Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Where do I start?

I had an email from a friend the other day asking about blocks of the month.  Where do I start?  How do I start?  She quite possibly wanted to ask why do I start, but she didn't.

Where do I start?  I take a good look at the photo of the quilt that is usually provided and go from there.  I don't think I've ever done a BOM that I've known what the blocks will look like until they are posted each month.........................I can't think of one anyway.  From that I take a look in my stash and most times I can find something that works.
I can usually come up with a background fabric.  I either play it safe with a cream/white fabric or choose a subtle colour.  I've turned fabric over and used the back so the print faded away.  I'll see if I can get close ups and give you samples. (hmmmmm, these worked!)  From that I decide on the sashings, if there are any, because I want things to flow.  I just don't like it when I look at a quilt and something there makes it the focal point and it shouldn't be.  If I'm pulling from my scraps I'll audition fabrics on my flannel wall, but we'll talk more about that another day.
actually a soft turquoise

backside of fabric

a print and a plain sewn together

I don't usually choose the border until its time and then I try to continue the flow.  (By the way, I didn't choose the fabric for the "crow block".  My friend Irene told me about it.  It's from Connecting Threads.)

Another question asked was do I pick a colour theme or mix it up?  That's hard to answer really.  This time I did pick a colour theme, but I have the advantage of knowing the blocks.  I chose white which is not my first choice at any time.  I'm not a fan of's too stark, too cold.  It looks like snow!!!  It also looks like mashed potatoes which is a lovelier thought.  I want to use fabric up and this colour was what I had a lot of.

Fall always conjures up visions for me of oranges, yellows, reds, greens.  A fall green is a different colour that a spring green. 

Spring colours are fresher, like a new beginning.  Purple crocuses, yellow daffodils, tulips in every colour under the sun.

Summer to me says "red", as in hot, hot, hot.  Green again but another shade of it.  Yellow for that bright beautiful summer sun.  Hazy blue because we tend to get a lot of smog now.  Too many automobiles and not enough walking.  Signs of the times.
Winter is stark and cold in my part of the world (well, its suppose to be, this winter being the exception).  Blues, greys and whites come to mind.  Take a look at the sky in all four seasons.  Have you ever noticed the different shades of blue?  A winter sky is always bluer than a summer sky in Ontario. The sky on the prairies is always a brighter blue that ours.  The sky over PEI is a different colour too. 

Nature has the best palette for colour you will ever come across. This is the sky over PEI one day last July.  Look how many different shades of blue are in the photo.  Now count the greens.  They all flow too, don't they?


Think about what the designer has told you so far about the quilt.  Did she say its a calendar quilt?  Think 12 months of the year.  Did she mention something about spring/fall/summer/Christmas?  Think in those colours.

Sometimes I see a BOM that I think will be a great idea to start.  And I do start.  And I do one block and think, this isn't for me, so I don't do anymore.  I just did that with a BOM.  I decided I didn't really like what was happening.  I dropped it like a hot potato.  The block I did?  I put it in the garbage, that's how impressed I was.  It wasn't fit to be a pot holder.  It was a learning experience because I did something on it, I've never done before. 

Some little pointers for you when doing a BOM. I wouldn't find anything each month if I wasn't organized.  A place for everything, and everything in its place.............

1.  Keep everything together in one place so its easily found.

2.  Keep all the patterns in a folder so you can find them.
3.  Keep all the thread, embroidery floss together until the whole quilt is finished.
4.  Keep snips, seam ripper, needles, marking pens, rulers, in the box as well.  It will save time each month if you don't have to go searching for what you need.  Ask me how I learned that lesson.

5.  Mark the date on the calendar that the blocks will be published. You can keep track on your computer calendar too.   Some are available all year, others only for the month they are given out and then you have to buy them.
6.  Try to use up the scraps in your stash instead of buying fat quarters for one tiny little piece.  You aren't getting rid of much fabric, if you have to go out and buy more.  I'm trying desperately to rid myself of some fabric.  Its not working!!!
7.  Tuck a notebook in your box.  Write yourself little notes about what is important to you in regards to the BOM.
8.  If you do a blanket stitch around your fusible web, mark down the length and width of what you used.  Your blocks will look better if the stitching is consistent in each one.  I even keep track of which sewing machine.  For some I write down whether I used my 1/4" foot or I moved the needle over to 1/4". 

9.  Read all the directions carefully.

Good luck with your BOM's.  I really enjoy doing them. 


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