I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why can a RR block go wrong and does it matter anyway!!!!

This post is in response to an email I received yesterday... Not every block goes out and returns the block of your dreams... and here are some of the reasons why..

What the block owner has written in the booklet is too little and too vague...  She has forgotten to mention she hates orange, anything plastic and abhors any spiders on anything....  Her team (I always like to think of us as working together as a team) immediately feels adrift on the block and would love a little more direction... It would have been more helpful if she had added she loves lace, roses and all butterflies..
I have been guilty of being too vague and when the block comes back and I'm not happy with it I have myself to blame... If you are in this situation why not ask the owner a few questions?

What the block owner has written in the booklet is too specific and restrictive...  I have been guilty of this also.  Once I asked for colors to be limited to what was in the fabric...  And everyone did that and what a boring bunch of blocks that was...  If you are in this situation, toss your ideas out... Could be the block creator will love it..

Also by being too restrictive you may be putting out demands unable to be met by someone on your team... someone who may be unsure of bullion roses or expanded seams for example and if that is all you want than you might be disappointed and the team member will be frustrated.  Be flexible.

Also by being too restrictive you might be stifling some creative additions...  Encourage people on your team to contact you if they want to do something other than you asked and be open minded.  I have a a favorite block of mine that is a perfect example...

This block went out and Leslie did all the whimsical lace and bead work by the silkie and added a cluster of buttons above the silkie...  Then the block went to Ati who wanted to put a cluster of roses above the roses and move the buttons elsewhere.

Ati wrote to me as block owner AND to Leslie as the previous stitcher about her thoughts and we both told her go for it...and she did.

But as is the case in EVERY RR,  the block is never complete until it is home and the block owner has her go at it...  In this case I decided I didn't want a trail of buttons and wanted a trail of hearts instead.  So the all the buttons (except the big red one) went into my button box and I added my trail of hearts.  Obviously the point being is communication and the exchange of ideas..but the owner has the last say about everything on the block....

But sometimes things go awry because not everyone can work as a team...  The block arrives home out of sync the owner has every right to move, change, or edit the block to her satisfaction...and indeed she should because we don't want blocks languishing in drawers unloved...  Sometimes the creator of a block sees it in an entirely different light when it arrives home.... There are very, very few blocks that have arrived home to me that I have not modified..  Team members should not be offended in anyway... They did their part and the block moved on.. 

As I have said many times before what really matters is NOT the block but everyone being challenged, learning along the way and making friends..... You cannot grow in a vacuum and working with others is always stimulating.   I've been reworking an old RR block for Kerry (beaded dragonflies)  and one corner just wasn't speaking to me. At the retreat someone walked by, leaned over my shoulder and whispered "You should put put a frog there!"  I could have jumped up and hugged her.  I would have sat there forever and NEVER thought of that... I can hardly wait and what an impish frog it will be!!!!


  1. And you know I can't wait to see the frog, right?
    If I can add another thought to round robin blocks that come home not quite what you dreamed off - you can still find a use for them. I sometimes find that you can clearly tell which section was done by whom - that they weren't working as a team is obvious - and I've happily cut the blocks up into atcs so each little section gets its own chance to shine! Works for me!

  2. A Round Robin is kind of like a blind date. Your friend tells you all you want to hear, about how great the date will be. But, when you see them in person, they really aren't what you pictured in your mind. Sometimes, that is a good thing, they may be a prince and sometimes....well, you get a frog.

  3. Thanks for this post Gerry....I always want my team members to know that if something I did on their block does not suit then please go ahead and rework that area so that they are happy with the block.....I never thought of cutting them up into atc's but will keep that in mind as well....but I have taken things off and rearranged them to suit the vision I had for the block.....

  4. Thanks for sharing some great ideas and a fabulous lesson for this newbie. Perhaps Pat Winter could include something like this in one of her issues.
    And yes, we have to see the frog! Denise