5 Tips for Your Next Block-of-the-Month Quilting Project

block of the month quilts

The year draws to a close. The leaves have fallen, perhaps you’ve even seen the first dusting of snow, and the holidays approach. And if you signed up for a Block-of-the-Month quilting project, you’ve received your last installment.

Quilty’s running Block-of-the-Month feature, the Urban Basix quilt, began with the January/February 2018 issue and wrapped up with the November/December 2018 issue. I have to say, looking back, I learned a lot.

Urban Basix Block-of-the-Month Quilt

Urban Basix Block-of-the-Month Quilt

I found some favorite new quilt blocks, for one thing. The 30” Broken Window quilt block, from the September/October 2018 issue, has to be my favorite. There’s something about the color placement and the Triangle-Square units that creates a visual echo or ripple. It looks so cool that I thought it would be tricky, but it’s not!

Broken Windows Quilt Block

Broken Windows Quilt Block

The 15” Far West quilt block was my other favorite. I hadn’t seen it before, and it came together quickly–or maybe all block-of-the-month quilts come together that quickly! Because you’re working on only one or maybe two quilt blocks each month, you have time to focus on it and finish it. Cross that one off the list!

Far West Quilt Block

Far West Quilt Block

The New Year is a traditional time to start up a new BOM (though by no means is it the only time to start), so here are a few tips to keep in mind when signing up for a block-of-the-month quilting program.

Block-of-the-Month Quilting Tips

Pick a BOM with fabric you like.

I’m all for picking a block-of-the-month that stretches your skills. But if you’re signing up to have fabrics sent to you as part of a BOM, make sure you really, really like the collection. With a BOM, you live with that fabric all year, and each delivery should be a gleeful gift to yourself. You want to sort your fabrics for that month’s block and think, ”Gosh, that’s still just the prettiest print ever!” not ”Ugh, again?”

If there are videos, watch ‘em.

Quilt instructions are fabulous, and diagrams tell you what you need, but every time I’ve watched a video tutorial, I learn something surprising and useful. Watch them before you start cutting or sewing; you’ll probably pick up a trick that will head off a problem.

Read through the instructions.

Same here. Read ‘em before you start cutting or sewing. As you read, look at each fabric; sort, stack, label. Think through the instructions as you read, and make sure you have all the tools you need. Because cutting into the wrong green print or spending 45 minutes hunting for that sheet of template plastic you didn’t actually buy can really slow you down.

Share as you go.

Make it social! Posting your progress to Facebook or Instagram is a way to stay motivated. When a church friend asks about your progress, or a quilting buddy raves about the fabric, it reconnects you with a project. Using hashtags on Instagram allows you to tune into what everyone else is doing; joining that BOM’s Facebook groups also lets you ask (and give!) advice.

You don’t have to follow the rules.

There are plenty of quilters who like to make a project their own, by tweaking color placement. With BOMs, you need to be thoughtful about deviating from the rules–you receive some extra fabric, usually, but it’s not unlimited, so swapping that blue and green print may take some thinking . . . Do the thinking, and deviate! Make the quilt your own. Gigi Khalsa played with her Freeform BOM, and it made her so happy with the end result. And that’s the point, right? Have fun making your quilt!

Have a piece-ful new year!

Vanessa

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