Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Cotton Robin

Received fantastic quilt from Diana Glasspool.  Love it love it love it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Back Home!

My wee block arrived home this week transformed!  Thank you Tish, Diana and Rachel for your lovely work.  The way you all worked with the minimal block is fascinating.  The quilting is stupendous!

Traceyann  :-)


Christa, my quilt arrived yesterday in the post and its a lovely piece. After some discussion about which way was up (the kinda-like-a-rainbow way or the kinda-like-the-millennium-falcon way) , it's now hanging in my hallway. (The question over orientation is entirely my own fault for sending asking such an abstract starting piece...) thanks so much to all who worked on it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Welcome home!

Marie , my Cotton Robin baby arrived today and it is so fabulous! Thanks to the wonderful team who worked on my quilt. Peggy❤️

Going out again

Terri's quilt came back to me this morning so I went to mail it again. It seems the zip code I had was wrong. Thanks to google, I should have the right one now. I put it in express so it should get to you by Thursday Terri.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Status update - finished quilts

Most of the finished quilts have already made it home or are on their way. A few are running late for one reason or another. Please let me know if I don't have the latest information.

  • One quilt is temporarily missing (I suspect it's taken the slow boat) - I am still waiting for the last round to quilt from Marie for Allison
  • One quilt is being sent late from Christa to Kate - Christa will be close by to Kate in the UK and it made sense to wait to mail it locally
  • One quilt is running late and should be sent by Nan to Rachel soon
  • One quilt I do not have a status on - this is from Terri to Mary
  • Eight quilts have arrived safely home
  • Seven more are in transit - please let me know when you receive yours Terri, Tish, Marie, Peggy, Traceyann, Christa, (& me)

The big reveal will definitely be late - I will keep you all posted on updates.

Received my WH

I received my wall hanging from Texas.  It is so perfect. I love the embellishments.  Thank you Cotton Robin quilters.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Poetry - needs a litte work, but you get it


Little quilts in the mail
Some by air, some by sail.

Speed your way
Through night and day.

Because we are all hopin'
To have a package to open!

Then without fail
Laurina will unveil

The best quilts ever done
To each and every one!

(taking a bow) I just thought that up!

Quilt for Laurina

I posted your quilt today. They said it would take a couple of weeks to arrive. Sorry it's late...

Home again

Clare gave me my quilt last week, I love it and thank you to all who worked on it.
Cannot wait to see all the finished quilts.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Finally Sent!!

I've been carrying this little quilt around for days (had to do show and tell at my quilt guild) and I finally got it in the mail.  Sorry, Traceyann, but it should be there in a week!!!  You almost didnt get it at all cause I really liked it!!!  Hope you do too!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Received My Quilt Today

Peggy, thank you so much for the letter.  You are so right, it has been a week of disappointing things.  Shingles, cancelling my surgery, dealing with the intense pain.

I can definitely say, this little quilt is the most perfect high point, and much needed spot of joy!

I even think this is the best of the best of the best one I ever received!!!!!

Thanks to all who worked on my piece, everything came together so perfectly!!!

I can’t wait for you to see it!!!

Still hurting, but better today!  I have only taken half the pain pills so far today.  Every step forward!


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Coming and Going...

About a week ago I got my tiny quilt from Tish. Since I wasn’t home, and won’t be home until Saturday, my daughter opened it for me. She said it is beautiful and “It is just so YOU, Mom! You are going to love it!” She knows me pretty well, so thank you to everyone who worked on my quilt. I can’t wait to see it!
Rachel’s quilt will be in the mail to her as soon as I can get the binding on it.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mailed final quilt to Glen!

Glen, I mailed your finished mini quilt to you this morning so be on the lookout πŸ‘€ for it to arrive this week! Peggy in SC

Received from Kate

and it’s beautiful.  Thanks everyone.

I’m almost finished with the binding on my little gem. I’ll be sending in the mail today or tomorrow.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

It arrived!

My little quilt arrived yesterday!  It's beautiful!  Thank you to all who contributed.  I love it.

On it's way

Terry Fischer - your quilt will be mailed and on it's way to you tomorrow.

Friday, June 7, 2019

have given Diana the finished block yesterday   Clare

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Package on it's way to Christa

Christa,  your finished quilt is winging it's way to you.  Should be there within 5-10 business days!

Traceyann  :-)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Modern Robin

Some years ago, at least 3 or 4 because it was before the flood, I organized a Modern Robin in
The Baton Rouge Modern Quilt Guild. My first block was the shoes and part of the dress.  To make it work I changed some of the timeframes and added a month and another round. Renee did the embellishment and quilting on mine
and saw Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. So she added the yellow brick road!

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Cotton Robin

Mailed finished quilt to Nan today. Estimated travel - 3 days. 
--Posted by Tish--
Dear Mary The quilt arrived safely last week while I was away on holiday you have put a lot of work into the quilting and it looks fantastic.Clare

Friday, May 31, 2019

Check in

It looks like all of the quilts have made it to their last quilter, except for me. I am patiently waiting for the quilt top to arrive for me to quilt.

So far, I have received photos of six of the finished quilts. Five are on their way home and one will be heading home soon. There's a great variety so far and I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the fantastic finishes. Remember that you can send on the quilt as soon as you have finished the quilting and binding. The deadline is June 13, but I know a few will be late because people are on holiday or quilts were lost (and then found) along the way. Please don't forget to send me a photo before you send it to its final destination.

Being the organizer this year means that I get a sneak peak at all of the quilts - lucky me!

Well travelled

The well travelled block has arrived, hope to work on it today or/and tomorrow.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

WH finished and mailed

Julie, your completed WH and was mailed from Hayward, CA. You should receive it soon. Hope you like the little guy.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Huge Thank You & Plus quilt top to finish has arrived!

Just back from Vacation and received Happy Mail.

Received the cutest little quilt top to finish from Mary.

Also received my Finished Quilt from Glen!
Love, love, love it!!

Thank you to Traceyann, Julie & Glen for your wonderful work!!

Can’t wait to see how they gave all turned out!
Off to my sewing room...


Monday, May 27, 2019

Most Exciting Times!

this is the second moment in time I love about this Project. Waiting for the rounds to be finished up and mailed, waiting for mine to appear at my door.  Anticipation!

my most favorite time is when I get that first block, raw and untouched.  I get to take the first step in its new direction!

What is your favorite time?

Thanks for playing everyone!  Can’t wait to see my finished quilt!


Mailing to Liz

It's been a productive few days in my house and I've now quilted and (nearly) bound your quilt, Liz.  I'll finish the binding up tonight, then it's off to the post office tomorrow to get it started on its way back to you - hopefully it will NOT wander unncessarily. Laurina, I'll photograph it once the binding is finished and email you once I've done that...

Mailing to Diana

Ok, Diana - I've worked on the wandering block and it will be heading your way tomorrow (post office closed today of course for the bank holiday).  Be on the lookout!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Dear Clare, It's coming, maybe...

