Term of the Week: Round Robin


For this term of the Week we finally jump away from acronyms – sort of. I’ve used the actual phrase here instead of the acronym, but Round Robbin is commonly referred to by its acronym RR as well!

Anyway, to the definition: what does Round Robbin mean exactly? No, it’s not referring to a fat bird. Round Robin is an event similar to a SAL, but the rules are a little bit different.

So here’s how a basic Round Robin is supposed to work: A group of stitchers get together and decide to stitch a project. The person chosen as a starter in the group gathers the supplies (chart, thread, fabric, etc.) and then mails it to the first person. That first person stitches the project, replaces any supplies they’ve used up, and sends it along to the next person. This continues until everyone now has a finish and the project makes it back to the RR starter. By the end, the goal is for everyone to have a finished piece with only one set of supplies.

There are many different types of Round Robins, however. One variation that’s the most popular is that there is only one main project and everyone in the RR stitches a small section rather than the whole piece, and at the end everyone has contributed to the RR starter’s main project. The stitchers in the RR don’t have finished pieces of their own but the RR starter now has a very treasured finish with a little piece of every stitcher. This type is most popular for charities and stitching a project for someone who can’t finish it themselves.

Round Robbins are not as popular as SALs and the reason why is the RR being mailed around. Every once in a while you’ll hear stories of the next person on the RR list receiving the project and then never sending it on again. The biggest deterrent for the popular ‘one project’ variation is if the piece is damaged by one stitcher – gets something spilled on it, makes a huge mistake, etc. – and the piece is ruined, all of the stitchers are out of the project and everyone has to start over.

SALs are more popular and preferred because your project is your own project and you don’t have to worry about it getting lost in the mail or another stitcher’s dog tearing it to pieces. However, Round Robbin is still the second-most popular group stitching event where everyone stitches the same project.


“Term of the Week” is a weekly blog post highlighting a new word or phrase commonly used among cross-stitchers but not found in an ordinary dictionary. These posts are to help explain the words’ meanings in context and provide a resource for anyone wondering what a term like “frogging” means. Check back every Thursday!