Some of you will be familiar with the Block of the Month (or BOM), and others will not be. For quite a few years I didn’t give them any thought at all, but about 10 years ago I saw a quilt that I liked and wanted to make. Since then I have subscribed to 12 in total (including 2 from an Australian shop), and each one has been different. In a nutshell, you sign up and then each month you are sent a pattern and the fabrics in order to make the block. In last months you will receive fabric for the borders, the binding, and instructions for putting the quilt together.

An interesting looking box

Last year, I signed up to a BOM when attending a quilt show at Villavin quilt shop, near Holsworthy. I was familiar with the business through the website, and this was my first visit to the property. My interested was piqued when I saw other ladies carrying little paper bags with a box inside it. The box was the starter kit for the BOM – and contained the pattern, Jo Hendy’s additional instructions, threads, pigma pen, lightweight interfacing, and the fabric. As you can see by the photo, it was no ordinary looking box.

Eager to get started, I set to soon after getting home. I traced out the pattern, using the pigma pen from the box, and then ironed the pattern to the interfacing, so that the threads wouldn’t show through when moving to another part of the design. Next came the stitching. Everybody has a different tension and way of embroidering a design – even when we use the same pattern and the same stitch. Jo accounts for this in pack, by providing a skein of each colour needed for the pattern. Some BOMs only send out as much as they think you’ll need – if only a small amount of embroidery is required, that is a sensible plan, but blocks with more embroidery need more thread.

The goodies that arrive every month

Then came the piecing of the block – and this is where Jo’s attention to detail is second to none. The quilt she has made for the BOM uses fabrics different from the fabrics in the quilt in the original pattern (inevitable really as the pattern is copyrighted 2007). Jo has labelled each fabric with a little sticker, giving the size of the fabric and a description of it. From this it is easy to see what you need to cut from each fabric – she even provides a colour picture of her block so you can check it as you go along, making sure you’ve got the pieces in the right place. This idea, although simple, is invaluable; several of the BOMs I have done have left me guessing about which fabric was meant for which part of the pattern. In addition to the labelling of the fabric, Jo includes instructions about sizes of pieces to cut. The original pattern has instructions for cutting in a diagram that shows the layout and cutting sizes, but this can lead to confusion, as the diagram doesn’t list the fabrics.

Fabric with labels to show which fabrics match up with the pattern.

In this BOM, Jo has given us the chance to make the quilt individual to us; early in the process, Jo sent an email with 4 fabric choices, for us to choose which fabric we would like as a border – one of the few BOMs that I’ve known to do this.

A BOM can seem like quite an expensive way to make a quilt, it is certainly a big commitment. However, the amount of work that Jo has put into the kits for this BOM justifies the price in my opinion.


  1. Sylvia Priest - webmaster and quilter

    I love Abbie Searle’s Mystery Quilt .. a BOM with a secret .. that’s availabe in our online shop and one I am taking part in. Waiting each month for the surprise to arrive is something to look forward to. All in all I think it’s worth the investment, either BOM or Mystery, and even after only one block I have learnt so much from it too.