Thursday, July 3, 2014

Keeping a Quilt Journal

GUEST BLOG from my friend Misty Cole:

Keeping a Quilt Journal

Photos and text by Misty M. Cole

A friend of mine recently joined a long-term class to make a Dear Jane quilt.  It is composed of 225 unique blocks, and in the book that reproduces the 1863 patterns, Brenda Papadakis recommends putting together a journal before beginning your blocks. I saw my friend’s journal when she was working on her blocks at a meeting one day. I was about to begin work on a Baltimore Garden quilt, and I thought the binder idea was just fantastic. I decided to put together my own journal before I began appliquéing.

The binder is a nice structure for a quilt journal, since you can add or subtract pages as needed. My binder has pockets in each cover which is convenient for holding receipts, selvages or anything else you want to keep handy. To begin, I found a roomy binder.  I put a color copy of the full quilt in the front cover.

I filled the binder with page protectors. I printed out all my patterns from the Baltimore Garden CD, and put one in every other sleeve.  I made a journal template on my word processor, which had spaces for date begun, date finished, and notes about each block.  I printed out one sheet for each block in the quilt, and labeled each sheet with the block names and letters.

As  I prep each block for applique, I put my pieces into a small plastic baggie and slide it into the sleeve opposite my journal page for that block, where I stored the block pattern.  When I am done sewing the applique, I return the bag of freezer paper templates to the sleeve in case I need them later.
On each journal page, I list dates and notes as I sew. I list things like measurements I need to refer to later, or what was happening on the day I started this block (“I have a new niece!”). I can add in-progress photos.

Why keep a quilting journal? It helps keep a record of how long it took to complete a project. It is a way to stay organized so you don’t lose patterns or pieces of fabric or information. You can keep track of how much money you have spent on a project. It can be a great motivational tool, for those days you are feeling discouraged or bored with your project. It is a wonderful souvenir for long after your project is done.

Even if you do not want a binder journal, there are plenty of other options. Jot down your notes in a spiral notebook or blank journal dedicated to quilting projects.  You might even choose to keep a spreadsheet on your computer with simple information about each quilt, like title, size, year completed, where it currently resides, where it has been shown, etc.

You can print free journal pages at this website:

I have found my journal to be a very useful tool.  I hope you find a method of journaling about your quilts that works for you!

Thanks Misty, for being my guest blogger today!
Keep Stitching (and journaling),
Barbara M. Burnham


  1. What a wonderful reminder. I am just about to complete my first Dear Jane top and will be starting a new class in Sept. I will suggest this to the new girls.

  2. I agree Misty and Barbara, it is so helpful to,have everything ready to go and in one place. I buy acid free binder pages.
    Thank you for sharing! This blog is full of great ideas.


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