No-Rules Round Robin: Gudrun Erla
Gudrun Erla describes her experience with the No-Rules Round Robin.
"We're with Gudrun Erla of GE Designs. Gudrun, tell us about participating in the No-Rules Round Robin and what that was like for you." "That was just, I think now, one of the greatest quilting experiences that I have ever actual had since I started quilting and even since I started designing." "How many Round Robins have you done before?" "This is the first one. And this was my crazy idea. When you're a designer you kind of always, you're always doing work. We started all as quilters having fun with it and then we escalating it into being our job, and you end up sometimes getting caught up in deadlines and it's not so much fun anymore. And I felt like we just, I wanted to do something that would stretch my creativity and stretch my limits and so something maybe out of my box and put me in a little bit uncomfortable state. Just for fun and a creative challenge. So, that's what we came up with." "What did you start with on your quilt?" "So with mine, I wanted to do something different than what I normally do, so I started with, this is my center. I knew that I wanted to do a black background because I normally don't work with background and I just wanted to do something very different. So my three yards of background fabric was the black. And I chose plenty of fat quarters to go with it in those kind of tones. But I also wanted it to be rectangular. I wanted it to be asymmetrical, and that's why I kind of left these open. I kind of wanted to see what would happen. They could take it somewhere and kind of connect with it. But I didn't expect this. It's just incredible what they did to it." "And what did you learn about yourself in this challenge. Did you get to think outside the box?" "Oh, absolutely. You go through all the emotions. When you get the first block, you go through, 'Oh my God, what am I doing? Why did I do this?' And all this self-doubt, and pressure to do anything good enough for these people. But you just push through that and let that creativity, just look at it and what can I do, what can I take, what can be done, what does this quilt need, and that's what was really fun. That's what just kind of explodes and kind of expands your mind so much, which that is the part I loved. But you do through the whole dread. You go through everything. So I absolutely, and after the fact now, of course, after we got to see them at the big reveal, it's like, 'Let's do it again, let's do it again.' So it's probably one of the best things I've done, like I said, in my quilting life. One of the funnest, most biggest learning experiences ever. You learn so much about yourself." "Terrific. So my last question to you, maybe you already answered it: would you do it again and what advice would you give to someone else thinking about trying it out for the first time." "Yes, I would definitely do it again. Well, I picked my people, because I knew them and I knew their work. And I would trust them to do anything to my quilts. So I think that would probably be my first. I don't know if I would do it with total strangers. Maybe. Maybe that's my next challenge. To really let go. But it was also, what was so great, we knew each other, so we kind of knew each others personalities, we knew different tastes. So I think that makes it a little easier. Or you feel a little bit more secure." "Good advice. Thanks for sharing, Gudrun." "Well, I received Gudrun's center block for the first round, and when I opened it, it was like, 'Oh my gosh.' I was expecting it to be contemporary, but the shapes were wonderful. So when I looked at it I knew, because it was so awesome, I didn't want to distract from that center. So I wanted to continue the black out. I wanted to have some curve in it, but not necessarily be round. And I needed to quiet it down a little bit. That was what my thought was because there was so much going on in the middle. So what I did was I took fabric that was in the box, the gray tonal type, and then I added pipping around. And again, I wanted to just bring a little bit of color out. And then I wanted a splash of color to draw the eye out to the next round, so then I added these little angle squares, the same degree angles as what she used. And one these. Sometimes you have a mistake or you don't forsee everything that's going to happen. And there got to be so much bulk with all of this coming together in the corner, so that's where the applique circles came in, so I could trim out a little bit behind that. So even if you make a mistake, you know, make it work. I won't say it was a mistake, but you can make it work." "So your round ended before that little striped thin border." "Yes, I ended right here. So this gray and beyond was added after I sent it on." "I opened up Gudrun's quilt, which was 'Ahhh.' When I got it, it was right to this point right here where this line is. And I was in awe of actually what Kari did, of what Gudrun did. And I'm thinking, 'How am I even going to follow that and what am I even going to do.' And with just these little squares here, it took me a lot of fiddling around to figure something out. My first ideas was that I wanted to make these actually without that strip in between here. But I couldn't do it, because I didn't have enough of the fabrics to work with it, so I couldn't make them all the same. And then it was one of those that kind of came about as I worked with it." "So the spacer border was born." "Yes, it was." "And how far out did you take it, then?" "I took it out to, I added this fabric. This one was not in her box, but I added that, so it was up to this polka dot border. And I appliqued the circles on. They were appliqued here to alleviate all the bulk in the seams there. And there was already bulk in the way Kari had done this, so I was trying to alleviate that. But I liked the circles, so I wanted to, I added the applique circles. It made it fun." "Well, round four was Gudrun's quilt. And we had all the way up to the black polka dots and so much going on in the middle. And this is the one where I really came to the realization that I like simple things. I figured out, I wanted to bring the center out to the edge. And because we have the curves, I wanted to do more curves. I measured and counted how many of these went across for 180 degrees and divided it out and realized that she had used a 15-degree ruler. So I ordered one and I was all excited, becasue I've never used one before. And so I, rather than having my contrast being on the middle, I figured out how to put it in the middle, so I could have this whole curvy border. And I got up to about here, and I realized it was just way too much, and you looked at it and you didn't know where to look. So I decided that it needed some plain space and there was a yardage of black, so I used the black and decided to just put at the centers and the corners. So I'm happy with that. I think it's fun to have a curvy edge, too." "What great additions. Thanks for sharing, Terry."