A long time ago, before digital cameras and the internet, I started very casually documenting the sewing and cross-stich projects that I made. That amounted to me taking pictures (with an instamatic camera) and if I remembered to get them developed, putting them in a “brag book”. That’s all I did. There were no notes or swatches and no dates started and completed. I wish now that I had been more OCD about documenting those early projects, because sadly, a lot of them are now living somewhere else—I hope.
I donated a lot of my projects to charity, though a few ended up in the trash—which now makes me cringe. There were times, I just felt an urge to purge or was not happy with my workmanship, and discarded a quilt top or set of blocks. And then, eventually, little girls grow up and no longer want to decorate their rooms with hearts, teddy bears and unicorns.
Fast forward to 2008, when I was laid off, and rummaging through my UFO’s that I couldn’t bear to part with during those previous purges. I decided that if I was going to finish these projects, that I would do a better job of recording the process than just taking a photo.
I purchased on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch spiral bound Mead sketchbook for this because I wanted pages that were sturdy enough to glue pictures and fabric to. My notes and diagrams are handwritten and the pictures are printed on regular paper and glued onto the pages with a craft glue stick. There’s a pocket in the front of the sketchbook that I can use for coupons or patterns. Sometimes I take my Sketchbook with me to the fabric store, if I need to match fabric or thread.
I use scraps from my projects to cut swatches that I mount on a a separate project page along with a photo or two. I add notes, such as the date started, date completed, measurements, who it was made for, etc. Sometimes, I will note the pattern or the fabric designer and anything else that might be nice to look back on and remember someday.
At the back of my book, I list my UFO’s and cross them off when completed with the date finished. If I make a test block or a test embroidery, I’ll glue that in the book too.
I hope this has given you some useful ideas about documenting your projects, if you aren’t already doing so. We all know, as quilters how important it is to label our quilts for posterity, as they will most likely outlive us and hopefully pass into the hands of others who will cherish them but just as important is recording the creative process that originates within each of us.