A Two-Sided Round Robin Medallion

Join Bec (of Skyberries Handmade) & Angie (of GnomeAngel) on their excellent adventure in making a round robin medallion quilt each. Find out more at www.gnomeangel.com

What happens when your love and admiration of a certain quilter combines with a crazy idea to collaborate with them? You get a two-sided round robin Medallion! My love of Bec (of Skyberries Handmade) is well known and quite long standing. She shares my crazy love of fussy cutting and Lizzy House to name a few of her outstanding characteristics, but the one thing we both have in common is a hair brained desire to work together on something.

We got to talking via long delayed emails after I attended the Lizzy House class that Bec organised and both confessed that we’d like to collaborate together and so we started nutting out some ideas on how we could make that happen. (Needless to say this is just the first of many ways we’ll be spending time creating together!) After kicking a few ideas around and always starting our emails with “I’m sorry for the delay in responding…” we decided that we both really wanted to make a round robin quilt together. (A round robin quilt is made when you make a section of the quilt and then send it on to another person to make another section, and then they send it on to the next person, etc. until the quilt is completed.)

Only one problem, can it be called a round robin when there’s only two of us doing it? Who know and who cares, the point is Bec and I are going to make and swap 2 quilts between us over the next year and at the end we’re going to have a fabulous, collaborative, quilt each. Sounds awesome, yeah?

Before we could start sewing we had to work out how our round (or is it a straight line?) robin would work. Again, many emails with big pauses in-between sent and we’ve finally decided on our plan of attack. Want to know what we’re going to do?

Well here’s our plan… We’ll both start by making a 20″ square medallion for the centre of our quilt. It’s our choice what we want to make and we’re not going to tell our partner or show them before we post it. It’s going to be a surprise! (With that said, we’re both addicted to Instagram so I guarantee there will be sneaky shots of it shared on there!) We can use any method of construction for this block and the colour palette we use for this block will set the tone for the rest of the quilt. (Although we’ve both agreed to bright, modern, highly saturated focal fabrics with a scrappy low volume or white background – with the exception of one round.)

We’ve got a strict posting deadline (which is needed because we’re both hopeless without the pressure of a deadline) and so once our medallion is made we need to get it our in the post so that the other person can add to it.

Once the other person receives it, and has recovered from the simultaneous wave of regret and admiration (because you know the minute you open that envelope you’re going to wish you’d been smart enough to do what the other person did), they get to add the next “round” to the quilt. A round is a border that is added to the centre square (medallion). We’ve decided that to set each round they’ll be separated by a 1″ border of either solid or subtle print (think tone-on-tone), however the person adding the next round will add the border to the last round/centre square so that they can coordinate it with what they make.

Image courtesy of Amy Sinbaldi - Quilt from The Modern Medallion Workbook
Image courtesy of Amy Sinbaldi – Quilt from The Modern Medallion Workbook

To help us keep on track and not make these the quilts that never end, we’ve decided that each quilt will have 5 rounds and it will fix with a measurement of 70″ square (well, that’s the theory, wait till Bec gets a load of my dodgy accuracy!). To help keep us consistent and give us some boundaries for our creativity to work in (because we need those!) we’ve come up with a list of what each round will be.

We wanted to choose rounds that would stretch our skills, keep us entertained and allow us to really have fun with the quilts. In a normal round robin medallion you would make your centre motif and then send it on to the next person and you wouldn’t get it back until all the rounds were done and it had been sent to all the members of the round robin. (So, in theory, our round robin should have 6 members.) Because it’s just Bec and I we’ve decided to pick the round themes, set the parameters for how those rounds will be used and then keep what we do a secret until it’s sent back to the other person. (See previous comment about our inability to keep a secret and stay off social media!)

