Record keeping

Keeping Records

I know that people have different methods for keeping records of what quilts they work on.

Some people take pictures and make a sort of journal. They keep swatches and the pattern, dates started, finished, etc. all in one notebook.

I never did that because I didn't think I would keep it up. At first I didn't keep any records.

But I have worked out a very simple method of keeping track of my finished quilts.  It's so simple, I'm kind of embarrassed to show you.

But I will.

I started this in 2012 and have tweaked it a bit til this is what it looks like.

I make a file folder on my computer and have a shortcut to it on my desktop. The folders look like this:

file folders pic.jpg

Inside each file folder - well, starting in 2014, when I really perfected this method (LOL), I made a Word document for writing things down.  In 2012 and 2013 all I have are the pics, which of course, is better than nothing. The pictures have dates on them, but that's all. I numbered them so I know the order in which they were finished.

In 2014 I began creating a Word document - a table which shows a number, a date, the name of the top and something unique about it so I can remember it, and then later, I added a column for charity quilt or other categories.

Then, I put a picture that corresponds to that number in a file folder called "pics of finished quilts"

Let me show you inside last year's file folder:

file folders picvstep 2.jpg

The top icon shown is a MS Word file. It looks like this:

Of course this is incomplete, but it shows you what I'm talking about. You can see I didn't keep up with the size column very well.   

Of course this is incomplete, but it shows you what I'm talking about. You can see I didn't keep up with the size column very well.


Then, I take a picture and number it corresponding to the number in the Word doc like this;

screen shot.jpg

This method is very simple. It takes me a couple of minutes to record my finished quilts this way.  It works for me and that is what is most important.  I didn't record my finished quilts in any sort of organized way until 2012 when I at least started a file folder of pictures. I regret that I didn't do it sooner, of course.  But then, I didn't start really producing LOTS of good quilts until the last few years.

So how many quilts have you finished, anyway?

Many people do ask, "How many quilts do you make a year?"  The answer to that isn't easy to answer. I suppose I could say, "As many as I can" like I've heard others say, but that's also a cop-out.  In the last couple of years I've had a lot of help with tops in order to boost my charity quilt numbers - because the number of finished quilts would be unreachable unless I had had help.

Here's what I've done.

2012 - 38 total quilts - 28 charity quilts - this is the year I first started FMQ or straight line quilting and not tying charity quilts -  plus 10 others (that I have record of - records were a bit sketchy this year.)

2013 -  103 total quilts - 19 of which were donated tops that I finished for charity. I also donated many other other quilts I finished that year to charity.

2014 - 29 quilts - including 2 wedding quilts but no donated tops - a few of the 29 were used as charity quilts but not many - they were ones that I realized I didn't need to keep around  (We did have two weddings that year and spent about 3 months in the US).

2015 - 189 finished quilts -  133 were charity quilts - 29 of the 133 were donated tops or centers of tops to which I added borders and made for charity

2016 - 184 finished quilts - 120 of which were charity quilts - 36 of the 120 were donated tops

2017 - 116 finished quilts - 70 of which were charity quilts -  63 of the 70 were donated tops or centers (I had gotten behind on making up the tops that had been given to me)

Here's a summary:

graph for site.jpg

I know some people think it's crazy. They think it is impossible or that a person is making garbage if they make a lot of quilts.  But let's let each to his own.  I am thoroughly enjoying the journey and that is critical to me. 

And no, I don't have a long arm.  (I will admit, though, today at dinner my husband asked me if I've looked on our local auction site for a second-hand one! FIRST TIME ever!)

So far 2018 is ticking away and I've not actually completely finished even one quilt this year. I've got to pick up the pace or I'm going to be completely behind!  :) LOL  Actually, I've been devoting myself to charity quilting in January because of what happened last year and that is that I didn't meet my goal. While I've gotten quite a few quilted, I don't have them bound and labeled and washed and ready to record yet. In fact, I've not even made up a 2018 finished quilts folder yet on my computer!  I will do that soon, though!

Last year I began having a total blast using up my 2" strips and making some gifts, etc. I didn't really want to stop and make charity quilts. I did manage to finish "only 70" - but I did concentrate on preparing tops and getting them ready for when I was ready to make more.

So, I did that. When I started working on charity quilts for 2018, I had over 100 tops "ready to go" - which has helped me incredibly.

And now you know.  I've been keeping much better records since I set up a very simple way for me to do it.

And if you happen to need something for your current project, be sure to check out what my sis has over in the store!  She's working hard to keep you in stash!

Becky Petersen5 Comments