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Friday, January 15, 2010

BOM or Blocks of the Month and/or First Saturday Blocks

Hi Boys and Girls!

BOM...what in the heck is that? Well, in the quilting world it means Block of the Month. Sometimes, we don't want to fool with choosing our own fabric or we do not want to buy more than we need. Personally, I do not know one quilter who is AFRAID to buy more fabric than he or she needs! Anyway, there could possibly be one of you out there! So, a BOM is for you. Every month you receive or pick up from your LQS (local quilt shop) your block that has all the instructions and all the fabric needed for that block. The object is to finish that block before the next one arrives!! It can happen...

Another neat way to get a quilt is First Saturday Blocks. On the first Saturday of the month you pay for your first block. That too comes with instructions and fabric. It is usually $5. Also at that time, the shop may have you purchase the pattern or the finishing kit. The block is due the next month on the first Saturday at a specific time...usually in the morning. When you show that you have completed the block, you will be given the next block. If you do not miss a Saturday, you can get a quilt finished for $5 and/or the price of the pattern or finishing kit. When you turn in your block there is usually a short demo or the shop owner will have samples of things that are new to the shop. Also, there is a drawing. I won a free pass that can be used any month I am going to be late turning in my block. That is cool.

The First Saturday quilt I am working on now is Pieceful Nights: A Sampler Quilt by From My Heart to Your Hands. It is designed by Lori Smith. Today I finished another block which will be turned in the first Saturday in February.
This quilt will finish at 63 1/2" x 63 1/2" Rhonda at Oak Leaf Quilts has some blocks still available. She is at http://www.oakleafquilts.com/

Any successful block you make starts with precise piecing. It is crucial that you have 1/4" seams throughout your entire quilt. If you start a quilt on one machine, a Feather Weight, for instance, do all the blocks on that machine. I have two FWs that I take to retreats or workshops. I have one in WA state where I visit a lot and one at home. They only weigh 10 pounds. Want to know more about FWs? See http://www.featherweightfanatics.com/
Back to precise piecing. If you do not consistently have 1/4" seams, when you put all the blocks together and the top is finished, it will be wobbly. Your machine may come with a quarter foot attachment. If not, you may have a seam guide on your throat plate. Or you can do this test to learn how to sew an accurate 1/4" seam. http://quilting.about.com/od/machinepiecingyourquilts/ss/seam_allowance.htm

Another sure method to accurate piecing is pinning. I have been called the "Queen of Pinning." Fabric moves. To insure that it does not move, pin. This may seem over-kill to you. However, if you are making a scrappy quilt like this with lots of little pieces, pinning will save you a lot of headache in the long run. Pinning at each seam will help your seams to match. Of course, we do not have "Quilt Police" checking to make sure all our seams match, but you will feel so much better when it all comes together and is so very neat.


After cutting all your pieces, lay them out and check if your placement matches the picture. Check again...check one more time. In fact, I check the directions and picture each time I stitch a few pieces together. I like ironing each set as I go along. The iron is down the hall. That forces me to get up from the machine and get some exercise! I also like to iron the seams open. The general rule is to "iron seams towards dark fabric," but ironing seams open creates a nice smooth block with less bulk. You or your quilter will appreciate this when it comes time for quilting.

Another rule of thumb is to cut off the "dog ears" (sorry all you doggie-lovers out there) before stitching. This also helps reduce bulk.
So, here is the finished block. As you can see (oh I hope so!!) it is a perfect block with all seams that match. It will make a lovely quilt.
Why don't you try a BOM or First Saturday Quilt? You will meet lots of nice quilters and a little stress will be relieved by having all the fabrics you need. Oh, and if you goof  a little, like I have, and cut something a bit off, the shop owner has extra pieces so you can fix your mistake. Good luck and Happy Quilting!


  1. Great tips! Your block came out beautifully!

  2. Thanks! About 3 more to go and then the center piece.

  3. Looking good! A wonderful pattern.