to see it.

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