I have been very sidetracked from my quilting projects, as I seem to be drowning in paperwork. End of the year paperwork, preparing for taxes, a little bit of spring cleaning, and filing all the paperwork I did not get to during the holidays. Whew! I feel like I will never get to the end of the paperwork. I keep thinking the paper should be able to pass through my hands one time. I am not able to do that very well. Seems that the papers want to spend time going through my hands time and time, again and again.
In all the paperwork, I also have pictures of quilts and information to document and label my quilts. Remember, this is one of my goals for this year. I really would like to make sure that all of my quilts are documented and labeled.
With stacks of paperwork everywhere, I find that doing anything other than getting ready for taxes is what I want to do. So… I guess that a side trip to try and start on my goal of documenting my quilts is helping ease the feeling of drowning in paperwork.
Do you have mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, or other family members that made quilts in the past? Do you have all the information about those quilts? Who made them? When were they made? Why were they made? As you know, quilts have huge sentimental value. Without information about those quilts, the history and stories of our quilts will be lost. Each of us puts a bit of our lives into our quilts and it is those stories that will mean so much to those in the future.
As you can see, I am behind (lazy, distracted) when it comes to documenting my quilts. I am much, much better when it comes to the label on the back of the quilt. I have always preached to my students that the label on the back of their quilt was critical. I will talk more about labels this week. Today, I just want to focus on the documentation.
There are many ways to document your quilts. Many products on the market look like they would help in the process, but I have not been as diligent about documenting as I think I should. So one of my goals for 2012 is to label and document at least four quilts a month. Wow, seems like I keep adding goals. I just hope that I am successful. Success is achieved through action. Keep moving even if there are mistakes or set backs. Inaction will not get projects completed.
- I have a couple of samples here to give you some ideas about ways to document your quilt. The first sample is a journal that is labeled Quilter’s Registry. I purchased it from the American Quilter’s Society. (They do have great products). You can document 78 quilts in this journal. The inside has a place for a photo. It also has information spaces for you to fill out about the quilt. It includes information such as:
- Type of Project
- Constructed by
- Quilted By
- Start and Stop dates
It also includes other information spaces about the fabric, techniques, cost, etc. It is a start if you are not documenting your quilts yet. The photo area is small but you can still tape a photo to the page after filling out the information. (Remember to use Artist Tape. It is acid free and can be repositioned without ripping pages or photos).
The next sample I would like to share with you is an envelope that has been punched for a three hole binder placement. It has the quilt documentation spaces on the outside of the envelope. It is also a great way to document your quilt and keep swatches of the fabric used, the pattern, or anything pertinent to the quilt inside the envelope. I like the idea of additional pictures of the quilting design, the display of where the quilt lives, or photos of the person who received the quilt, on the inside of the envelope. It is also a great place to keep any awards, ribbons, or quilt show brochures that contain written discriptions of the quilt. Sometimes, there are those special items associated with the quilt that should be kept with the documentation and the envelope provides for that purpose.
I found this sample at a quilt store in Spokane, Washington. It does not have any ordering information on the outside. I think you could develop your own form to paste to an envelope and do something similar if you are not able to find it at your local quilt store.
A folder system is another way to organize your documentation. You will need to have a place to store the folders and will need to consider how you will file the folders. (More filing…..I am not sure I am up to this at this time.)
You could also use a ziplock bag or a notebook with a manilla folder attached to the form. I think it is important to have some type of envelope to hold a variety of items related to that particular quilt. Fabric receipts and swatches, sketches, photos of the finished quilt as well as in progress photos, copies of entry forms to shows, ribbon, brochures from shows that might have information about the quilt, pattern used, or anything else that is pertinent to that quilt.
A form of some type should be used to keep track of the pertinent information about the quilt. I have compiled some suggestions of information you might want to include:
- Quilt name
- Name of maker
- Name of quilter
- Start and finish dates
- Current owner
- Where quilt was made
- Size of quilt
- Pattern/reference used to make quilt
- Techniques used
- Fabric used
- Batting used
- A brief story of what was going on in your life while you made this quilt.
I know that there are many ways to put the form together to gather the information on each quilt. Do take the time to write a bit of the story about the quilt. Only you will remember what you were doing in your life when the quilt was made. This is what it means to say “Each of my quilts has a piece of my life stitched into it”. I can tell you where and what my life was about for each of my pieces, as well as the quilts of my clients. Being able to tell you does not help for the future unless it is written down.
There is also a new software program called QuiltAlbum. You can find out about it at www.QuiltAlbum.com. It is a technology way to document your quilts and still be able to print off the information and have a hard copy in a notebook. I have decided that this is how I will proceed on documenting those quilts I have not done to this point. I have used the manilla envelope system with the form on the outside to this point. I think this program will be a much easier way for me.
This is a journal I use to keep track of the quilting process for the quilts I LongArm quilt for my clients. It allows me to remember what thread I used, how much thread, type of batting, LongArm designs used, and the amount of time it took to complete the quilt. I also include a picture of the quilt in the journal for reference. I take a picture when the quilt first arrives at my studio, and I take a picture when it is finished. As we all know, the quilt isn’t a quilt until it is quilted and the quilting changes the quilt top.
This side trip should take up a bit of time…at least give me a break from the tax prep stuff. Who knows, maybe I will be on top of things soon and then I will need to find something else to organize!
Tomorrow, I will talk about labeling the quilt on the back of the quilt. This is critical and a must, regardless of any other form of documenting you do.
May you be creative and be able to quilt each day. May it bring you serenity and joy!