my "flat robin" quilt

As I continue emptying bookcases, I'm filling bags to take to my NJ Modern Quilt Guild meeting tonight for the giveaway table. Books I've outgrown or wonder why I ever bought in the first place, along with some design books I haven't looked at in forever and probably never will again.

But I hesitated when I got to this book, published in 2000 by C&T.

Why? Because this book contained my first published quilt. This was the one I had brought for Show & Tell to my guild in 1997, where it was greeted with dead silence instead of the usual applause that greeted the Grandmother's Flower Gardens and pink and blue floral traditional quilts.

I had incorporated a bunch of antique blocks into the quilt. I hadn't used a pattern and I hadn't designed it ahead of time. I just played. It was, in fact, an improv one-person Round Robin(which I dubbed a Flat Robin). You might remember that Round Robins were all the rage in the newly-minted online quilt lists in the 1990's. I had participated in two and wondered what would happen if I followed the same process on my own, improvising as I went along.

1. Make a center.

2. Put it away for a month or so.

3. Take it out, pretend it had just arrived in the mail, and add a round.

4. Put it away for another month and repeat the process, designing on the wall as you go.

I suppose it was pretty revolutionary for the 1990's - and this very traditional guild didn't know what to make of it. Twenty years later, I am still improvising.

I never brought another quilt for Show & Tell. But someone apparently told Margaret Miller about it and she contacted me about using it in the book on unusual block arrangements she was working on. Needless to say, I was thrilled that she thought it was a smashing set! I was even more thrilled when I read what she had written about it.

SO -- I'm deciding whether to keep the book or to throw it on the Free table and just keep the photo of the page. What would you do??

In the meantime -- back to the bookshelf I go...



 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019