Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘BOM’


I recently read a comment by a blogger that said, “I’m a quilter that blogs, not a blogger that quilts”.  I wholeheartedly agree.  And, for several months, I have been quilting and not blogging.

I found myself at my blog site today and decided to write a few words and post a few pictures of quilts that I have finished over the last 6-7 months.


Galaxy, my NQA 2014 Block of the Month, was finished in time to display at my local quilt guild show in September 2015.  Some of you may know that the NQA has dissolved it’s organization.  I received a final member letter December 29, 2015, outlining some of the final steps taken by the board.  It is sad to see the organization go, but not surprising.


Medallion is my entry into the Circa 1825 quilt challenge for the American Quilt Study Group.  I finished the quilt in July and it was displayed at the annual Seminar in September 2015.

Sugar & Spice Quilt finished

Sugar & Spice is a queen size quilt I began last summer and finished just before Thanksgiving.  It is a pattern from Joan Ford‘s book Cut the Scraps and uses her Scraptherapy method.  The quilt was finished for my niece and her new husband, who were married in October 2015.

I also finished have finishes for projects that I did not photograph, but some of you may have followed the progress on my blog.  I completed two Feather Tree Advent calendars for each of my daughters to have for my grandchildren.  I was so determined to finish them to be used in December, that I neglected to take photographs of the finished feather tree quilt with all the wool ornaments attached.  You can look back at several blog posts about the wool ornaments, here, here, here, here, and here, that I made throughout 2013 & 2014.

I also completed two Christmas table toppers from my Groovy Girls Club days with my two sisters.  I spent November and part of December machine quilting both of the Advent calendars and table toppers.  And finally, I finished the binding on my second Dotty Quilt…finally.  I sent the quilt out to the long-armer in January last year.  I attached the binding, but never completed hand stitching it down until New Year’s Eve.  I decided that I wouldn’t move on to another project until the binding was finished.  As I think about it, the quilt really isn’t finished, because I still need to add the label.

I am on to other projects.  I always set quilting goals for the year.  Some are new and others are UFO’s and WIPs.  Maybe I’ll find the time to come back here and let you know about them.  Hopefully, I won’t be away for so long this time.

Happy Stitching!


String Blocks & Cozy Afternoon BOM

String blocks are fun to make and use up scraps. I pulled several purple strips from my scrap bins, along with some white and greens for accent. I made sixteen 5-inch blocks, stitching the strings diagonally across a muslin base. I like to use the muslin, although you can piece the block without it. I like the clean look on the back of the pieced blocks.

Purple String 2

I’ve alternated the direction of the blocks to create square designs within the piece. It will measure 18″ X 18″, perfect for a throw pillow; part of a wedding gift for my nephew and his finace.

I plan to participate in the Cozy Afternoon BOM by Jacquelynne Steves.


Her designs are so cheerful. The first two block patterns were released today and I haven’t even picked out my fabric. I plan to create the applique blocks. There’s still time to sign up; just click on the button to the right.

The National Quilting Association quilt show begins soon in Little Rock, AK. I entered the SewBatik Challenge again this year. Although I will not be attending, I am excited to see pictures from the show. I won’t be able to share pictures of my challenge quilt until some time in the future, since I neglected to take pictures before shipping if off to the show. It will travel as an exhibit over the next year, so no chance of seeing it anytime soon.

Now to finish my pillow project. What have you been stitching up lately?

Happy Quilting!

Finished Quilt Top

My previous post displayed my National Quilting Association Block of the Month quilt top with sashing added. I have since added the inside and outside borders. I cut the black outside borders on the straight grain of the fabric. I don’t usually do this, but had adequate fabric to make the borders without seams. Having the straight grain along the edge will keep the quilt edges from stretching while being quilted. The finished size is 76 X 90.

BOM with Borders

This side view captures a better view of the quilt. Following are additional pictures for your viewing pleasure.


Top to bottom view.

NQA BOM top corner

Titled: Galaxy – top right corner.

Closeup of Corner

Signature block in bottom right corner.

I hope all of you are enjoying happy finishes. Now off to the longarmer for the quilting.



Rearranging Quilt Blocks

Have you planned a layout for a sampler quilt and had difficulty keeping the blocks properly arranged while sewing them together? Or, have you changed your layout and realized later that your rearrangement placed identical blocks next to each other? Well, that’s where I am with my NQA BOM quilt. I initially completed ten blocks, one for each month of the BOM. After viewing the layout, I decided to make the 20-block quilt and produced a second block of each design. Some of the blocks are identical, using up the extra strips of fabric cut for the first block, while other blocks use completely different fabrics. After my sister helped me plan the layout, I carefully stacked and pinned the blocks together into rows and put them aside for awhile.