It was looking rather dicey for a moment this morning when the local post office wanted to ship priority mail. But another office was able to find a way around $71 priority. Apparently small post offices aren't equipped the same as their larger counterparts.

Nevertheless, it's off! It may take a few extra days or a year (I jest, I hope!) but it's out of my hands, and I have a tracking number that's good till the package leaves U.S. soil. Hahaha, country life in South Louisiana!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Received from Rachel

After taking a long trip to who knows where before heading back to Rachel, the missing block with one border, to which I need to add another border has arrived today back from Rachel. Yay!  I may not have time to work on it this weekend (I may) but luckily, I have a week off work next week, so I do hope to get to it. I haven't started quilting my block-with-two-borders yet, so I'm going to leapfrog this one over that one, so it can go to the last person as quickly as possible.  Who knows, if I have a good week (and perhaps if the weather isn't gorgeous, tempting me to be outside all the time) I will even get BOTH pieces finished up. I obviously won't get it to the next person before the 9th of May (unless I also spend the week inventing time travel), but I will do my best to get to it within two weeks of receipt. Just really glad it isn't lost!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Marie, Your Lucky Day

I mailed the package off to you just now.  The nice postman said it would be Monday or Tuesday at your doorstep.

I had to swear there was nothing flammable in it, although it is really smokin hot!

Please let me know when you receive it.

I hope you love it, I do!

glen in Louisiana

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Received with addendum

The last round mini arrived today.  I will have fun with this!  
Thank you Liz for the way you addressed the envelope!  It made me smile and made my day brighter.

Traceyann  :-)


The last round mini arrived today.  I will have fun with this!  
Thank you Liz for the way you addressed the envelope!  It made me smile and made my day brighter :-)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Quiltlet received

I need to decide how I want to finish this top.

The prodigal block is found!!!

The block with the first border that I sent to Kate in the UK about a month and a half ago,  which has been missing ever since, was returned to me in the mail Saturday!πŸ™  So I have resent the block and it should be there in a week!!🀞 I hope this doesnt cramp anybody's style or creative flow to catch up!!!!  I remember the lost block drama we had a few years ago, but its kind of agonizing when its you that mailed it!! Anyway, have fun Kate (for real this time, I hope!!!)!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

It's on it's way

Hi Nan, I sent your block off yesterday. Hopefully it will reach you by Monday or Tuesday. I'm sorry for sending it late and hope that it didn't cause you any undue problems.
Terri B.

Late Thank You

Hi Christa, The block got here before the deadline! It's looking very sweet. I really like the border you did. Now on to figure out how to quilt it!
Terri B

Dear Marie... with apologies

The second round block is on its way to you.
My apologies that it's late. Hope you enjoy,

New Hampshire to New Zealand

This little quilt top is finished & fun! 
On it's way to you Laurina!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

It it yours???

I recently inherited a vast number of vintage and antique buttons.  As I was quilting my project, it kept nudging toward that bucket of buttons.

It didn’t take me long to find the most amazing buttons that matched the colors perfectly!

Buttons used to be so incredible.  Have you ever noticed that?  We have such boring buttons these days.

I am sure the recipient will enjoy sharing part of my inheritance with me.

I’ll let y’all know when I can mail it off!

Who wants it????

New Zealand to California -- arrived

Laurina, your package arrived today, and all I can say is "WOW!"  -- what a great quilt top.


On it's Way and Received

The final round should get to Christa tomorrow (Friday) and I have the one from Cindy to work on.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Hi   Terry
Your fabric block arrived safe and sound today   Clare

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Update on this round

Most of the quilts are in transit or have been received by the next quilter. A few are late so I just wanted to post an update so everyone knows what's happening with theirs.

  • Allison to Christa - I have not heard if this has been sent or received, please let me know.
  • Kate to Diana - Kate has still not received the previous round. I will need to work out what to do about this one.
  • Marie to Laurina - running late.
  • Mary to Marie - running late.
  • Terri to Nan - running late.

If you have received yours and have not posted about it, please do. For those that are late, make sure you post on the blog when you send it. Thanks.

For those of you who have received yours and are working on the final round of layering, quilting, and binding: you can send the finished quilt as soon as you finish them. Please make sure that you take a photo before you send your finished quilt back home and email me the photo.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Dear Rachael... oh wow!

I already have an idea or two.
It's just going to have to sit and percolate in the queue so I can get my (late) block out before quilting this one.
Love it!

In the mail to Tracyann

I didn’t realize this round was going to Canada.  Sorry Tracyann.  The post office said it would be next week for arrival.  It may be a few days later than the ninth.


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Furiously Working Away

Hi Nan,
I was hoping to get the block done last week. Then I wanted to get the block done on Monday. Then I wanted to get it done on see the pattern. I wasn't goofing off either. I was working on the block hours every day. I had to look up block patterns and then make samples to make sure they were right. I am a slow quilter, period. Monday will be the day! Mailing from California, I hope it will be there on the 9th.
Terri B.

Recieved and Sent!!!

Finished my block with 2 borders and sent it on to Mary in Louisiana! Have Fun!!!
And my block to quilt was recieved from Diana.  I sure made it in good time!!!

Friday, May 3, 2019

The last round - layering, quilting, & binding

With most of the quilts heading off to the last round I thought it was time to talk about quilting. As usual, I will say the same thing that I have for all of the rounds - the Cotton Robin is a great opportunity to try something new. The small quilt size means that you can hand or machine quilt without much trouble because it's easy maneuver and turn.

With a small quilt, everything should scale down, and the quilting should enhance the work that has been done. Try to think of your quilting as something beyond just holding the layers together. I've read more than a few books on machine quilting and one of my favorites was called "Quilting Makes the Quilt" by Lee Cleland. She quilts a series of quilt pairs in 2 different ways. It shows how much the quilting can change the look of a piece. I confess, I don't like all of the quilts in the book, but the ideas in it have stuck with me. The title itself suggests that without the quilting, you don't have a quilt.

Quilting on Andrea's quilt, 2018

I struggled trying to work out the quilting for this one last year. I wanted to keep the simplicity of the center embroidered block and echo the playfulness of the cats. Here is a close up that shows the little balls of yarn I created for everyone to play with. One thing I like to do is take a photo of the quilt and then print multiple copies. I hand draw some quilting ideas either directly on the paper with a pen or sometimes on tracing paper with a pencil. It's a good way to see if your ideas are actually going to work.

Close up of quilting

As I look back on some of the quilting I've done for the Cotton Robin, I might try something different with that same quilt today. But, the one thing I've learned with my quilting is that you have to commit and follow through. Pulling out free-motion machine quilting is almost impossible (trust me, I've done it). Go back through the reveals from previous years (usually in June or July) and get some inspiration - there is some fantastic quilting to admire.

