Making the Rounds with a Round Robin Quilt


A Round Robin is a group project where each member of the group adds a border to a central block, creating a medallion quilt. Each participant may create a central block so that everyone adds a border and everyone ends with a quilt, or a group can work together on the same quilt.

The Block Party, a group of 10 quilters in Bloomington, Indiana, have perfected the art of the Round Robin. Take a look:

BLOOMING PEONIES by The Block Party: Susan Atkinson, Betsy Birch, Paulette Fagen, Betsy Glassey, Kati Guevara, Wendy Hodina, Nancy Hoff, Jane Pitt, Barbara Richards and Donna Stevens 68″ x 68″


This amazing medallion quilt is competing in the 2018 AQS QuiltWeek – Spring Paducah Quilt Contest, Group Quilts category.


Donna Stevens shares the following about the quilt, process, and group…

Blooming Peonies is an original design inspired by motifs and designs by Edyta Sitar and Material Obsessions Two by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.

Starting with the center appliqued peony block, Block Party bee members worked in teams of two to design each subsequent border using and/or expanding upon the same colors, motifs and styles used in the previous sections. The quilt then grew organically as each team added their own original design element.

Since the top was passed from one team to the next, many bee members did not know how the quilt was evolving until the last border was added and revealed.

The quilt uses a variety of fabrics including civil war prints, Kaffe Fassett collective and batik fabrics, and leverages the group’s love of both piecing and machine applique.

This is the seventh original Round Robin medallion style quilt designed by the group, but it is the first we’ve designed with the hopes of entering it into an AQS show. Past quilts received recognition at the Indiana Heritage Quilt show, one winning the Mayor’s Award, and two of our quilts (BLOOMING PEONIES and one other) took Third Place in the Quilt Among Friends category. Additionally, BLOOMING PEONIES took first place in the Applique category at the Brown County Quilt Show this past fall. 

Each Round Robin quilt is worked on by all members of the bee, and then we draw names to give each quilt a home. We currently have three other Round Robin medallion quilts in the works, and our goal is to ensure that every member of the bee has a group created quilt to call her own. One of those seven quilts was donated to our local Guild to help raise funds for future programming and speakers.

The Block Party bee consists of 10 women in Bloomington, Indiana, and the bee has been in existence for more than 15 years. As with most bees, we are not only quilters, but also friends who support one another through life’s trials and joys, and both inspire and challenge one another to expand our creativity and skills, one stitch and one cup of tea at a time! 


Tips for a Successful Round Robin

Try a Round Robin project with your quilting friends and keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Start with a planning meeting where everyone participating contributes ideas for the project, whether making one quilt or individual quilts.
  • If the group is too large for each person to contribute a border, have a couple people work together on a border, or if making individual quilts, break the large group into smaller groups.
  • Include not only fabrics to be used in the quilt as the project travels, but a desired color palette to work from.
  • Pair experienced quilters with less experienced quilters to help with questions, advise, and any design help needed.
  • Hold a design workshop for the group as prep before the project.

Do you have any tips to add? Leave them in the comments to share.

Want to try a Round Robin with your quilt friends? Pick up our handy guide in the Member access area.

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