Here was the initial block arrangement.

Here was the initial block arrangement.

I stitched together the sashing strips with stitch and flip corner triangles, making friendship stars in the cornerstones. Some of these sashing strips have one triangle, while others have a triangle on each end of the strip. As I began sewing the blocks and sashing together, I made the mistake of sewing a single triangle sashing on upside down. Rather than unsew, I decided to flip the block over and move it one position to the right – Mistake #1. T the corner block was made from the same fabric as the star I re-positioned, so I moved the block to the bottom row of the quilt. But, as you may guess, I noticed another odd arrangement, and thus began a multiple block and switch. It wasn’t until I finished stitching all the blocks together and returned to look at the quilt top the next day, that I noticed the two checkerboard stars stitched next to each other. You may also notice that two other identical blocks are diagonal from each other on the left side.

Close-up of identical blocks next to each other.

Close-up of identical blocks next to each other.

I had other issues while putting together the blocks. One of the star blocks used the the red fabric as the background and created a white star. As mentioned, the fabric for the friendship stars in the sashing is also used in the quilt blocks – Mistake #2. When I stitched the sashing strip together next to the star with the red background, it created a red blob. I had to replace that friendship star with one from a different fabric – more unsewing. I stitched the rows of sashing strips to the bottom of each row of sashed star blocks. Mistake #3 – After stitching together row one and two, I realized that I had stitched the sashing to the top of the row, thus the blocks were backwards – more unsewing. With all of the unsewing and resewing, no wonder I have misarranged blocks.

Aerial view

Aerial view

Here is an overhead view of the quilt blocks stitched together with sashing. I really don’t want to unsew anymore of this quilt. I would rather put my efforts into other quilts and have more finishes. This quilt will be for my personal use and having a perfectly pieced quilt is not that important in the scheme of life. Now to add the inside and outside borders.

Hopefully you don’t experience as many struggles with your piecing as I did in this quilt. But, if you do, don’t give up. And, don’t try to be perfect with everything. Sometimes, finishing a quilt is the most important thing.

Happy Stitching!

New Year, New Priorities

I have been on a hiatus without a post since mid-October. I decided that the part of my life that I commit to quilting was using too much time for blogging – reading and writing. I haven’t been to my feedly account either. Although, I follow a few blogs via email, so I haven’t been totally out of the blogosphere. What I have been doing is using my time to quilt.

I'm currently working on putting these blocks together.

I’m currently stitching these blocks together.

Blogging became a way for me to document my quilting, but I want to be sure that it includes the important stuff, not just anything I do. I follow blogs to connect with other quilters, but decided I needed to downsize and only follow what would provide the most benefit for me as a quilter, as well as, staying up with the latest going on in the quilt world.

My sister & I began an online BOM together called Sew Sweet Simplicity - this is block #1.

My sister & I began an online BOM together called Sew Sweet Simplicity – this is block #1.

I have been more selective in what to attend, listen to and read. Some of my must-dos are listening to Pat Sloan’s weekly online radio show. TimQuilts is a regular read. My two sisters and I decided to start up a regular sewing day and invite family and friends to join us. We have had two events already, with a third planned for National Quilting Day. I even downsized my organization memberships, dropping two and planning to eliminate another when the membership comes up for renewal this year. And, I organized my quilting room over the holidays, so I find I can step into my space and work on a project without sorting through stacks of stuff or clearing an area to work.

I finished all my felt ornaments for the Advent Calendars.

I finished all 25 wool ornaments for both Advent Calendars.

More Wool Ornaments

Obviously my new priorities began before the new year, and I continue to streamline the quilting part of my life. My future objective is to keep the clutter out of the way and focus on those aspects of quilting that are most meaningful. Part of that is regaining time for blogging, so that I can continue to document, interact, and enjoy this craft that I have been doing for the last 35 years. I hope that you will follow along with me as I redirect my quilting journey.

Happy Stitching…

More BOM Finishes

I have been stitching a lot in the last few months, just not blogging about it. Blogging can take a lot of time, which impacts how much time I have to quilt. And life has way more important activities than spending all my extra time blogging. But, I thought I would share my next three blocks for the NQA Galaxy quilt.

Squared Star is the July block by NQACT Cindy Schultz. I found the instructions limited, needing further explanation. Maybe it was just me, but as a long time sewist and quilter, they did not make complete sense. The illustrations indicated what needed to be put together, but the words did not provide the needed information. And, the cuts of fabric were incorrect. I figured out the correct size and completed the block.

