Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Round Robin in a Day With the Seven Hour Wonderkinds of Amoskeag

This past Saturday I had the honor of running my "Round Robin in a Day" workshop for the fine ladies of Amoskeag Quilt Guild in Manchester NH. It was a seven hour odyssey of quilting craziness, and as always, I left completely inspired by the awesomeness of these ladies. They begged me to write a post about them (and by "begged" I of course mean "asked with great trepidation if I was going to mention them by name on my blog"), and being the people pleaser that I am, I of course said I would leave off last names.

I've taught in many locations - church halls, library meeting rooms, community centers, senior centers - but this one will likely go down as the most unique. It was a classroom at a nursing school, so we had a few students I wasn't expecting. They were pretty quiet, but man were they lazy.

There are no further words.
I have to say I was slightly freaked out by them at first, but I did manage to get beyond the weirdness. Since the members of this guild always have workshops here, they were used to it, although they did mention that there was one time they had to cover the dummies up completely as one class participant was pretty shaken by them. The whole thing was rather amusing, but I digress.

This is one of my favorite workshops because it proves one of my tenets of quilting, that when armed with six hours and hopped up on a triple espresso worth of caffiene, quilters can go from an 8" center block to a 30" wallhanging in one day. The short version is this: Everyone brings a center block they have created and about 4 yards worth of fabric from their stash that they would like to see in their quilt. The center block and fabric are given to someone in another "pod" (more on that below) so that they can't see what is going on with it, and a 4" border is added. Then after 1.5 hours, the quilt moves on to another quilter and a second 4" border is put on. Finally a third quilter puts a 6" border on, and then we do the big reveal and everyone goes home with a completed wall hanging.

The ladies were set up in three pods of quilters, and everyone started with a center block that came from another pod. Each block then moved about within that pod for the duration of the day. That way the quilters in the pod will, in a perfect world, be unable to see their own quilt all day. Of course people cheat (Danielle and Judy). And now and then you see things you shouldn't when you are at the ironing station (Diana). But most of the time you are too busy creating to worry about what is going on with your own quilt.

Pod #1 hard at work, Donna #3 dancing in the background.
When I run this class, if everyone doesn't seem stressed out enough over the time limits, I love to up the challenge by having them pull out of a basket (or in this particular case, a rubber glove box) an element or technique that needs to be included in the first two rounds. For the first 4" border, we drew "strip piecing", and I love how simple and elegant this strip piecing turned out.

Is it any surprise there were several fall-themed quilts in the New Hampshire bunch?
The strip piecing didn't have to be fancy, it just had to be strip piecing.
Nancy was thrilled that Donna #2 was able to use up the small amount of her orange/yellow/brown print in the first round as it was one of her favorite fabrics ever.
But Diana couldn't help herself and went a little crazy.

Two centers were bunnies. We put them in separate pods so as to avoid having four to eight by the end of the day.
The next round was to include half square triangles. People really had fun with this one, and once again HSTs proved themselves to be one of the most versatile blocks in quilt design.
The black just totally popped this quilt, which started out as Donna #1's simple NH-inspired panels and ended up crazy awesome.
Yvonne (not Y-vonne) was one of our newer quilters, but was always among the first ones done with each round and did a fantastic job. She was in the process of making her HSTs into a star pattern around the center when I snapped this photo of her mat and her foot.
It isn't your imagination, that fabric really does look like a dress my mother wore in the early 70s.
A truly great thing about this class is all the fabric sharing which goes on, especially once you get to the final border, which is quilter's choice and is meant to tie the entire project together. Cathy and I dug around everyone elses' fabrics and finally found the perfect orange for a skinny border strip.
Cathy's bedside manner is delightful, don't you think?
As the quilts were finished, we lay them on a bed. Because we could.
By 3:30, it didn't seem all that weird anymore.

Everyone was delighted with the final projects, which is great because I really hate when people start crying, gnashing teeth, and yelling "You RUINED my quilt!"

Judy was done first. Her simple borders were perfect for this quilt, which Danielle plans to add some applique onto for good measure.

The red border was borrowed from another quilter to "tone down" this quilt.

Picture the acorn right side up, and you will see one of my favorites as it is meant to be seen.

Love this. So much. I almost wanted to be Sandy so I could take it home.
Ten smiling quilters, all of whom survived my reign of terror and whip cracking and went home with a gorgeous creation. I am so proud of them all!


quiltyVal said...

Everyone did such a wonderful job, looks like everyone had such fun!

MsMidge said...

Great idea!

Linda Warren said...

Beth, your blog is so much fun to read, because you are FUNNY!

Kelli Fannin Quilts said...

Amazing work for one day. :) Love them all. Wow. Those dummies, though.. wow. The hilarity that must have ensued when you walked into that!

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