Sunday, August 16, 2015

BOM Struggles aka Old Voices, New Impressions

I know that BOM' s (block of the month) quilts are very popular with many people.  I signed up for one early on in my quilting adventure and it's one of my favorite quilts to this day.  It was not without issues, though. Then I jumped into another one several years later because it was all 30's prints and I rode the crazy train about different shades of Kona Snow.  Ha, life struggles kicked in and made that a complete non issue in the roadmap of life and I did finish that top.  JT2 sits in a box, gathering dust.

 And yet, here I go again.  Old Voices, New Impressions. Not really a BOM, more of a sew along.  Make 4 blocks per month for the next 6 months, easy, right?  Except I chose to make this project using the fusible machine appliqued method. This seems to generate a bit of a mess for me and once again, I realized why I do not like BOM's.  I get everything out, and I just want to stay on task.  If I need to make 240 flying geese for the finished project, please tell me that in the first pattern. Make 12, then 18, then another  12, well, this doesn't work for me. I'm more of a  production mode kind of quilter 

Here is the status of my cutting table the last few weeks! Not fun when I have to square up a customer backing for quilting.

Plus making a scrappy project means working with scraps. I dig into my scrap basket on a regular basis and this is what my sewing room looks like at any given time. Cleaning and putting everything away to take it all back out in a few weeks and repeat this cycle just does not work for me.

The first blocks were fast, very little decision making required.  Select bright prints and colors and make the block. Then the hard part sets in, the last 6 or so blocks. This is when I put all the blocks up and arrange how I think they will go. 5 bird blocks so one for each corner and one for the center.    I started playing with the remaining backgrounds for balance. I can't have 2 striped shirting  prints side by side.  I'm sure you understand this!

Then I pinned up the patterns of the remaining blocks and the decisions became harder and narrower. 4 wreath type blocks can surround the center block. 2 baskets, one for each side. Trying to balance out colors and prints meant every piece of fabric had to be vetted. Did I use that in a neighboring block? Oh, that was the bird wing, I can't make it a flower center. I used that red for berries in that block, go back and pick another red. Do I make the stems brown or green? If I use green, do I pick one with yellow, or a muted green? And so it goes on and on............

Here are all the prepped blocks on the wall. I also had to balance out that brighter background with the one darker background block. I thought about replacing them, but I think they will add some interest when it's all together and quilted.

I started playing with some sashing ideas. I have a box full of these 1/2 sq tri's from a long ago swap.  Hmmm, something to ponder once all the blanket stitching has been done.  The bird in the corner is my one of my favorite blocks and it might end up back in the center.  It lived there for a while,  but I don't have to make those decisions for some time.

Here are a few close-up shots of the blocks. Again, not much has been stitched down, that will be my winter project. As usual, click pictures for larger shots. 

All the blocks have been put away. I store them on a pant hanger with a zip bag around them and that takes much less space than another box in my sewing room.

Ahhhhh, here is my basket of CW fabric with my basket of scraps. So organized and neat and tidy.

And I've reclaimed my cutting table. No more bits of fusible, light box has been tucked away, scraps and test fabrics and pieces that didn't make the cut are all cleaned up.

Thank you Lori, at Humble Quilts, for instigating this. Karen, sorry I didn't stick to the plan. I love these blocks, and I know it will be a great winter project for me. I've already picked the next quilt box to open up and get to work on. But this next one is a 2 color quilt, the blocks are made and I'm onto the setting strips. No decisions left, just the process of pinning, stitching, and pressing!

Keep on stitching,


Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I feel the same way about making all of one unit at the same time, or at the very least getting it all cut and ready to sew at once. You have an ambitious winter project there.

Sue said...

Love your idea of the half square triangles Sharon. I am prepping applique blocks to bring with me on my trip to Canada. Not the same pattern as you, ( I didn't have the book) but I might borrow your idea of the HST's. Also what a brilliant idea storing your blocks. Might give that a try as well.

Mimi said...

LOL..I feel your pain. I remember doing the Beyond the Cherry Trees and getting so tired of seeing that fabric out and about for a VERY long time. Your blocks to this point look lovely and I know you are going to love this quilt when it is all done. I think you and I are very much alike. I don't want to be jumping around in a pattern going back and forth. Print it out and get it done. No messing around. that it is neatly put away, just remember not to "forget" it for a few years. It's too lovely to put off too long.

Karen said...

I prepped all but four of my blocks so we are somewhat alike. I like to do it all while I have the fabric out and not have a bunch of fabrics here and another bunch for a different project. I stitch on them as the mood hits. I like what I see with yours. Enjoy the stitching when you are in the mood and have time and share as you go along.

Lori said...

So lovely Sharon! I could have driven myself nuts arranging and rearranging BTCT blocks. Finally I said enough and called it good! It can get frustrating if you are at it too long.
But, they look really great!

Kyle said...

Samplers can be a challenging quilt to make. It's a real balancing act and a messy one when its scrappy. You've done a great job. Your blocks are lovely with lots of interest. I would have been working ahead too. BOM's are a good way to pace out a project but it can kill your interest if it drags out too long or when the mess takes over. You came up with a solution that worked for you.

Brandie said...

Yes! You just said everything I also have discovered and feel, except that you continued and finished all your blocks.
I looks great!

Diane said...

The comments about not being good at the BOM concept and being more of a production quilter could have come out of my mouth! I am so glad to know that I'm not the only one who has these issues. :)
The blocks are fantastic and I love the triangles for sashing. I need to follow your lead and clean of the cutting table, mine still looks like your 'before'.
Maybe this weekend!

Unknown said...

I think they're more attractive with the strong colorful backgrounds. Love your fabrics so much, very beautiful and impressive.

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Rebecca in AK said...

Hi Sharon! Karen sent me a link to your blog. I am doing the Old Voices New Impressions sew along too. I loved seeing your blocks! Just beautiful!