Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quilt Project Journals

As this blog drags on into the second month of "cleaning my studio", you may get a realistic idea of how much attention it needed! This weekend, I did some sewing, but I also continued sorting through existing projects. Laura has always encouraged us to journal our quilts. My first attempt was in our Dear Jane group. Six of us decided to swap blocks, so each month, we made one of those adorable/frustrating 4 1/2 inch blocks . . . six times . . . well, actually, seven, because we decided to donate some to the Quilt America Yes Mam Auction . . . but I digress. Anyway, I began keeping a page showing details of each block, a copy of the pattern, and noting which fabrics I used for each of my co-conspirators blocks. It was encouraging to look back at what I had accomplished, and notes I made on construction of each of the blocks.

I'm not sure what quilt I decided to maintain a journal for next, but as I always have several projects in progress, I really began to appreciate the fact that I had made note of lay-out plans, yardage of fabrics required/acquired, rotary cutting measurements, and any additional thoughts that I considered and cast aside for one reason or another. The value of these little journals became more apparent as I went through projects that I had put aside which did NOT have any journals or notes in them. Over the past weekend, I actually launched a number of new journals to accompany those projects, so that when I pick them up again, I know how many blocks are already made, what needs to be done next, or even worse, what I have to fix before I can move on! In this first month, having all that information at hand for five of my unfinished projects has moved them quickly to the nearly completed stack. One just needs to have the bias binding made before it is ready to start quilting. Another has notes that answer the questions of whether I have adequate fabric to complete the piecing, and use those two fabrics in the borders . . . I do, and all calculations are noted in my journal which accompanies the quilt.

The journals are not anything really fancy . . . more in the cute or whimsical category, and all came from Michael's crafts, from the little bins at the front of the store with $1 items in them. I usually check each time I go in, and pick out one or two for my stash. As I added journals to my aging projects, I tried to pick one that fit the theme of the quilt, such as Christmas, or coordinating colors. I have an abandoned, but not unloved Lone Star, and had a journal with bandannas, and boots, a perfect combo. An ancient project with completed blocks, and applique "floats" for the on-point set now has a journal in companion colors, and includes a count of the blocks, a lay-out plan, and the story of the origin of my applique border for it, an enlarged embroidery test pattern . . . a sweet little morning glory and bud, with one two-pieced leaf, and a small amount of embroidery.

I've found it entertaining to read back through my notes, and hope that someday, my grandchildren may find it interesting to see how I planned a particular quilt, and proceeded through its construction.

Give this a try with your creative passion. It doesn't have to be a "job", but just a note or two about progess . . . some of my entries are short and sweet. "Two blocks done; eight to go."

That's it from my soapbox today! Next post will be lots of pictures, I promise!

5 comments:

Jen said...

You know, I've sort of been using my blog as a journal. If ever I want to print out a specific part about a quilt I can just select that area and print, or copy and paste into a word document. That's probably why some of my posts are more wordy than others. I tried to keep the traditional kind for years and I'd put it off for so long that by the time I did it, I left out tons of stuff.

sossy said...

keeping a journal also works out good when it is time for a label. Sometimes it is a long time before I get to the finish and when ready for a label it is nice to look back and see what else to incluse other than made by...

Dawn said...

I know its a good idea and in my head I want to do it. But actually DOING IT is something I have a harder time doing!

Quilt Pixie said...

sounds like a good idea. I tend to keep one working journal and then have to hunt back to find the right page to find notes for a particular project...

Shelina said...

I think a journal is a great idea, but with so many quilt projects in the works at the same time, I thought it was more fitting to keep track on my blog. That way, I get a more complete picture of what is going on. Plus, I don't have to worry about where I have misplaced each journal. I do need to do better in my blog about the details you talked about. But it has come in handy to look back to see what I was thinking about borders, quilting, etc.