It was harder than I thought it would be to pick the “theme” for each round but we got there in the end and decided on: black and white (with one other complimentary colour if desired), traditional patchwork, improvisational patchwork, foundation paper piecing and maker’s choice (mystery). We opted not to specify which round will be which theme, instead we let the makers chose and just said which themes were eligible for selection against which round. We also didn’t specify a size per round, instead we decided to list the sizes that could be chosen against which rounds. (It makes sense to us… I think…)

We’ve set ourselves a pretty generous (although I know I’m not going to think that the two days before the postal date as I’m frantically trying to get my round sewn) timeframe for making and posting each round that will see us back here at this time next year working on the last round. Bec and I have both agreed that once both quilts have been received after each round we will open our envelopes and then blog and share our progress on social media. (This is to keep us accountable!)

Simple right? Want all of that again in an easy to read format, here it is:

What are the “rules”?

Want all of that in a easy-to-read dot point list so you get it all in a nutshell, here it is:

  • Fabrics: bright, modern, highly saturated focal fabrics with a scrappy low volume or white background
  • Starting Block: 20″square medallion for the centre of the quilt
  • Borders: each round separated by 1″ solid/subtle print border (added by the person adding the next border)
  • Round Sizes: each quilt will have a 2″, 3″, 4″, 5″ and 6″ round – not in that order…
  • Other Person’s Quilt: for odd rounds choose from 3″, 4″, and 6″ width of round
  • Your Own Quilt: for even rounds choose from 2″ and 5″ width of round

What are the rounds going to be:

  • black and white (with one other complimentary colour if desired)
  • traditional patchwork
  • improv patchwork
  • foundation paper piecing
  • mystery (chosen by maker, different to other four rounds)

Postal dates:

  • Medallion (2 months-ish) – 1st June
  • Round one (2 months) – 1st August
  • Round two (2 months) – 1st October
  • Round three (2 months) – 1st December
  • Round four (3 months) – 1st March
  • Round five (3 months) – 1st June
Image courtesy of Better Off Thread - The Modern Medallion Workbook
Image courtesy of Better Off Thread – The Modern Medallion Workbook

I have no idea what I’m going to make for my centre square, or what I’m going to do for any of the other rounds, but that’s the scary beauty of this endeavour. Unlike working from a set pattern where you know a rough idea of what it will look like anything could happen with this. I’m excited to see what Bec makes, but I’m nervous about my work not being good enough to match hers. I’m drooling at the possibility of having some of her amazing fussy cutting and colour work in my hot little hands, but freaking out that my fabric choices and placements won’t do her work justice. I’m giddy at the thought of how to do a round that will stump her for what to do next, and desperately hoping I don’t get one in return.

I need to get my hands on a copy of Janice’s (Better Off Thread) book The Modern Medallion Workbook so I can swot up on some ideas for what I can do and a place to start. I’ve already started combing Pinterest for some ideas and I’m trying to whittle down my thoughts on colour palettes.

I hope you’ll enjoy seeing what we make together and who knows it might inspire you to jump in and give it a go. You may even want to join us on the adventure by finding your own round robin buddy and following our timetable and parameters. Or maybe even ditch ours altogether and make your own. We’d both love to see them if you do! If you’d like to get to know Bec you can find here in the following places: My interview with Bec | Blog | Instagram (if you’re not following her on Instagram already you’re missing out – I adore her work! (Plus she’s got a super cute new baby to share edible toe photos of!))

If you’ve got any questions, suggestions or can find a mistake in our math please let me know – who knows, you might just get a round inspired by your comment! Now, I’m off to comb Pinterest some more and waste another few hours procrastinating.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!

Psst... Would you like a FREE pattern?

Sign up to the GnomeAngel Newsletter and you can access your very own free pattern. Get the latest news, stay up-to-date with sew-alongs + events and receive the occasional free offer! Simply add your details below!

I respect your privacy and I won't send you spam. You can unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

1 Comment

  1. Luke Yancey July 22, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    The medallion you made is really awesome! I think it was a great idea to work with your friends and take turns each round. Was it just thinking about the theme for each found the most difficult part? My mom loves to quilt and I think she might be interested in this idea!