I made quite a few New Year’s Resolutions this year: Stop watching so much TV and do something productive with that time, get out of the house and have some fun, make some new friends and talk about something other than work and kids, challenge myself to learn something new, take a real vacation this year, and yes… I’ve even resolved to quit smoking. Sounds like quite a list, huh? But I found one activity that ticks all the boxes: I joined the 2020 Star Quilt Block Along at Joann!
- I’m in a classroom doing something productive with my time instead of napping in front of the TV.
- I’m out of the house and on the move!
- I’m meeting new people and we already have something in common to talk about …quilting!
- I’ve always been terrified of quilting so this is really a challenge for me.
- I can’t smoke in the classroom!
- I’m planning a summer vacation to Missouri Star Quilt Company!
Of course, I could go on and on about the benefits here and how they all tie in with my New Year’s Resolutions for 2020 but you get the gist, right? This year it’s all about F. U. N.!
What is a Block Along?
Do a Google search and you’ll see all kinds of Block Alongs and BOMs (Block of the Month). Every type of craft has some kind of monthly project. Block Alongs and BOMs generally have some type of overall theme for the year. They show you some new technique or a new twist on an old one, and you use that technique to create a quilt block. Each month there’s a new block with something new to learn and at the end of the year you have enough blocks to assemble a complete quilt.
The 2020 Star Quilt Block Along at JOANN
JOANN does some type of Block Along every year. Last year I think the theme was something modern. At the time I was still terrified of quilting and I didn’t really like the sample squares I saw so I didn’t really even think about joining.
But this year… well, I had all those New Year’s resolutions to consider. And then I saw the sample blocks for January and February! While they still looked intimidating they were stars, and who doesn’t love stars?!
Now, to me, those stars are so crisp and clean and perfect. To some people that might seem like a stressful goal but that’s me, I like to make order out of chaos. I find it relaxing. I love straight lines, high contracts, and pressed seams! I’m not really into the colors they chose but that’s the great thing about quilting, you can use whatever fabrics and colors you want.
Here are my first two blocks that I made in class:
As you can see there are a lot of differences between the January and February blocks. That’s because I’m already learning so much in this class, like the importance of a perfect cut and exact seam allowance. There’s also a lot of ironing involved. But we’ll get to all of that later. For now…
Here’s a sneak peek at my first quilt! It’s the first quilt I’ve ever made in my entire life! I made it the week after I had my January class and I used just the January Star block.
No, I didn’t do all that fancy quilting. I had it quilted by Carol Lippold, one of the gals I work with at JOANN. She does longarm quilting, which is something else I need to tell you about. Seriously, the one thing that held me back most from learning to quilt was the thought of doing all that hand-quilting. Now that I know about Carol’s little longarm business I plan to be quilting forever!
(Note: If you think you’d like to join 2020 Star Quilt Block Along at JOANN it’s not too late! You’ve only missed two blocks and there’s plenty of time to catch up. The class is 3 hours but it really only takes about an hour to complete one of these blocks so the instructor will have plenty of time to help you catch up.)