Finally, the binding, which is the last opportunity to add some personality to the finished piece. In Andrea's quilt above I chose a bright blue that appeared a few times in the print and on one of the cat collars. Red was the obvious first choice, but I think the blue looks great. One of my favorite quilts over the years was this one for Allison. The quilting was all straight-line but I added a 4-color binding to extend the colors from the center out to the edges.

Quilting on Allison's quilt, 2017

I can't believe this year's Cotton Robin is coming near the end. It's been quite an adventure.

On it's way

My husband is on the way to the postoffice right now (for the second time today ... looks like things get accomplished). It's the center with two borders to Terri in CA. I should be within the deadline. Always trying hard.

Hope I will get the quilting project soon because I will leave on a trip before the end of May and certainly would like to mail it off before. The quilting part is always my most difficult. Still, I am looking forward to it. Love the Cotton Robin!

Final border

Allison, I'll get the final block to you at the meeting Tuesday!  Hope to see you there.

Final block received

Clare, I received the block today.  Thank you so much for having it to me on time.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Next round on its way to Julie

A little later than I planned, but it is finally heading to Julie in CA. Should be there in a week, I hope. - Laurina -

Block with two borders

Yesterday I mailed the block to Clare in Australia.  Postage was $14.25 and the postal clerk could not tell me when it would arrive.

I also received the pkg. From Tish to finish and mail to it's owner.
Laurina, I see you posted i received a block from you.  I have not.  I think you must be thinking of the one I received from Nan.  That is the one I mailed to Clare.
Received Center Block with 2 borders today from Peggy B.
Also.  Mailed my block to Terry F a while back and she let me know that she received it.

- from TISH

Round Robin updates

Received Center Block with 2 borders today from Peggy B.
Also.  Mailed my block to Terry F a while back and she let me know that she received it.

- from TISH

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

On It’s Way, Liz!

I posted the block with two borders to you today, Liz. No fainting couch needed, though if anybody has a spare I think it would look beautiful in my soon to be useable craft room. I loved making the border for this one, and can’t wait to see how it finished up!
Nan in Oregon

My apologies to Marie

I should have completed and sent off my second round, but we've experienced all sorts of heartache. Firstly, my father-in-law passed after a difficult month of suffering. Then I developed a GI bleed, had 10 days of testing and surgery. I don't expect to be recovered enough to get any sewing done for another week or so. I promise to keep it on the top of the list and get it out to you asap.
Again, I'm truly sorry for delaying you.

Block + 2 borders sent today

Tish, I just mailed the block with 2 borders to you today!

Top received from Glen (ready to quilt)

Received the top safely today Glen, with your note. I'll have to think what I want to do with it, but I'm sure something will come to me!

Monday, April 29, 2019

glen to Julie - Units Recieved

Sound like something one would hear on the space station airwave!

Arrived today!  Love it!

My person will be excited to see it come home!

Thank for the note, too!

glen in LA. ( Louisiana not Los Angeles!)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hi Cindy  I posted your block yesterday and it should be on its way to you over the atlantic


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Off to Baton Rouge!

Heads up, Glen!  My center-with-2-borders went in the mail to you today.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Round three headed to Kate

Oh, Diana.....I wanted to be first! LOL

I knew my package had to cross the ocean to get to Kate so I mailed it today.  Cost me an arm and a leg, I will be taking out a second mortgage tomorrow.

I went a totally different way, Mary. You are going to be SHOCKED, I’m telling ya!

But it’s gonna be cool!  Wait for it Kate!


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Third round posted

I posted the third round block to Rachel Garibay a few days ago [ to miss the Easter rush] hope it arrives safely.  Happy Easter  Diana in England UK

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Block arrived today

The block plus one border arrived today from Terri B.

Second Borders

We have had a few bumps in the road getting all of the blocks with their first borders off to the next quiters. Some have been temporarily lost and then found, others were sent late, and some are just taking their sweet time getting to their destination.

If like me, you have already started your second border - that's great. I thought I'd do a post about second borders as the next post about guidelines for the Cotton Robin.

The second border is my favorite round. I think this is because it's about balancing what the first two quilters have already done. Your goal should be to create a cohesive piece where each quilter's work is clearly visible but the entire quilt is nicely balanced. Of course, everyone sees things differently, so I might think it needs more green and someone else might think that more red is the way to go. Either way, it's a lot of fun to do.

All of the "rules" I laid out for the center & first border still apply (go to Guidelines to review these). The only new guideline for the second border is the finished size. Officially, this is 20 x 20 inches. I confess that I sometimes go a bit over this (I have this time) - I think 24" square is too big but 21" or 22" is probably okay. This limitation is mainly to keep the finished quilts small enough so that they are easily mailed to the original owner after they are quilted.

This is a second border that I added in 2017. The original center reminded me of fields from the air and I imagined one of them being full of sunflowers. I really enjoyed doing this one but those tiny Dresden plate petals were a bit tricky!

Border added to Traceyann's center, 2017

Here's another second border, this one from 2015. I took a very different approach to this one. To my eye, there was already a lot going on with the center and first border and I felt like it needed some space in the second border. I did some very small log cabin blocks in the corners to reference the center piecing and added a few colored strips to the sides. This is probably the most minimal that I would do and hoped that the final quilter would take advantage of the free space for some feature quilting (which she did).

Finished quilt with border added to Catherine's center, 2015

As usual, the most important part is to have fun adding to the quilt. Looking forward to seeing what you all do.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Received from Nan

Hi Nan, I received your block.  Luckily, the place we had our mail going to while we moving held it for me. I am ready to add round two.  I like what you added.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hi, Everyone. Drama Queen (not in a good way) here...
I have not died, nor have I been abducted by aliens. Just brainless, as usual. I have sent Terry an eMail telling her , and Laurina, that I sent the block-with-one-border to her. Used the incorrect address, so some research will have to happen into its whereabouts. Working on it.
I received my block-with-one-border, Laurina; I need to tell Claire the block got here too.
Nan in Oregon

Friday, April 12, 2019

1st Border Recieved!!!

Kate, I received the first border!!  I think/hope yours should get there soon!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Block Not Received

Hi Nann /Laurina
I have not received a pkg yet. 
my new address is 7577 Whistlestop Way, Roseville, CA. 95747.  Is that where it was mailed to.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Block received

Howdy, I received the block plus one border from Traceyann in Canada today! Boy has she put a challenge for n front of me!

Roll Call

Hi everyone - Many of you have posted that you have sent and received your center plus first border (thank you).

I have not heard from the following:

  • NAN - sent to Terry or received from Clare (sent 2+ weeks ago)?
  • MARIE - received from Glen (sent 2 weeks ago)?
  • RACHEL - received from Kate (sent 1 week ago)?
  • CINDY - received from Clare (sent 2+ weeks ago)?
  • TERRY - received from Nan (I do not have confirmation that it has been sent yet)?
  • KATE - received from Rachel (sent 1+ weeks ago)?
  • PEGGY - received from Terri (sent 1+ weeks ago)?

