Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Tale of My First Block of the Month

My longest-running WIP has been the Park Bench block of the month (BOM) I started in 2014. I hit a snag after making a handful of the blocks that year and let it derail me for, like, 18 months.

This past April, when I was planning projects for my guild’s retreat, I knew it was time to face Park Bench. There’s nothing like being stranded at a Catholic retreat center for a weekend with a sewing machine and quilty friends to get things going.

And now here it is, the full quilt top ...

Each of those hexagons finishes at 16 inches. They’re so big and so satisfying to sew.

It helped that the fabric for this BOM is Carolyn Friedlander’s Botanics collection. I’ve liked her fabric lines since Botanics debuted, but this combination of pretty colors, not-so-feminine florals, and versatile low-volumes is my favorite.

Now, the whole point of a BOM is that you end up with the same quilt in the same fabrics as everyone else. If you’re me, however, you manage to mess it up. The snag I mentioned earlier? Two of the packets I got over the course of the project were mislabeled. Instead of investigating why the fabrics didn’t sync with the provided pattern, I figured my quilt shop had to make some substitutions and I went with what I had, wrong labels and all. I ended up not liking the blocks and decided to omit them from the finished quilt top. (Take a peek at a full finished top here, at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.)

I consider this a Big Girl Decision. These hexagons are time sucks. I’ve put plenty of resources—including beautiful fabric!—into making them. Editing three of them out of the final layout is painful but necessary. I’d rather snuggle up under a smaller quilt than have those ugly blocks staring me down in the final product. And I know what you’re thinking, but I so dislike them that they will not appear on the quilt back, either.

The beauty of having finished this top is that I have a sizable pile of Botanics scraps. This line is out of production, so these leftovers are worth their weight in gold. 

My latest scrap-busting technique is putting scraps to work in another quilt before I can relegate them to an uncertain future in my scrap bin. I’ve been loving much of what Nancy Purvis has been posting on Instagram lately, and I’m thinking that I could pair the Botanics scraps with a pale grey to sew something akin to her Scrappy Happy Quilt. (See other pictures from her along these lines here and here.)

Do you have any thoughts, reservations, or recommendations about my plan for those lovely scraps?!

To see other pictures from this quilt top when it was a WIP, click here.

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social and Scraptastic Tuesday ...

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  1. It's still a pretty big quilt for you, though, right? I agree, loving it is waaaay better than being a little longer. And I adore your scrap happy plan. :D

  2. Oh yay, look how lovely this is! And I applaud your big girl decision. That's a hard call, but you're right--you couldn't love this quilt as much with blocks that you dislike. Do you have quilting plans for this one?

  3. I love this quilt! I totally get not wanting to stare at a block you are less than happy with. You did the right thing! For the scraps, The Nancy Pervis quilt is the perfect solution!

  4. It is definitely better to be happy with a finished quilt top and quilt than to put in blocks that you *know* don't speak to you. Kudos for knowing yourself and the big decision. I think your idea for the scraps sounds great; that is a beautiful line of fabric and there is enough contrast between the prints to really pull it off, too.

  5. I think a scrappy quilt made of those precious Botanics scraps is an excellent idea. I think you made the right decision by not using blocs you didn't love! Maybe you can make something out of them for someone else, or pass them to a guild member. I love the background on your quilt, too - it has so much depth!

  6. Yay! I know first hand how much time went into these blocks. Bummer you couldn't include those other three blocks but I get the reason behind your decision. Have fun quilting it. It is beautiful!

  7. The top looks beautiful, the blocks almost look three dimensional with those fabrics, very nice! I just took a screen shot of that Nancy Purvis quilt on instagram yesterday...yes, make that with the scraps!!!

  8. With this collection of CF fabrics, you just can't go wrong! A friend of my mine, just sent me a hightly coveted little piece of the LV leaves!?!

    Well, putting your discarded blocks on the back is an obvious choice, but I totally get it! If I've put a block together and it didn't come together as I imagined it, it somehow seems to be the only thing that I can focus on. But in any case, it would be fun for these blocks to turn into something else on a different project. Great top finish!

    Sometimes you just need some quilty friends to get you back on track. I meet with my gals on Saturday, and am looking forward to the exchange!

  9. Annoying but if it suits you better to leave them out then that is the best thing to do! Yes love the scraps plan - it will look great! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday

  10. Editing is an important part of the process, even when following a BOM or pattern. Congrats on the finished quilt top. My oldest WIP is from 2004. Eek!

  11. It is a shame you ended up with three blocks you don't like, but gosh, you should certainly be pleased with your decision - this looks so lovely!

  12. One of the great things about being a grown up is we get to decide things like this to please ourselves. Having a quilt you like is far better than one that follows the rules. And I really like those inspiration quilts you shared for your scraps. Go for it.

  13. Your friend here loves scraps. Although a Nancyish quilt would look awesome with that line! Is is completely finished yet, do I have more competition for Tuesday?

  14. If those three hexagons did not make you happy, leaving them out was the right call.
    I am going on retreat in August and it too is at a Catholic retreat centre. We sewers often cross paths with nuns.


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