Hello and happy Wednesday! We have just one more week until the Block Heads 3 quilt along officially begins. I’ve started sewing blocks, and I know several other designers are busy sewing away right now as well. It’s going to be an incredible quilt that you won’t want to miss out on! So, I thought today would be a good day to share 10 Tips for Keeping Up with Block of the Month Projects. Because we all want to finish all of these projects that we begin:)
10 Tips for Block of the Month Projects
1. Keep a List of Your Projects
It’s a good idea to keep a list of the Block of the Month projects you’ll be working on throughout the year. You might even want to pencil in dates/weeks blocks are released or mailed. This is helpful so you don’t forget about any of the projects you’re working on.
2. Create a Designated Storage Area for Each Project
Keep each block of the month project stored in it’s own container or drawer in an easy to access place. Also store block left-overs with your finished blocks and patterns. This makes it easy to utilize left overs from previous blocks when needed. I add new patterns/fabrics to the storage drawer as soon as I get them.
3. Begin Right Away
When beginning a new Block of the Month project, try to decide on your fabrics (if needed) as soon as possible. This way you can begin collecting them right away. Get extra yardage of your favorite prints to use for border and/or binding. Try to work on each block as soon as you get it. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but a quick read of the instructions right at the beginning can help get you thinking.
4. What to Do if You Get Behind…
This is a trick a friend taught me back in my scrap-booking days. I was a bit overwhelmed with trying to get all of my children’s scrapbooks in order, and she wisely said, “Do this year first, and then go back and do the earlier years as you have time.” This is perfect advice for Block of the Month projects, too. Make the most recent block first, try to stay caught up, and then go back at the end to finish missed blocks.
5. If Possible, Sew Rows/Sections as You Go
This isn’t always possible since so many Block of the Month projects have mystery settings or limited setting information at the beginning. But for those projects with definite settings, starting to sew rows and sections together as you go can be a huge time saver in the end.
6. Know When Too Many is Too Many
Sometimes it’s just not possible to work on everything on our lists (I know most quilters have a to-do list long enough to fill several life-times). Pick your favorites, and save the rest. I actually have a couple in storage that I still want to get to one day. I have all of the fabrics and patterns together in a labeled bin.
7. Time Block Your BOM Sewing
Pick a day or time each week or month to work on Block of the Month projects. This makes it easy to get caught up. Block of the Month projects are also great things to take on a retreat since you should have all of the patterns/fabrics together. Just remember to take extra background fabric along if possible.
8. Make an Alternate Version
If you can see there is absolutely no way you’re going to be able to finish a Block of the Month project, go ahead an make an alternate version. Make a block for a pillow or a few blocks for a table runner and call it good. Donate the remaining fabrics or add them to your scrap bins and cross it off the list.
9. Gift It
I’ve used this one before too…I once saved everything for a fun Block of the Month I knew a friend would want to make and gifted it to her for Christmas at the end of the year. I was able to cross a project off my list, and she was able to make a quilt she wished she had signed up for!
10. Keep a List of Finished BOM’s
Finally, keep a list of Block of the Month projects you have finished over the years. This can be a terrific testimonial of how it really is wonderful to be able to accomplish large projects and goals just a little bit at a time–the whole eating an elephant concept brought to life in the quilting room!
My 2020 Block of the Month Projects
I hope some of these ideas and tips for Keeping Up With Block of the Month Projects are helpful! I’m sewing along with three this year:
- My Quilting Life Mystery Block of the Month for 2020 which began yesterday.
- Block Heads 3 (details here with more information here).
- And the Bloomtopia Quilt Along from Fat Quarter Shop with our Summer Sweet fabrics
Happy Quilting, and thanks so much for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next Wednesday for my first Block Heads 3 post!
Barbara D Teter says
I leave a message BUT you never answer my questions!
sherri McConnell says
I haven’t seen a message before…but you can always email me!
