Sep 3, 2015

absofreakinglutely delighted

Our top secret Round Robin has come to an end.

To recap, this was my friend Amber's idea. She and I used to work together, but now she lives in the Ottawa area. She's really from Texas, though, and that's where her Mom is, who is also a participant. And to square it up, my Mum was a willing participant too. Two daughters and two mothers.

We started out with a 20" square design of whatever we wanted. I did a fun little wonky thing with purple in the middle and red and blue on either side, with white as well.

Then the idea was that we'd put it in the mail for the other three participants to add 10" borders all around, or the equivalent, growing it by 20" each way, every turn. Amber had it next and added a yellow border. That let her make the blue transition to green and the red to orange.

After Amber, my Mum got it and she added a sort of a bargello-fied round of super-bright colourful wonderfulness.

Then Amber's Mom got it and she put on the heavy-white final border with some really great pieced squares, some of them doubles, and some wildly fun paper airplanes (made of fabric) with their flight paths hand-embroidered. It's a Whimsical Wonky quilt top and I'm in love with it.

Now we all have an 80x80" quilt top ready to sandwich, quilt, embroider, embellish, whatever, and bind. It kind of makes it look easy when this part is already done, right? We had each step of this process for about two months. That gave us tons of thinking time and lots of sewing time. We could try different things, try different colours, and make a few mistakes that needed fixing.

When I first got Amber's Mom's (okay, her name is Donna) starter piece, I just about fainted. I've been quilting since fall of 2014, right? She did a beautiful art piece that was based on a photograph and had thread painting, clever folding and purposeful lumpiness, hand embroidery, and it looked done.

I put on the checkerboard border that pulled the colour from the lighthouse and the bird, and then did some colour echoing. I found a really neat sand-coloured fabric with footprints in it at a little shop in Oliver, BC. Amber then framed it all and added the compasses. My Mum added the also echo-y frame work in each corner. We all tried not to overshadow Donna's original piece. In the end, it looked like this:

Amber's idea started with a sign she saw in a pub, which she replicated with fabric.

The perspective is amazing, isn't it? My Mum added some flying geese and a tree, and Amber's Mom added another tree (tons of hand embroidering), a bear, a tent and a fire. She also did the zigzag border and the maple leaves. My Mum was a little short on her addition, so Donna, being a Mom, went the extra mile. I figured the canoe wouldn't go anywhere without paddles, so I added those on last.

And my darling Mum. She started off with an 11-sided circle in a square and Donna grew that into a fun thing with 60-degree triangles and an almost-hexagon.

I carried on with the 60-degree theme on two sides, and Amber finished it off. This one is a lot of fun. The picture below is actually a side view - the original 11-sided beastie is going to be in the bottom-right area.

That's all of them. Kind of amazing, right? I would totally do something like this again. It was frightening, overwhelming and really intimidating, but every time I settled on my idea for a piece, I let the stress go and got to work with the cutting and sewing. And I got to buy a new ruler and some fabric along the way, so it wasn't all scary.

There were no spoilers (I've been assured of this), which made today really great. We all opened our boxes at the same time and got a first look at the beautiful finished top. Then we dug into the journal and read all the juicy details about every step along the way. It was Amber's idea to journal things as we went, and that'll be a lovely thing to hang onto for years to come.