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The Ins-and-Outs of BOMs

Featured Writer of October: Andi Strandfield

 

If you would like to see more of my featured writers, sign up for my monthly Newsletter here!

 

BOM - yet another of those crazy quilting acronyms! BOM stands for Block of the Month and it has become a popular option for designers and quilt shops to encourage quilters to tackle big projects.


Why BOMs?

The obvious benefit of a BOM is that it breaks a large quilt project down into manageable steps. A king-size quilt with twenty different blocks seems quite daunting, but we can handle working on one or two blocks at a time.

The quilt with a thousand pieces begins with just one seam.

Image Description: Patchwork version of the Arizona State Flag. Pieced with 2000 one-inch squares to commemorate the state’s Centennial. View the whole story of this quilt at https://youtu.be/G6OVIxc-01M


If you are a beginner quilter, there are skill-builder BOM programs (like the one Tori offers in Quilt Patch!). These quilts typically offer a variety of techniques from basic patchwork with squares and rectangles, to more advanced paper-piecing, applique and sewing with curves. There are so many options in the quilting world, you need to explore and find the techniques that you truly enjoy.


Benefits of BOMs

The skill-builder aspect of many BOM programs makes them popular. An added benefit is the community that develops among quilters who are working on the same pattern. Having a community by our side helps us cross the finish line and can provide guidance to help us through the tough spots.

The online community is a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration. Even if a pattern is not listed as a BOM, you can probably find a group of quilters and start a QAL (quilt-along) to cheer each other towards a finished project.

Image Description: Quilter holding a patchwork quilt. Andi, of True Blue Quilts, designed her quilt Directions as a six-month BOM.


After the BOM

Imagine that wonderful day when you have finished a year-long project. There are probably one or two blocks that were a struggle, but what about those that became favorites? I love returning to the BOM patterns for future projects. The BOM becomes my resource library, a database I can refer back to, and mix-and-match for more quilts.

If you’ve never created your own pattern, read about the process in my blog post “Design Your Own Sampler.”


Stand Alone projects

BOMs can easily be adapted for smaller projects. Did your life take a crazy turn halfway through the year and you ended up abandoning a 12-part BOM? Six blocks can make a cozy lap quilt. Set three blocks in a row for a table runner. Add some simple borders to a few single blocks for an eclectic set of placemats or pillows.


Guild Programs

The part I most look forward to during a BOM program is the show and tell. I love to see the different fabric and color combinations that people choose for their projects. It is so much fun to see a quilt grow as more blocks are added. If the final design is a mystery, that just adds to the excitement of the final reveal!

BOMs are the perfect addition to a quilt guild meeting. You can easily start by choosing an existing BOM pattern, or adapting any pattern to a series of smaller steps. The BOM representative can present each step at a monthly meeting, and all participants have a chance to share their progress.



Twice the Fun

BOMs are a great way to produce beautiful quilts for charity. In fact, a prolific quilter could turn a BOM project into a “two-fer” by making one block to keep and a second block each month for the charity quilt. I typically create a patriotic color scheme with the intention of donating the finished quilt to a veterans organization, then a more rainbow-colored option to keep or gift to a friend or family member.



Where to find BOMs

BOMs are everywhere! Stitchin’ Heaven and the Fat Quarter Shop are two of the most-well-known sources for BOM projects. A quick search on your favorite social media platform will return even more options. Keep your eyes and ears open in December - you will see new BOM programs and hear lots of information about groups starting in January. If you want to start later in the year, there are many six month BOMs. The ever-popular 100 Day challenge typically starts in July, but there are no rules set in stone. Gather a group of quilters and start whenever you are ready.

Image Description: Quilter holding a patchwork quilt, with an explosion graphic in the forefront. Text reads “2021 BOMs”. Each January, Andi shares a round-up of block-of-the-month projects for the coming year. Watch the 2021 recap video here: https://youtu.be/Ig7lx8OEMH8



PRO TIP

Stay organized for your BOM projects by designating a specific storage space. This could be a pretty basket, a plastic bin, or a tote bag from a special event. Keeping all the fabric and instructions together will save time each month when you are ready to continue working.

Image description: pyramid of storage boxes. Stay organized by keeping project components together in a container.

About the author:

Andi Stanfield blames her mother for her quilting obsession. It began in 2004 when Mom opened a fabric store. Within a few years, Andi purchased a longarm and began teaching and designing quilt patterns. Follow Andi’s journey, and continued collaborations with her mom, at www.truebluequilts.com


 

Coffee Chat with Andi Strandfield!

Coffee Chats with Quilters is a new interview series about the quilters behind the Quilts and Quilt Designs! In this episode I interview Andi Strandfield! We talk about Longarming, quilt design, and Andi shows me a sample of Angle Play with a fun spin on a classic block!


See more Coffee Chats with Quilters, here.

 

If you would like to see more of my featured writers, sign up for my monthly Newsletter here!


Links:

Find Andi on Instagram @truebluequilts

Find Andi's YouTube, here.

See Andi's website: www.truebluequilts.com

 

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