T Holzer says
Lots of great tips here, Sherri! I especially like #4. When I get behind in projects, I tend to shut down and eventually walk away. But I usually get behind because I’m overcommitted. It’s a vicious cycle, right?!? I would like to know the quilting design patterns that are on tip # 2 and #8. I’ve been wondering for a while but I didn’t want to bug you when you’re always so busy. So if you happen to know off hand, I’d like to know. Thanks and have a great day!
Oh I would like to know too please! #2 and #8 are very pretty!
Laura Sherman says
Thank you for sharing your tips. I am beginning to feel overwhelmed and will be using some of your ideas to keep me focused and organized this year.
Sue H says
Timely post, for sure. Thanks!
I’m looking forward to this. I admit to have a few too many quilts on the go. 2020 is my year to start and finish. If I have time I’ll finish older ones. I love your tips. I’m also going to make a list of what I’ve got on the go. It might scare me a little but I’m losing track.
Thank you for the great tips. I’ve only been sewing for a year now and quilting since July of 2019. I’ve done a few quilt alongs and attended one retreat. But I have to say my first mistake for me was I bought a block of the month before any of the sew alongs or retreats. I was at a loss. The BOM , is not a beginner! My mistake, and it has held me back because I think I should keep with it. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that one day I will be able to but the time isn’t right. I need more practice. This post is what I needed, thank you again… Lisa
Kay Welch says
The timing of your post couldn’t be more perfect for me – I am planning to do several BOM or other challenge projects this year. I was struggling to figure out the best way to stay organized and on top of them, so I can enjoy the making. Your tips will be a big help. Thanks
Thanks for your tips! So far I plan to make your BOM (and finish the ones from last year;-), you scrap challenge and the Modablockhead 3 (and perhaps finish 1 and 2 finally). This shoud keep me busy throughout the year.
Thanks for the great suggestions/tips!. I’m attending a quilt retreat this weekend so it will be the perfect time to start your 2020 BOM! I also have several UFOs I need to work on so I can start something new such as Moda Blockhead 3 (you know, that new, shiny object)!
Christine Mulvihill says
Thanks for the great tips Sherri. I have used several of them this past year when I joined at least six. I was able to keep up each week as they all don’t come at the same time. Some weekly some every two weeks some every month. What a great quilting experience to be able to work on blocks from fabulous designers. My piecing has so much improved. The other fantastic thing is you can get all the downloads for free and sometimes
videos are even available. I am starting this year with your block of the month and blockheads 3.
I look forward to the challenge. Thanks again for all of your blog material.
Monica Kostak says
Thank you….some food for thought as i just finished my lunch and need to get back to work. I don’t always comment but enjoy reading your posts. Very beneficial!…..
Thanks for the tips Sherri!! I was feeling overwhelmed catching up on my BOM’s after falling behind during the holiday season but I am going to take your advice and start with the current installment and catch up at the end or when I have some free sewing time 🙂 This seems so much more doable now!!! Thanks again.
Judy Blinkenberg says
Thank you. I think I’m doing more than 3 so will need to think this through. Thank you for the advice. I want do do them all but then my house and laundry will be a nightmare!
I sometimes cut my blocks out for each week/month and place the pieces along with that block’s instructions in a plastic bag. I label it and then stitch them when I have time to sew. It’s like having my own kit that is ready to go. This keeps me organized and I can make lots of sewing progress in an afternoon sometimes completing 4 or 5 blocks. Cutting them out never takes much time.
Patty Fowl says
Great tips Sherri. I generally know my limitations so don’t overextend myself. I am going to work on your Mystery BOM 2019 and your Scrappy Log Cabin Quilt along in reds and greens, because I have a huge stash of both and I loved your versions. Once I get caught up with those, I intend to do your BOM for 2020 also…love your patterns and appreciate all the time you take to create and give us this free project. Thank you so much for always keeping your blog fresh and relevant!!
Thank you the great tips. Love the fabric. Would you mind sharing name of fabric.? Thank you.
sherri McConnell says
Fabrics are from a variety of our collections with Moda…most recent is Summer Sweet. Harper’s Garden is still available in shops, too!
Marcia Baker says
Hi Sherri! I just saw this list posted on FQS #designermysterybom2019 & really appreciate the great advice. I love your designs & fabric. Thanks again.