A few of these are travelling internationally, so they might still be in transit, but any between US locations should have arrived already. If you have any questions or problems, please don't hesitate to let me know.



There was mail from Marie in New Hampshire in my mailbox yesterday. It's a center with the first border. Oh, what to do. The answer: putting it on the design wall and think about it. Love the creative process.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Block Received

Thanks to Terry from Terri! I got your block safe and sound. And isn't it pretty?

Peggy B

Hi, Peggy! I'm running very late in getting your block to you. Things have been in a big mix-up here with lots of medical testing for me and last week my dog had surgery. I'll get this done and off to you by Thursday. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Saturday, April 6, 2019

First borders sent and received

I have heard from all but one quilter that the quilts with their first borders have been sent.

Nine of them have arrived at their destinations safe and sound. If you have received yours and not posted yet, please do. You can also comment on this post to let everyone know that you have received yours.

I have finished designing my second border, although I've had to rework it several times when I realized that things I thought were the same size were not. I should have measured, and not assumed (will I ever learn) - 1/4" can make quite a difference. Luckily, this was discovered in my "planning phase" and I think I've got it figured out. I hope to do a test this afternoon to confirm that it will work - if not, it's back to the drawing board for me!

Here's a peek at a part of the border design in B & W.

Friday, April 5, 2019


Any news yet?  I am thinking you should have received my block already......

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Terri, I mailed the block to you yesterday.  I apologize for being late.  We moved for the first time in 20 years and the quickly room was the last room to get unpacked.  It is only 1/2 done now, but I was able to get a first round on.  It is only coming from Roseville, CA.  I was sure relieved when I checked who i was to mail it too.  I was afraid it might be Australia.  Happy Quilting.

Center + 1 arrived

I really thought I'd posted this.
I can't remember who sent it, and can't check because I'm parent-sitting and not home. However, I have a sweet block on the design wall for contemplation/percolation/inspiration. Ha, at least my muse is has me saying the right words.
Loving those dots :-)
Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hi Peggy

received your block today quite colourful


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

On the way to Rachel

Just to say I have mailed my centre-block-with-one-border to you today, Rachel.  I do apologise for the fact that it's going to be late - this is entirely due to me being a numpty:  Despite having made a very clear mental note that the dates in the email were receive-by dates and not mail-by dates, I was still thinking I had to mail by April 4th, not have it get there by then.  Hopefully it will speed off to you and not be much later than the 4th.

I promise to be better on the next round!

Round 2 received

Round Two received from Tish Fisackerly in the USA, now to decide on the next border.
Diana in sunny England UK.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Round two in the mail

Round two is on it's way to Peggy.  This one was cool!  Knew exactly what I wanted to do when I opened the package.

Here's a wee sneak peak:


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Clare, I mailed the block with it’s forty border to you yesterday. Peggy

Friday, March 29, 2019


All this receiving and sending!

Package mailed

My package went in the mail to Allison today

Sent from my iPhone -- please excuse the inevitable typos

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Cotton Robin

Received block from Liz F today. Thanks.

First Round sent!!!

Be on the lookout, Kate......Its on your way to the UK!!!! Cant wait to see what it becomes!! Have fun!!!

Received block

From Allison. Cute!!!

Sealing envelopes

One of the quilts arrived with the envelope unsealed. Luckily, the contents were well wrapped and there was no damage done. For those of you who still need to send yours out, and for the next rounds, can you please tape the envelope shut.

My experience is that the "new" sealing methods (the ones you don't have to wet to seal) are less reliable, especially if the envelope has been sitting around for a while. A bit of tape along the edge and on the corners will help a lot.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Headed North

The next challenger is headed your way Liz.

Recieved My Next Round!

Mary, it got here today......and yes, you did do it justice!  I love that little dog print!!!

This one will be amazing.

And Maria....I forgot to bring my package to mail for the second straight day.  Lordy, maybe tomorrow?

Geez........I went out for the Modern Art Class and went right by the post office!

Oh well, I can use a trip to the plant store...right?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Movin’ On

I just finished my phenomenal round and will get it mailed out to Marie in NH.   I will tease you with this bit.

When I looked at the photo I thought it was shimmering underwaterπŸπŸ›³. Must be because I have been recently returned from the Caribbean!


On it's way

Mary,  your next block is on its way.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Tish the block is on its way to you!

Have fun with it. I went in one direction and towards the end the block said "Hey" and I listened. Hugs

Glen, round 2 coming to you

I know I could have handed it over to you but my fear of forgetting overcame my frugal ways.  Look for it this week.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Centre plus first border on it's way

Julie - I am mailing the mini to you tomorrow.  You should receive it within 10 days.  

Traceyann :-)

Center + border on its way to Cindy

Cindy – I dropped the quilt into the post office this morning. You should receive it in about 2 weeks. --Laurina

My Favorite Robin Quilt

Just returned home from the Caribbean and realized that I needed to finish up on my block and get it mailed off.  OOPS!

I guess I should have done that BEFORE I left, right?  Let me wash some of this dirty laundry and I will get working on the Cotton Robin!

Let me tell you about one of my favorite pieces from Cotton Robin.  I have loved them all, however, don't get me wrong.  There really is no hard and fast favorite.

The year was 2017...….

Our house in Baton Rouge had flooded the previous August and we lost practically everything.  We aren't even in a flood zone!

We were living in a 20 foot camper with three Basset Hounds with no heat or fridge and no sewer connections.  It does get into the 20's at night over the winter here!  

When Julie sent out the announcement in January about sending in blocks, I posted that I couldn't participate because I had no sewing machine or quilt stuff.  Julie jumped in and said, nope, we will start one for you.    

I never knew what it looked like.  As the initial blocks were posted, I thought it could be one of several.  But I never knew for sure.

As the rounds made it through, I borrowed fabric and machines from friends and sewed my rounds to send out.

When my little quilt came home, I just sat and cried.  Julie had built me a house, high on a ridge that wouldn't flood.  

I will always treasure the kindness so many people showed us during the recovery period after the flood.  We had never been so helpless and lost before in our 45 years of marriage.  We were always the ones who helped others.  (We both been on the Board of the largest dog/cat rescue group in our area for 25 years.)

But here we are, on the other side.  And while we have new stuff, there are some things that really stand out to me that came from simple kindnesses. 

Thank you Julie, for keeping me in!


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Center + border received from Diana

Happy to see my next round arrive in the mail yesterday. I never get anything in the mailbox these days, so it's extra special! -Laurina

How did you come up with that idea?

What I enjoy most about the Cotton Robin is trying to come up with a border that works with what the other 1 (or 2) previous quilters have done. I ask myself questions like: "What was her vision?" and "I wonder why she chose this color or pattern?" Of course, I don't know the answers to these questions, all I can do is guess. Sometimes, I'm probably wrong (maybe, mostly wrong!).

