Last month we started making Round Robins with our quilt bee! We also finally named our bee the Kingfisher quilt bee instead of just calling it ‘bee without name’. This is the block I made as a starter block. Want to know how it was made? You’ll find a video and written instructions below.

What is a Round Robin?

Just in case you have never heard of a Round Robin, let me explain. (Before I joined our bee I never heard of it eigther.)

A Round Robin is a quilt that you can make with a group of quilters. Everyone starts with making one quilt block. We decided we’d start with a block between 9 and 12”. During your next bee, you pass that block on to someone else. So you go home with someone else’ block. You can also send your block to someone else by mail of course, we just exchange the projects during our bi-monthly bees

The idea now is to add something to the block that you took home. You can use the block itself as inspiration for style and colors. You could add a border around the block, or add triangles to put the block on point, or whatever you think would be nice to add to the block.

When everyone is done adding something to the starting blocks, you pass the blocks on to someone else to start the next round. You can continue this as long as you like. We agreed that you can take you quilt (with your starting block) back at anytime to finish it by quilting and binding it.

You could set some rules when organizing a Round Robin. You could for example state the width of the borders, if you’re allowed to turn the block on point, if you should make the borders identical on all sides etc. But we decided not to set any rules, so we’re completely free to do with the blocks what we want. Well, we’ll be keeping the starter and owner of the quilt in mind of course ;)

My starter block

I just got my hands on an improv quilt book (By Lucie Summers) I will share more about that next week, but it got me all inspired for making my Round Robin starter block. I decided to make little plusses. Bright colors combined with grey, but all the bright fabrics also include withe. So there would be a lot of room for the next quilter to work with this block. This was my fabric pick:

Here is how you can make a block like this yourself

Hop over to the video tutorial, or just continue reading to find the written instructions below.

We’re going to make nine plus blocks and join them together in a nine patch. I used different shades of gray as background fabrics, but using one background fabric would also be perfectly fine. So you will need nine 4″ squares of background fabric and some scrap strips in nine different colors for the pluses.

Let’s start
– Cut nine 4” squares. No need to be too precise, it’s improv quilting after all. Just make sure that your blocks are at least 4″ big, they don’t need to be perfectly squared at this point.

– Cut 18 strips, two from each color fabric. You will use two strips for each plus. The strips should be approximately 5” long and 0.75-1.5” wide. Just cut them without measuring too much ;)

– Take the 4” squares and slice them somewhere in the middle.

– Sew one strip in the middle of each sliced square

Yay! There is your first strip. No need to pin everything in place, just go go go, cut and sew and you’ll be fine!

– Now press the squares and slice them again, perpendicular to the first slice you made. Not precisely  perpendicular of course, remember, we’re improv quilting. You get the point by now I guess.

– Again sew one strip in the middle of each slices square

Whoop whoop! There we have a plus. Pretty Pretty. And soo very easy to make!

– Press the squares and square them up to 3.5 x 3.5”. This I did measure and square up precisely. That way you can sew the nine patch together matching up the points of the little squares. You could keep it wonky in this step as well, but I liked the effect of squaring up the random blocks.

– Sew the squares together to get a 9 x 9” block. Make sure to snuggle up the seams so the squares line up (almost) perfectly. Check out the video to see how I did this.

– Give it a nice press aaaaand you’re done!

Now go and take a picture and let me know how your block turned out! I would love to see. If you hace any questions, just leve them in the comments below.


Comments (5)

  1. Thank you for this pattern. You explain everything so well Irene. It would be lovely to be able to complete the whole round robins you make.

  2. This is so pretty. And your instructions are very clear – I’m going to make one today! Thanks.

  3. Just love your carefree and enthusiastic approach to everything! You make everything you do fun, engaging and just down right ‘have to do this!’ compelling. Thank you :)

  4. I started the QAL in January of 2021. Have two rows to go! SOOO fun and it introduced me to you and your style! So fresh and light and fun! I love this square idea and your tutorial on square piecing! Never stop!

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