Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Learning Through BOM

BOM means Block of the Month....shouldn't that be BOTM? 

I am doing two of them right now, one with a local quilter and one with a quilter in a land far, far away called Wisconsin.

The local quilter and & I are doing the same pattern and essentially the same colors, except that she is making a larger version AND we use our own fabrics. My blocks are in this first picture. They are simple and pastels.

The pattern for each block should have a caution sign on it. We both assembled #2 incorrectly only it LOOKS correct, so it stays. Then, in #3, the directions told you how to piece and lay it out. However, three out of the four examples showed it like I have above, which I preferred. So much for following patterns and directions.

I should know better too. The first mystery quilt I ever made challenged me for a year! I finally learned enough about quilting to try something different that did work. Later when I went into the store, others told me that particular pattern missed a step. Well duh.

The BOM I am making with RexieR, the quilter in WI, is more of a block exchange, and so anything goes as long, except for the agreed-upon-size. We wanted a focus for it, as I have shared before, and came up with the concept of creating a Calendar Quilt...one block for every month of the year. It is supposed to make sense to anyone looking at the quilt that the blocks represent the month.

This is my September Block, which I called "First Day of School".

Rexie drives a school bus. I didn't have a pattern here, and started with the bus color, and gathered a stone gray for the pavement, some green, and then sky. I kept pondering options for doing the front of the bus for the block, then considered the back, and then finally decided upon this side option of a bus driving down the street with kids and a driver. 

I went looking for fabric that had people. The dear shop owner at 5 Heart Quilts here in Tehachapi, brought out some fabric scraps she'd saved with faces next to the edge or cut off. They worked perfectly for what I wanted.  The stop sign also came from a fabric scrap I had. 

The sky was wrong for September. It seemed more snowy after I had it in the block...so I brought out my thicker embroidery yarns and started up with a sun and rays...and the winds came next. Tires went on and the 2 zig-zag lines.  I was most pleased with it. Most pleased. In fact, I loved it.

Here is the block she sent that she calls, "Universal Basket". Wow. It came in the mail today and I was so excited to open the envelope. 

I can hardly believe that she is a new quilter. She loves doing applique, and if you remember did that plus beading on the one from August. RexieR is an artist and has worked with a number of mediums. She is in love with this one now, and I am feeling mighty lucky to get some of what she creates.

Both quilts I am making are going to be stunning when they are finished, and both of them provide a certain self-improvement and self-education for me in different ways.

I've found that when I do things with people I cherish like this, and at the same time, there is a nice feeling of support and camaraderie that comes with it all. Quilting still is a solitary art done at your own sewing machine in your own time.

Like any activity, there is a jargon specific to it, online groups, tutorials, even in-person classes or retreats. With this art, I have found people so willing to share what they know, what resources they have, and who able to give others encouragement to stretch and do more with their work.

I am glad to have found quilting, even later in my life. 

I've been thinking about doing a Row of the Month quilt on my own. I love the House Blocks and have been collecting patterns for them. I've created two of them now and would need to scale them down to fit. As soon as I get these holiday quilts shipped to my family, it is the next thing on my list to consider quilting

And if anyone is interested in building one of their own ROW OF THE MONTH with me using my house block concept or one of your own ideas, please send me a comment here.