I encourage everyone to post something about your favorite border from a previous Cotton Robin. You can simply post a photo or share what inspired your choice. Looking forward to seeing what you pick.

I remember one year Julie challenged us to use a color for our center block that we don't usually use. That year I did a purple block - a color I like but rarely use in my quilts. The resulting quilt guessed it...purple (really purple). I was surprised that someone didn't jump in with a new color, but I suppose when those quilters received my center they asked the same questions I do and the answer was "Purple!" I have no complaints, I am always surprised by the results. That's all part of the fun. The next year my quilt included every color in the rainbow.

One of my favorite borders that I've done was the first border in 2017 - the center block was by Cathy. I wanted to play with the idea of creating tiny version of the same motif (the heart) and I've always had a slight obsession with circles because I used to be afraid of them. I also admit that this was one of the hardest borders I've ever done. It was a combination of foundation paper piecing for each heart and the small wedges in between and some tricky curved piecing. The circle of hearts was supposed to be smaller but something went wrong with my math and I ended up putting more "filler" between the original block and the border. I seem to remember sending an apology to the next quilter that I "used up" a lot of the room left for 2 borders with my first.

I will continue to try new things and am looking forward to receiving my next round - that reminds me, I better pack up mine and get it to the post office soon.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Hi Nan

your block is on its way to you you in oregon

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Posting again

Traceyann in Canada, are you wondering why the mail from me didn't arrive yet?
Well, I had been early and since I didn't go on a 4-week trek in the Himalayas and also did not paddle up the Amazon it was mailed finally yesterday. As Laurina had in the beginning suggestions for different ways to do the borders and the center was not square I did. Hope you will have fun with this.

Happy hump-day to all.

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Cotton Robin

Sent first border block to Diana today. Tish

A little birdie put a quilt block in my mailbox!

Hello! I received my lovely quilt block from Nan. She used such great colors in it and I am excited to start working on it. Thanks, Nan, I love the block!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Island Hopper

we left today for the Caribbean islands on the Norweigan Bliss for a week.  We get back on the 23rd

I will have plenty time to finish my round.

I spent a week looking for that silly critter.  I kept complaining that people ought to use bright colored envelopes so I could find them again.

Well, don’t cha know, I did find was the one in the giant aqua envelope.....

Yeah, don’t worry about me, I will be knee deep in muscly pool boys and shirtless tan native bus drivers.   Hey, bring me another Bahama Mama, pool boy!  And a chocolate chip cookie to go with it!

glen of the islands, girl of “ hon, you ain’t getting me into a swimsuit, baby”

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Second Round

My block from Cindy is now on it's way to Laurina for the next round.
It's a little early but then its a long way from England to New Zealand! 11426 miles

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Furry creatures that we love but leave their mark on quilts

Good morning everyone - just a quick note about hair (cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, kangaroo, etc.)

At least one of our quilters has an allergy to cats. I have never been tested for kangaroo allergies, but maybe I'm allergic to them. Either way, it's amazing how easy it is for our fabric to pick up the furry bits of some of our furry friends.

Please, can all quilters check their work before sending and remove all hairs from them before you wrap them up to go. My cat is particularly anti-social and never seems to be sitting or walking over my work-space but I still found many ginger hairs on my quilt. Here are a few methods for removing that hair:

  • Give it a good shake (only marginally effective)
  • Brush down with a lint brush
  • Use a sticky lint roller or masking tape
  • Use duct tape (hey, it is good for everything, right?)
  • Vacuum with the brush attachment or with a Dustbuster (or similar)
  • Use tweezers to pull out any that have been sewn into the seam

I think everyone will appreciate receiving a quilt to work on that has been thoughtfully de-fuzzed. Thanks.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Back on Track...

I received your block, Diana... it is so sweet, and I have an idea for the first border, but I’ll have to look into my stash to find just the right fabrics to compliment your center.
Terry B in Santa Rosa, I have sent a center block to you. There were so many trees down on the logging roads after our huge (for Southern Oregon) snowstorm, that I had to stay in town for almost  week before I could go home and get the block to send to you. “Life is what happens while you are making other plans”, thank you John Lennon.


Finished early?

Did inspiration strike you like lightning when your block arrived? Did you finish the first border in the first week?

That's great!


Please don't send your quilts to the next quilter too early (It's okay to send it a week or 2 early). A few people have only just received their center blocks, so let's give everyone a chance to get started before they receive the next round.


You know that you won't be able to mail it at a good time. Perhaps you are going on a 4-week trek in the Himalayas or you are pursuing your life-long dream to paddle up the Amazon. If that's the case, let me know that you need to mail early. Otherwise, put it on your design wall and admire your beautiful work for a few weeks!


Wednesday, March 6, 2019


The wonderful block from Marie arrived yesterday!  Drafted plan in place.  Now figuring out how best to proceed!

Traceyann  ;-)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

All blocks are on their way (finally)

I heard from the last quilter that the final center block is on its way to Terri. If you have not posted on the blog that you have received your block, please do - there are three unaccounted for.

The center blocks are an interesting mix, as usual. There are always a few that really catch my eye and I'm excited to see how they turn out in the end. Here they all are, in no particular order:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Block first round sent & Received

Block posted to Nan Siek on Feb 25th.
Block received from Cindy Lanning.
Now to put my thinking hat on!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Block Received

Rachel, I received your block. Wow!!!!!

to the post office tomorrow

A center with one border will start its way to Traceyann in Canada tomorrow.
Happy Sunday to all.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019

Received block

Terry, I received your block yesterday. Peggy

Block sent

Cindy, Imailed my block to you about a week ago, hope you have received it. Peggy

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Hi Peggy, I mailed the center block from California on Monday.  Sorry for the delay.

Center block safely arrives in NZ

I received my center today from Terri. Not my usual color palette, so I will need to think on this one for a while. - Laurina

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


I'm out of town, but my hubby tells me my block has arrived from Tish!!!  Cant wait to get home and start thinking about what to do!!!!

Center Block Received!

Fun Center block was received last week - sorry for the delay in reporting....

On the design wall.... What to do??

center block received

I received Kate's block in the mail yesterday -- not at all what I was expecting!

Center on it's way to Traceyann in Canada!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

"The Beautiful" received!

Yes, Liz, I got the block. Thanks for addressing the envelope that way. What a sweet surprise!

Got it!

Block received! I am excited to get started on this one for sure. Super cute!


Monday, February 25, 2019

On the way!!!

Terry, finally got my block done and its on it's way to California!!   Should be there right on time!!!

Block Received

Laurina, uptick the Received Blocks by one!

The mailman just brought Allison’s block to me!!

How cool that your family is from here.  Too bad I can’t make you a State Capitol block to go with him!  Or send some crawfish!