July BOM - Squared Star

July BOM – Squared Star

Steps to the Stars is the August block. The pattern was designed on EQ7 by Heather G. Tighe, NQACT. The block was pretty straightforward, with basic piecing instructions. I chose to strip piece the 4-patches. I made the flying geese sections using squares and rectangles and the stitch and flip method, while the instructions used triangles and required sewing on the diagonal grain. I find this kind of sewing more difficult and would not teach it to a beginner.

Steps to the Stars - July BOM

July BOM – Steps to the Stars

Finally, the September block is Sawtooth Star with String Pieced Center by NQACT, Fran Kordek. Many of the monthly blocks are variations on the Sawtooth star block. I like this one. The center of this block has four string pieced blocks. A 4-1/2 inch muslin square is used for the base and the strips are added improvisationally. My only mistake was failing to realize that the muslin is cut larger than needed and trimmed to the finished size. I figured it out when my geese units were too short. I usually skim instructions, having a good understanding of block construction. I may have wasted less fabric on the strip piecing if I had realized this first and used skinnier strips for the strings. To correct my mistake, I just trimmed the string pieced center down along the outside edge. I lost some of the outside strings, but the overall affect was achieved.

Sawtooth Star with String Pieced Center

Sawtooth Star with String Pieced Center

I planned to download the next block pattern today, but it isn’t available. I am on target to complete the quilt considering that I have completed all of the blocks, so far. I should probably start selecting some fabrics for sashing and borders. Especially since I found a new BOM that I want to do. Jacquelynne Steves is offering a free BOM called Sew Sweet Simplicity on her website beginning October 27th. She was a featured guest on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio with Pat Sloan on Monday. I grabbed her button and signed up.

Until next time…


I found some time between holiday week-end activities to stitch together another star block for my NQA Galaxy BOM quilt. I accomplished the stitching on the June block, Star of Illusion. The pattern is designed by Debby Kratovil from a “Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar” published by Martingale and Company. Cyndi McChesney, an NQA certified teacher, has written the instructions.

June BOM - Star of Illusion

June BOM – Star of Illusion

The block parts are pieced using a quick piecing technique and a foundation paper piecing technique. As I stated last month, foundation paper piecing is not a favorite of mine. This time, I had to draft my own paper foundation. Then, I followed the same process as last month to piece the star points. The corner blocks were quick pieced by making half square triangles (HST) from red fabric squares by drawing a line down the center and stitching 1/4-inch on either side. Then, the resulting HST block was stitched to a white square in the same manner. This produced a block with quarter square triangles on one side.

In the instructions, the red and white squares were all cut the same size. This resulted in the pieced red HST being smaller than the white square. The instructions stated to sew a 1/2-inch seam from the center drawn line. I found this difficult to do, since the seam guide on the machine was hidden by the fabric during stitching. Also, it was difficult to center the smaller red HST onto the white square and ensure that the corners lined up. I wonder sometimes if teachers stitch the block when writing instructions.

I preferred to cut the white square the same size as the red HST section and just sew a 1/4-inch seam from the center drawn line. This was easier to line up and to stitch. Most quilters have a 1/4-inch foot for sewing seams, so that makes more sense. Even the standard foot isn’t 1/2-inch wide. Maybe the teacher was thinking that the white square would be an odd measurement to cut. I simply cut the block to the finished HST size and continued to stitch the parts together to form the block section. The final section still needed to be trimmed to 4-1/2-inches after piecing it together.

Six of the star blocks are now complete, and I’m really not behind, as many of us get with BOM patterns. The July star block pattern, Squared Star, was only just made available to members on July 1st. I decided to take a photo of all six blocks to share, mostly because I purchased a new digital camera and the photos are much brighter and clearer. Some of the previous blocks looked dark or washed out when they were posted. Here are the six blocks in the order that they were stitched.

NQA 2014 BOM - January through June completed blocks

NQA 2014 BOM – January through June completed blocks

So far, I have been able to stick to my color palette of 4-5 red fabrics. Most of the star blocks required one or two colors plus the white background for the pattern. This star block used three and the April pattern used four. It is difficult to determine how the blocks will be set together, but they look fairly good together so far. And, I have learned some new foundation paper piecing techniques while doing this BOM, which is often why a quilter decides to do a BOM. My intention was to use up some old fabrics, since many of these are from the eighties and nineties. I need to freshen up my stash.

Are you working on a Block of the Month pattern for this year? How are you doing?



In my last post, I mentioned that I had completed my April BOM (block of the month). Today, I finally snapped a pic to post. The pattern is Home in Ohio designed by Cyndi McChesney. Cyndi is a certified teacher through the National Quilting Association and this BOM is offered to members through the guild’s website. All the patterns are stars that will form a quilt called Galaxy.

