I can confidently say that this is something that I look forward to each year and especially recently since I have hardly touched needle and thread except for the pieces I have worked on as part of the Cotton Robin. This year Julie thought that it might be time to take a break and I have stepped in as host this year. I have some ideas about how I can use the tried-and-true format and also help add to the community of the group. One thing that makes this a challenge is that during the Cotton Robin, everything is kept a secret - nobody knows who is working on their piece and there are no photos of the work in progress. I will be changing this a little, partly out of practicality, and partly to make it more interesting.
If there is anyone out there who might like to join in, please let me know. We usually have around 20 quilters with a range of styles and abilities - to join in all you need is commitment and creativity. The commitment part means that you will follow the guidelines and schedule and follow through to completion. I know that sometimes life can get challenging but this is an important part of participation. The creativity part is the fun bit - I use the Cotton Robin as a way to try new techniques or do something on a small scale that would be overwhelming on a larger scale. I love the balance between developing new ideas and working with what I'm given. Sometimes the style of the piece is not my "usual" thing or the colors are outside of my comfort zone. I try to be true to the original intent of the creator of the original block while injecting some of my own personality in at. Hopefully the end result will be something that no one person would have done.
Along the way I've learned to not be so precious about my work. None of the finished mini quilts are exactly what I expected, but I gain a new appreciation for the ideas of other people as I go back to look at what I've done year after year. In most cases the starting blocks that I make are experiments, so I'm not strongly invested in them from the start. Some people use an orphan block to start - something they did in a class or workshop, a mistake or reject from another project, or something started and never finished.
You can choose to add a note with your block if you want the other quilters to have information about your preferences. I don't usually do this because I hope that my block provides enough information about my preferences and I don't want to hamper anyone's creativity. I do sometimes add a simple suggestion to use bright colors, especially if my block is neutral or monochromatic.
Quilts I have worked on (borders or quilting/binding)
I'll be posting more about the Cotton Robin in the next few weeks as we gear up to get started with this year's quilts.