If you have a cat, please be careful with this block. Allison has placed a note in here, but I am going to make a note on the outside of the envelope just to alert the receiver.

Thanks for a fun block, I can’t wait to see how it comes home to you!

glen in Louisiana

Update on center blocks

Hi everyone - as of this morning, my records tell me that:

  • 14 blocks are complete and I have photos of these. When I have all of them, I will put all the photos on the blog.
  • 10 are confirmed sent.
  • 4 are probably sent (please post if you have not).
  • 5 have not been finished or sent.
  • 3 have been received.

The blocks should be received by the next quilter before February 28. If you have not sent yours yet, you are late.

Please let me know if you are having any issues. Thanks.

Friday, February 22, 2019

center block

Block mailed to Rachel,Thur, 21 Feb.

Cotton Robin 2019

Mailed center block to Rachel G on Thursday.  Tish.

received from Glen

Your center arrived today. How exciting. Now I have to do some contemplating. Don't want to disappoint you because you obviously spent some time on this.
Happy weekend to all!


Mary Marcotte your block is on its way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Center to Allison

My center to Allison is going to the postoffice tomorrow. Just finished it. I even bought the pattern for the block. Saw it, loved it, couldn't resist.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Julie's Block

I received Julie's block. Very cute and the ideas are marinating. πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

In the mail!

Diana Glasspool your block is in the mail!  Crossed fingers it arrives in time.  Sorry I waited until the last minute.

First post

Tish - your block is in the mail - from Traceyann in Canada

Block received

I have received a block in the post yesterday - no note with it, but because I am not expecting any other quilt related mail,  I assume it's for this!  It was mailed within the UK, so got here quickly...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Mailed to Julie

Finally got my block in the mail on Saturday (hard to get to the post office these days, so it actually sat in the house for the better part of a week, just waiting).  Hopefully the international post will be kind to it, and it won't take long to get there!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Mailing to Christa

Well, in a nasty turn of events tomorrow is Sunday and the plumbers charge $245 an hour to work on your non-working plumbing.

Meanwhile, I have finished my block, sent a photo to Laurina (who says she likes mine best) ( but I guess she says that to ALL Cotton Robineers) and won’t be able to mail it until next week.  Isn’t Monday some sort of holiday?

Mardi Gras is March 5 this year and the whole state shuts down for 3 days!

glen in Louisiana, of course!

Marie J watch your mail....

I have mailed the center block. It should arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday (since Monday is a holiday).  Here's a sneak peak of my favorite part.

Have fun!

So it begins

My center will be in the mail Monday & headed to Glen in Baton Rouge!

Sneak peak

as I sit here, listening to the (weekend rate) plumber run that snake down my toilet pipes, I am putting together my is a tiny piece of it.

Say something to cheer me up!

Friday, February 15, 2019

About adding your first border

You must all be sick of me by now! I really have so much to share with everyone, I can't help myself. This will be short and sweet (I hope). Some of you have sent or are about to send your "center" to the next quilter - since we have some new quilters this time, it's a good time to talk about borders.

First, your border does not need to go all the way around the center block. It can be on just some of the sides. Use the style of the center to guide you - a more traditional symmetrical block might work best with a more traditional all-four-sides border; an improv or asymmetrical center may not.

Border added to Sophie's center, 2012

You can put the center on point and you can slightly encroach on the center block, especially if you are doing applique, but please respect the original design of the center. Use the color cues from the center block - if it's mostly saturated batiks, a small Civil War style floral might not work with it. You don't have to have a perfect match, but your border should complement or contrast nicely with the center.

I find the most challenging part of adding a border is balancing out the rest of the piece. If the center is very busy and detailed, the border might benefit from some free space for the eye to rest - consider adding detail to the corners and keeping the sides simple. If there are lots of triangles, maybe some squares will work well. The Cotton Robin gives us all the opportunity to try new things on a small scale.

Border added to Cathy's center, 2017

No matter how perfectly a fabric coordinates with the center, an unpieced border (or a few strips on each side) is not enough. Your border should add to both the color and design story started by the center. Try something different - there's plenty of inspiration on the Cotton Robin blog. Look at the reveals at the end of each year to see what other quilters have done. Don't fall back on the same technique each time - if you've always wanted to do improv, now is your chance. Maybe some English paper pieced hexis are the way to go.

A helpful tip when adding a border is using a coping strip. This is a narrow strip of fabric added to one or more sides to adjust the size of the bock. If your design requires you to divide the length of the block into 4 and the block measures 7-1/2" (finished) you can add to each side so that it measures 8". A coping strip also gives a little gap between the center and border to help visually separate them.

Finally, make sure that your border is small enough to leave room for the next quilter to add a border. The maximum size should be about 20" square - if you add a 6" border all the way around an 8" block, the next quilter can't add anything to it.

Have fun, get creative, live a little!

Border added to Julie's center, 2018

p.s. As I've looked through the photos of the borders I've added, I see a few themes - many are on point and they are all symmetrical. Maybe this year it's time for me to try something new too.

Center block on its way to Clare

I dropped my center block into the post yesterday - on its way from New Zealand to the UK. - Laurina

Saturday, February 9, 2019

About international mailing - helpful tips

As we gear up for mailing out our center blocks, I thought I'd share some tips on mailing. Of course, if you are happy with your current approach - you can ignore all of this.

I have been participating in the Cotton Robin for 7 years and was part of the Block Lotto for quite a few years as well. Everything I send out is "international" - it's one of the disadvantages of living on the "other" side of the planet. Over the years, I have heard and read a few comments about international mailing and have sometimes been shocked at how much some people pay to send things here (and others not so much). Based on what I have sent and received, I've come to a few conclusions. I don't want anyone to pay $20 to send an 8" square to me or anyone else.

Until it is layered and quilted, your quilt is a "letter"

I have done some research on this and I cannot find anything that says that a "letter" is made of paper. The key here is thickness and this will vary from one country to the next:
  • From NZ, a letter must be less than 1cm (about 3/8")
  • From the UK, there is a standard letter .5cm (about 1/8") and a large letter 2.5cm (1")
  • From the US, a letter must be less than 3/4" (almost 2cm)
  • From Canada, there is a standard letter .5cm (about 1/8") and a large letter 2cm (about 3/4")
I would guess that the standard letter thickness from the UK or Canada might be okay for the center block, but not after a border is added.

Your "letter" has no value

Yes, your quilt is priceless. But in most cases, customs laws are about purchasing and importing items. All of the quilts are being received and then being sent again, so you are not keeping them. Letters don't have a value and do not require a customs form. You don't put a customs form on a birthday card or postcard, so you don't need one for your quilt letter either. This may not be the case when you send the finished quilt, which will probably need to move up into the "package" category. If you are required to chose a value - go low, $5 or $10 is fine.

