Thursday, April 29, 2010

8 Reasons Why I LOVE This Year's Block of the Month Club

So I’ve been working on this year’s Block of the Month quilt at home (one of the fabulous perks of my job!) and I am just so into it! It is so pretty, and the whole program is so great this year, and I was just thinking about how awesome it all is over my morning coffee, and I thought I would share with you all what is making me so happy:
8 Reasons I LOVE this year’s Block of the Month (and you will too!)
1. It’s gorgeous. The warm tones of burgundy, crimson, olive, browns and ambers all interact with the neutral backgrounds in a warm, autumn palette that feels immediately homey and steeped in tradition. One of the appeals for me of quilting is the memories I have of Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and the sense that I am connected to and continuing one of the joys and creative outlets of generations of women.

2. The fabric quality is wonderful. Moda is the maker of ALL of the fabrics being used for all components of our kits, and they just make such nice fabric – they use high quality base cloth and then print it beautifully.

3. The directions are so clear! Each month there are full-color instructions for making the blocks, tested by Moda, complete with great little tricks for getting your blocks perfect – I love the flying geese block technique that appears in the first month so much – I will never make them any other way again.

4. It’s designed to be flexible. The monthly pieced blocks are alternated with “snowball blocks.” They were designed by Moda to allow you to leave them as is, for a clean, spare, modern quilt, or to fill in with your choice of embellishments. We are offering optional wool or cotton appliqué packs, complete with templates and fabrics, if you like appliqué (I love wool appliqué; it has such a warm, dimensional look to it, and it is so easy – no fraying edges!) or if you are a hand or machine embroidery lover, there are free embroidery files available as part of your membership fee. But you wouldn’t need to stop there – you could also design your own appliqués or embroideries for each of those blocks, or, for an amazing family heirloom, replace the neutral tonal that is the center for each one with family photos, printed onto quilting fabrics, and maybe put your family tree on the branches and leaves of the center square tree!

5. Simplicity. This quilt is amazingly easy – as I mentioned, the instructions are written to ensure success and they are not particularly difficult to start out with. I think even a rank beginner could do this quilt, and intermediate and expert quilters will enjoy having a simple project to take on each month that allows them the rest of the month to experiment with other quilting techniques.

6. The meetings are manageable and a great place to meet people – only once a month, and I believe every store has at least two options for your schedule. The other members will be doing the same project as you, so you will always have a conversation starter, and there’s always a shopping discount on the day of your meeting for BOM members- it’s like having your own sale scheduled every month.

7. We have the greatest BOM leaders! I personally know every single one of our BOM teachers this year, and would happily have any one of them over to my house for a dinner or even a quilting retreat. No matter what store you sign up at, you are guaranteed a wonderful experience with women like these as your leaders.

Ellen in Everett is a wonder – warm, supportive, and infinitely knowledgeable about all sorts of quilting.

Sweet Nancy in Bellevue is an experienced quilter and designer of quilts – she did the most amazing interpretation of last year’s quilt, I liked it even better than the original!

Lynn in Bremerton is one of the sweetest, wittiest women I have ever met – she is so smart, and an expert at all sorts of sewing techniques.

Kat, who will be teaching in Puyallup, has a great smile and is the resident quilting expert down there – she knows everything about quilting and is always willing to share her expertise with her students.

Kay, who assisted Alice in Northgate for the last few years and runs their Project Linus Quilting Bee, is going to be the new BOM leader. Kay is kind, patient, and a great quilter – and she has a fascinating counterpart this year in Willa – Willa is the fearless leader of our Galleria, and an expert in bridal and fashion couture. She is taking on this BOM as her first ever quilting project, and will be offering her beginner perspective at each meeting!

Finally, we have a new leader at the Outlet on 4th Ave, although she’s not a new face to regulars at the store – jolly, kind Mary, who always has a laugh and a great sense of fabric design, is bringing her wonderful energy to the Block of the Month this year.
8. It’s really an incredible value – for your $99 membership fee, you get all of the top quality quilting cotton to complete the generous (76” square) quilt top, plus you will get the patterns, tips, a monthly meeting with your leader, and a shopping discount! All you have to do is show up and do your easy fun blocks! This same quilt is being offered at stores all over the country, including a few in our area, and I have not found a store that is offering so much value for the price we are charging – there are quilters in our area right now paying MONTHLY fees of $15-$25 to do this quilt – and at Pacific Fabrics, it is less than $100 for the whole program!
Meetings start in May, and while we will take sign-ups for the first month afterwards, there are only a limited number of spots – Moda will only print so much fabric, you see, so if you want to enjoy this year’s BOM, sign up as soon as you possibly can. I look forward to seeing you there!

- Anna-Beth

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