One of the most popular ways embroiderers get together seems to be the Round Robin. Typically, these seem to be mostly cross-stitched, however there is a growing band of stitchers who do samplers, and a new group who do free-style embroidery. There's also no reason why you machine embroiderers can't get into the fun as well.
However, to newcomers to the community, a Round Robin is a rather mysterious thing, and often is not fully explained to the new member.
What is a Round Robin
A Round Robin is where a group of stitchers get together (usually between 4 - 8) and stitch a piece together. Each person starts a piece, and on an appointed date, sends it to the next person on the list.
The leader of the Robin sets the details for the pieces - the style, the type of fabric and cloth count, and occasionally the thread to be used (cotton, silk, wool, etc). Usually the individual members get to choose the them of their piece, and this is usually made public to all members.
How do I Start my Piece?
In most cases, you will be given a size that each section is to be (usually about 4 inches square). For counted thread pieces, you would ensure that you divide up your fabric into the appropriate number of areas so that each stitcher can stitch their motif in an area. Stitchers also tend to put their initials in the corner of their motif.
It is up to you whether you include a pattern for each section in your kit, or if you let the stitchers decide their own (based on your theme). Whatever you do, you should tell the other stitchers in your group - also you should tell them how many threads to stitch over and what type of thread you prefer. Also if you have any colour scheme you prefer.
Normally, you will have a month to stitch your section and then send it on. In your initial kit, you will need to do the following:
1. Ensure that the edges of your fabric are bound - use masking tape on one side so that you can put your name and address on it.
2. Place your piece in a zip-loc bag, which has your name and address clearly on it.
3. In another zip-loc bag, put in a small notebook with a letter about you and your piece, as well as sitching instructions. Ensure that there is enough room, as the other stitchers in the Robin will include notes as well. Also in this second zip-loc bag, you should include any patterns that you wish, and where on the piece they are to be placed.
4. Be Prompt and keep in contact with other stitchers. The biggest problem with Round Robin's is when a stitcher does not send their piece when they should - or when the suddenly dissapear.
Round Robin's are a great deal of fun, and at the end you will have a lovely piece that you can frame as a record of your stitching friends.
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© 2008 Megan McConnell