I am using reds from my stash to make the blocks, replacing the blues in the patterns. This particular star pattern is created from three different units and the instructions are written separately for each unit – log cabin variation for center block, four patches in corners, and quarter square triangle patches to make the star points. I made the mistake of stitching each unit together without looking ahead at what fabric would be needed in the next unit. Unfortunately, the last unit needed a 5-1/2″ square of white fabric. Using many different white fat quarters and scraps and cutting each width as a strip, I did not leave a insufficient width of fabric left to cut the square. I could have cut the larger square first and would have had enough fabric to cut out the smaller pieces.


Home in Ohio Star

Anymore, I tend to skim the reading material and look at the illustrations, sometimes missing important information in the pattern. I also work sequentially, so I proceeded through the pattern in the order given. The adage to read a pattern through first really is important. I can say that I did read it when I initially printed the pattern, but should have also read it through a second time before I began. You probably can see, I also should have chosen a few more reds for the pattern to provide more contrast in the design. One of the fabrics in the center log cabin touches itself in the surrounding star units, giving a different look than intended for the block. But I’m not planning on doing an “unsewing” with this quilt.

I still like how the block looks. I continue to mix into the blocks from the six reds I pulled from my stash. This particular block allows you to see the value of each fabric as they are positioned next to the others, so I can see that my dark, medium and light selections show up as designed. I may need to pull a few more pieces from my stash to ensure future blocks maintain the integrity of the design.

In just over a week I will be able to download the next star pattern in this BOM series. Maybe you’re enjoying stitching up a BOM. I’d love to hear about your experience with your project.

Happy Stitching!



I know, I know, it’s April. But, I was only just able to finish the March Block of the Month (BOM) for my Galaxy quilt. The patterns are for members only of the National Quilting Association. This month’s block utilized two different techniques – handwork and machine applique. The star points utilized a stitch and turn technique that formed the star points, while the center is a hexagon constructed using a paper template. The pattern was published by Andover Fabrics, who granted permission to the NQA to use it in the quilt. I chose to machine applique the star using a blanket stitch. I hand appliqued the center, but added a blanket stitch for appearances. The block construction is taught by certified teacher, Ruth Ann Johnson, of West Virginia.

March BOM - NQA

March BOM – NQA

This month’s star block pattern is the Savery Friendship Star. The original quilt was made by Elizabeth Hooten (Cresson) Savery and friends in Philadelphia, PA in and dated 1844. The quilt measures  83-1/4 X 80 inches. The quilt was made of cotton and linen fabrics using the English template method, and the center hexagons were inked with signatures and drawings. The quilt was gifted to the American Folk Art Museum by Marie D. and Charles A. T. O’Neill. You can read more about the quilt and other Quaker quilts HERE. I’m considering adding my signature to the center hexagon.

The block was fun to make and a change of pace from the sewing activities of late. You may have noticed my recent post about prayer cloths. I continued making more of these, along with two cotton skirts for my sister to wear on her mission’s trip. She departed on Thursday to catch a flight in Chicago and has been in Haiti since last night. So, now I am back to my regular sewing projects. This afternoon, I hope to baste my SewBatik challenge quilt and begin the FMQ. I choose not to provide any pics of this project, since it will be entered into the NQA challenge later in May. At that time, I will reveal my final project, the results of which I am very pleased.

Hope that you find time to do something quilty today. Happy Stitching!

NQA February BOM

Now that my Riley Blake challenge quilt is complete, I can focus on other projects. First up was to complete the February BOM for my NQA project. I have been a member of the National Quilting Association since 2008. This year, I have decided to participate in the SewBatik fabric challenge, but will not be able to attend the annual show. So, I decided to join in on the BOM for members only.

This month, NQA certified teacher Barbara Arnold provides the star pattern. The February pattern is  Sawtooth Checker Star. I used two different red fabrics from my stash. Again, the instructions were easy to follow and the diagrams provided additional help. The center of the star is a 16-patch of alternating red and white two-inch squares. Barbara utilized strip piecing for the two colors, then cut them apart into sections. Two of these sections were sewn into a row, then four rows sewn together to make the center. This process was different from other patterns that I have made. I had expected to make four patches and sew them together. However, this sequence of stitching had fewer seams to match through the piecing process and stitched together quickly. The remaining block sections are flying geese units and squares.

Here is the finished block that I stitched up today.

February BOM - NQA

February BOM – NQA

I am liking these blocks. Are you working on a BOM? How are you doing?

Happy Stitching!

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