Flat and even is the secret

In New Zealand, the price is relative to the envelope size, but in many places (like the US), it's the weight and there's just a maximum envelope size. The bigger the envelope, the flatter it will be. You can use a 10" x 12" envelope and not have to fold your center block - even after 2 borders, it might only need to be folded in quarters. I see a lot of people sending their quilts in small envelopes that end up being quite thick.

Here's how I get my quilt letter nice and flat:
  1. Determine how big the envelope will be and get / cut some very thin cardboard or card to the size of the envelope (cereal boxes are good for this). This will keep it rigid. There's a balance between rigidity and weight that you will need to consider.
  2. Iron well - a bit of sizing or starch can help.
  3. If you need to fold the quilt, try folding the sides into the middle rather than just folding it in half.
  4. Wrap the quilt in plastic - I like to use Glad Press 'n Seal (see note below about Ziplock bags below) but you can use a bag and tape it shut. Get all of the air out as you seal it down.
  5. Layer up the cardboard, wrapped quilt, and another piece of paper or light cardstock.
  6. Slide the whole lot into your envelope. I put the cardboard on the front side of the envelope so that the machines that stamp stuff on it have a smooth surface. I don't know if this really makes a difference, but I like to think so.
  7. Weigh the whole thing, envelope and all - I use my kitchen scales. Some post offices in the US have a scale in the lobby for self service. There's a max weight when sending a letter from New Zealand, so sometimes I pull the cardboard out and replace it with paper if it's too heavy.

Why I don't use Ziplock bags

I don't use Ziplock bags for a few reasons. Firstly, they are heavier than other plastic wrapping options. Secondly, they do not fold well and you cannot fold the zip part at all. The zip is also thick and limits the "flatness". If I do use them, I cut off the zip and then fold the top over and tape it. I don't think you need to run out and buy some Press 'n Seal - you can wrap it in a plastic grocery bag that you've cut open and just tape it up. The key is to get the air out and protect the quilt from getting wet or soiled without adding much weight.

Never talk to anyone at the post office

No, I'm not anti-social. It's because they will ask you questions and try to convince you that you need to pay more or that your letter is really a package. Some clerks are kinder than others but you never know. My philosophy is that the post office will send your letter if it meets all of the rules.

Work out the postage costs online

I've looked at the web sites for all of the postal services in question. You might need to try a few times when estimating the postage - sometimes the maximum size/weight is not shown until you've gone through the whole process. You might want to check "letter" versus "large letter". When you do get the final choices, double-check that it is for AIR mail. Surface mail takes weeks (like 6) - I know this from personal experience. You can't even mail things from New Zealand this way anymore, but you can from most places.

Here's an example of the cost for mailing a "large letter" from the UK to New Zealand. I've circled the best option - don't be seduced by the slightly cheaper option - the estimated time is 84 days - you save 8 weeks for the cost of a latte!

From the US, the same letter will cost $8.48 with slightly different restrictions on size and thickness. From New Zealand, I would pay half as much but am limited to 200g (7oz) before the price quadruples because it's a "package".

I admit that the USPS is a minefield. There are references to "large envelopes" but then when you try to get a cost estimate, there is no large envelope price. It's probably why the cost differs so much - it depends on how the clerk defines what you are sending. Try a few approaches until you are happy with what you get - it could save you $10-15 to take a bit of time working it all out.

Buy some stamps

If you already have stamps, just put on as much as you need. Small denominations can be a problem just because they can take up a lot of room on the envelope. I try to keep some stamps on hand, but you can buy them at the post office (yes, you can talk to someone now) or somewhere else like a stationary shop or grocery store.

Drop your letter into a mail box

You can usually pick up some air mail stickers at the post office, but I often just write "AIR MAIL / PAR AVION" on the envelope with a blue Sharpie. I also like to tape the envelope shut, just in case. Because it's slightly thicker, there's a chance the seal can un-stick. Also, some of my envelopes have been sitting around for a while and the glue does perish after time.

Drop your letter into the mailbox and trust that you've followed the rules and that your quilt will arrive at it's destination in a week or 2. I've never had a problem with anything that I have sent from here.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Schedule for 2019

I've updated the schedule information on the right side of the blog site. Since this is only visible if you go to the blog from a PC, I thoughts I'd include a post about the important dates. The dates will also be in the mailing information you will receive (or maybe have already received). Please remember that the dates are when he quilt should be received by the next quilter, not when you should send it. Give yourself time for the quilt to travel to its destination.

  • Center block should be mailed and received by the next quilter no later than February 28, 2019. Please send Laurina a photo of the center block before mailing (via email, not to the blog). Please post to the blog when you send or receive yours.
  • Center-with-one-border should be mailed and received by the next quilter no later than April 4, 2019. Please post to the blog when you send or receive yours.
  • Center-with-two-borders should be mailed and received by the next quilter no later than May 9, 2019. Please post to the blog when you send or receive yours.
  • Finished quilts can be mailed to their owners whenever you wish, but received no later than June 13, 2019. Please send Laurina a photo of the finished quilt before mailing (via email, not to the blog).

I know that sometimes we all struggle to get a round done and into the mail. For me, a little planning makes all the difference. I know that every round I will be sending to someone in a different country, so I always aim to send to the next quilter 2 weeks before it is due. If I'm running late, I still have a week for it to be delivered.

With 5 weeks between each round, I like to plan my work like this week by week (I always check my calendar in case I have other commitments and need to squish or expand my schedule):
  1. Quilt arrives - put it on the design wall and stare at it for a few days. Pull some fabric and make a pile.
  2. Start designing - draw some ideas, play with shapes, narrow down fabric choices, and draft/source patterns. Sometimes I know immediately what I will do, other times, it takes a few false starts before I know.
  3. Do the work - this is the fun part, hopefully my planning means that I know what I'm doing!
  4. Packed up and ready for the post (or not, if I'm running late).
  5. Relax.
I know that everyone works differently and that's what makes life interesting. BUT, it's the responsibility of each and every one of us to stay on schedule so that the next quilter doesn't need to rush through and maybe not do her best. I know that in the Northern hemisphere, vacation time can be a problem - I'm hoping that by finishing in the first half of June, this won't cause us trouble (and think of me heading into the winter months, even if we have a mild one).

Please let me know if you're having any issues - we all understand that sometimes life gets in the way of quilting. If you need to drop out or need extra time, it's okay as long as I know. We are an understanding bunch and there is always someone willing to pitch in to help another quilter.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

A few late additions

There will be a slight delay emailing out the mailing details - we have had a few late additions to the group this week (Allison is re-joining and Clare is new). I hope to have everything sent out by Sunday.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Thanks Laurina!

