Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Keeping Caught Up

Hello and happy Wednesday!'s the middle of the week and the final day of February; February always seems to go quickly, but this year it went extra fast for me because I did lots of new pattern sewing and traveled twice to teach and speak at quilt retreats.  Last night I finished up the major writing process of the new quilt designs and just have editing to finish.  So...I'm looking forward to getting caught up and to starting new projects!

I just love this recent photo Chelsi took of our The Front Porch fabric collection 

which is arriving in shops as I write!  Hopefully, your favorite shops are carrying it...if not you can always email, and I'll send you to a few different places I know are carrying it!

I've been writing as much as possible about organizational ideas and helps for quilt works in progress on Wednesdays...and today I thought I'd tackle the topic of keeping caught up with Block of the Month projects. Last Friday night I was able to talk a little bit about my quilting journey to a lovely group of quilters in Delta, Utah.  One thing I told them that I always mention in trunk shows is how joining a block of the month program with a local shop really helped me progress as a quilter.  I learned new block designs and quilting techniques and feel like participating in a block of the month program whether in person, by mail, or on-line is really a sure way to increase your quilting skills.  But how does one stay caught up with these projects? (Especially when you find you've signed on for more than one or a few)! 

This year I'm participating in the Fat Quarter Shop Clementine quilt along and also hosting my own Mystery Block of the Month quilt along here on the blog.  I'm thinking of making two versions of the blocks I'm presenting each month so I end up with two quilts at the end of the year.  Since it's early in the year, I think I can get caught up with a second quilt rather quickly.  I have a few tips and ideas about staying caught up with these projects to share with you today--that being said, please know that I'm not always caught up and I often am finishing up deadlines right at "the wire."  Sometimes things just happen that get us off track for a little while or a long while.  But these are the things that have helped me over the years!

  1. Ten Tips for Staying Caught up with Block of the Month Projects

  1. Keep a list of block of the month projects you are working on throughout the year.  If patterns release on the same day each month, pencil it in on your calendar (or keep a list in your sewing room of those projects).
  2. Keep block of the month projects stored in a separate container in an easy to access place so that you can keep all block left-overs together for use in later blocks (or in case you make a mistake somewhere). Keeping the blocks stored in a specific place also makes it less likely that you'll forget where you put it. As soon as you get a new block or print the new instructions, add them to the container or storage area.
  3. Try to work on the block of the month as soon as you get it.  Sometimes this just isn't possible, but if you have the goal to work on it asap it helps to keep you focused.
  4. If you get behind, make the most recent block first and then go back to finish up older blocks when you get the chance.
  5. If the quilt design is known at the beginning, sew blocks and rows together as you make them.  This helps with getting the finished blocks into a quilt top more quickly.
  6.  Know when to say no...if a project is something you really want to do, go ahead and get it--storing it until a later time when you can work on it.  But add it to your list so you don't forget about it.  I actually have three of these projects stored away.  I am hoping to get at least one of them started and finished this year!
  7. Set aside one Saturday a month (or a quarter) to work on just block of the month projects.
  8.  If there is absolutely no way you're going to finish a block of the month project...finish a block for a pillow or three blocks for a table runner!  Donate the rest of the fabrics and cross it off your list!
  9. Another suggestion that works well for an un-started block of the month project is to gift it to a quilting friend as a kit!
  10.  Finally...keep a list of block of the month quilts you've will help you stay motivated and see the value of sticking with these year long projects.  You might also want to record what the most valuable lesson learned from the particular project was!

I hope these tips will help you stay caught up with block of the month projects.  They can be really rewarding and educational projects--and they also create a sense of community among quilters...which is such an important part of the quilting journey!  And...if you have any tips and thoughts on this subject, I would love for you to share them in the comments section!

Thanks so much for stopping by


Diane Melish said...

Thank you for the useful tips Sherri. I'm going to make my list today to help keep my BOMs on track.

Karee said...

Do you have any tips on staying current on all the gorgeous new collections?? I continue to fall in love. Normally, I am a steady, clear-thinking person. But during spring and fall I am out of control with desire for more fabric. Your new collection has triggered with overwhelming hunger, again.

Hildy said...

Love your new collection and I would have loved if this would have been in the Sew Sampler box.
Thanks for the tips about the BOMs I'm really good at falling behind at some point. What also hepls me if I know from the start which laout I wanna use for it but that's sometimes not so easy with BOMs.

Duchess B said...

Thank you Sherri for this list of tips. I am already keeping track of my UFO's in an excel spreadsheet and have them sorted by what's left to do. I then added another column for the order I wanted to complete them. Next up is to eliminate those I've lost interest in, a local quilt guild will be getting some orphan blocks for their community quilts projects.
I really like your idea of have a separate list of BOM projects, especially with the dates the patterns come out so will be feeding that into my quilting pleasures planner.
I enjoy reading your blog posts and admire your productivity.

KMSC said...

Thanks for the tips. Some I do already but you listed some that I need to try. My main problem is sewing the blocks each month but never finishing the quilt. I recently found two BOMs (blocks sewn) from ten years ago!

JanetD said...

I love all your tips- I do most of them. I especially love #6 - know when to say no! That's what I'm doing this year-but it's oh so hard! I absolutely love doing BOM's- so many of them pop up and all look fantastic. But this year I'm concentrating on finishing current WIP's and then working on quilts I've been wanting to make but they keep getting pushed aside. Love your new collection!

Rosemary B❤️ said...

These are great tips Sherri. I will hunt your fabric down!!

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

Great tips! I had a chuckle about gifting a BOM project. My sister did that for me--it is the FQS Fig Tree house BOM and she sent it to me right after my daughter left for college to cheer me up. I have not touched it a year and a half later! I am also doing Clementine and the Spelling Bee weekly blocks, so that is more than enough on my plate right now.

desertskyquilts said...

I love your new line - designs and colors. They go together so well!

edith csokmay said...

Your new line is beautiful!! I agree with your list for staying in too of all projects, especially working those blocks when you get them. One of my subscriptions has you post finished blocks before you get the next month, and that has really helped me stay current on all my projects.

Monica said...

Your fabric is beautiful! I sure have more ideas than i do time.... Hoping to start your BOM this month when fabric requirements are posted. Thanks for all the good i enjoy reading during my lunch (half) hour! :) Have a good day!

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