Everything looks great and having the emails will keep us on track!

glen In Louisiana

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2019 Guidelines for your center block

Your "center" block this year will be the same as previous years. For those of you that are new or who might be a bit forgetful, I thought it would be a good idea to re-articulate the guidelines. I believe that following design guidelines leads to a more productive creative product. Imagine if I asked an architect to design me a house but did not say how big it should be or what style I wanted. They might make me a 6 bedroom modern house over 4 levels rather than the 3 bedroom one story cottage I had in mind. If I didn't specify that I wanted a 1 kitchen and 2 bathrooms, what would I get? 4 kitchens and 1 bathroom, maybe? So, some of the guidelines here might seem obvious to you but it's still worth reading, just to make sure.


Your center block can be any regular shape (square, rectangle, hexagon, triangle) that fits inside a 9 x 9 inch square or an 8 x 10 inch rectangle. It can be smaller, but not bigger. The size limitation allows plenty of room for the next two quilters to add borders without exceeding the maximum quilt size of 20 x 20 inches.


Please (please, please) make sure that you use good quality 100% cotton quilting fabric for your center block (and all borders). This means no:
  • Poly/cotton blends
  • Heavier weight cotton fabrics
  • Silks, linens, or linen blends
  • Lamé or metallics
  • Lace, netting, or other sheers

I also recommend that all of your fabrics are pre-washed, especially reds. I don't want to start a big debate over this because I know that people have strong opinions. If you think that only "old" or "cheap" fabrics run, don't be fooled, it's not true.


Embellishments like beads or 3-dimensional pieces should be reserved for the final quilting/binding round. All center blocks (and borders) should be flat so that they can be quilted.


Use any construction method that you like - this is where you get to use your creative flair. The only limitation here is that things must be sewn down - this means that raw edge applique should be attached by thread, not just ironed on. Some unusual construction methods are okay as long as you sew them down and they can be ironed without needing anything else (pressing cloth, paper, non-stick sheets, etc.). These little quilts get quite a bit of handling on their journey back to you and we want to make sure that they stay together along the way.

Your center block should be something that was created by you. An orphan block that was the wrong size or not quite right is fine, or create a block from scratch using a new technique that you've always wanted to try.

Any of these techniques (or a combination) are fine:
  • Machine piecing
  • Hand piecing
  • English paper piecing (please remove all papers)
  • Foundation paper piecing (please remove all bits of paper from the back)
  • Needle turned applique
  • Machine applique (raw edge or turned)
  • Hand or machine embroidery

If in doubt, please just ask me. I don't want to stifle anyone's creativity, but it's important that your center block can be worked on by the other quilters without running into problems.

Styles and colors

There are no limitations to the styles and colors that you choose to use. The other quilters that work on your block will take clues from your block when deciding what to add. The color story might stay the same during each round or someone may choose to introduce new colors to complement what you started with.


The Cotton Robin is open to quilters at all levels - from beginner to expert. Regardless of your skill level, please ensure that your block is well-constructed and well-presented when you send it off to the next quilter. The person adding the first border should not need to "correct" anything before they begin. I am not a member of the quilting police and I acknowledge that everyone has a different view on quality. Here are some things to consider when you are creating / choosing your center:
  • Seam allowances - too-small seams can unravel so try your best to keep them to 1/4 inch.
  • Pressing seams - all of your seams should be pressed open or to one side (or a mix). Try to avoid bulky spots that are not pressed down well. Sometimes I take a small hammer to an intersection of 6 or more corners, even if they are all pressed well a couple of "taps" helps flatten them down.
  • Square it up - make sure all sides are straight and even. As other quilters add borders, the slight variations tend to amplify.
  • Stay stitch the edges - if you have bias edges or lots of small pieces, sew around the entire block 1/8 inch in from the edge, this will stop anything from shifting or becoming distorted. This is not usually necessary for most blocks, but it never hurts to be safe.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Getting in touch

I know that many of you have participated in the Cotton Robin before, so I probably have contact details for you. If your details have changed since last year, please email me with an update. I will be sending out emails soon, so I want to make sure I send them to the right address.

If you are new this year (Cindy), please make sure that I have a way to contact you - especially if you do not have an email address associated with your blog or Google account.

Either include your name and email address in your comment, or else send me an email (LAURINA at XTRA dot CO dot NZ).


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Welcome to 2019

Hi everyone and welcome back to the Cotton Robin. To follow up on Julie's post from a few days ago, I will be hosting this year's Cotton Robin to give Julie a break and to introduce a few new ideas into the process.

First, I should introduce myself: I am Laurina and I am an American quilter living in New Zealand. If you've been participating in the Cotton Robin it's likely I have worked on one of your quilts or you have worked on one of mine. I have been quilting for the past 10 years, but have been sewing most of my life. The Cotton Robin is probably my favorite thing in my quilting life and I look forward to it every year. When Julie asked for help, I knew I could not pass up this opportunity.

One of my favorites, 2014

I love the creative challenge of working with other quilters. Every round I work on, I try something different and I almost always draft my own patterns and templates. My quilting philosophy is to try everything at least once. If I were to pick one thing that drives my creative process, it is color.

This year we will be doing some things differently. For this reason, I will be spelling out the guidelines for you and I encourage you to review them during each round just in case you forget. I will post more about the guidelines later. For now, here is some information to get us started:

  • It you haven't done so already, let me know that you want to participate - comment on this post or email me.
  • Invite a friend (or 2) to join in.
  • You will be mailing the first block to the next quilter, not to me.
  • Your starting block should be completed and received by the next quilter by February 28 (this means you have over a month to get it into the mail).
  • Each round will be 5 weeks long (schedule of dates to follow).
  • I will be encouraging everyone to share more on the blog - we will still try to keep the work "secret" but maybe less secret than in previous years.
  • Get your creative thinking caps on.

I've posted on my blog about the Cotton Robin if you're interested in having a read. I will be doing a few more posts in the upcoming weeks and I hope that some of you will do the same.

A quilt I enjoyed working on (2nd border), 2017

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Long Live the Robin!

Hi everyone, 

After careful consideration, (and encouragement from her daughter) Laurina has decided to take over administration of the Cotton Robin!  Laurina has participated since the very beginning of the robin in 2012, so she know what she's getting into.

I've sent her the lists from the last few years, including email addresses.  You can get in touch with her (see the email list to the right side of this blog) or leave a comment here, or wait for her to contact you.  

I know she's going to change things around a little so that you don't have to all mail your center blocks to new Zealand (!) but I'll let Laurina provide all the details. 

Thanks for all these years of great quilts -- I look forward to doing the next one without having to think about what's going on in the background.

Happy New Year!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

the state of the robin...

Hi all, and Happy New Year!

I've had a few inquiries as to a Robin for 2019, and truthfully I'm just sorta burned out on it!  I'd be perfectly happy if someone else wanted to take over the admin -- and I'd probably participate -- but I  want to have a break from chasing people down, scolding/not scolding people for not following the rules, worrying that some people will be upset with what they received...  in other words, the "behind the scenes" stuff that I don't usually share.

If you're interested in taking over, let me know!


Saturday, January 5, 2019