Sunday, July 15, 2018

chronicling the journey . . .

Nothing much going on here . . . still in a sling, still pecking away one-handed, still slugging through daily physical therapy. More notably . . . still no stitching. But there's light! I'm past the halfway mark of the five weeks in the sling . . . just a little over two weeks, in fact, until it comes off. Hurray! (And HURRY!)

The February installment of A Quilter's Journey, discussed chronicling one's quilting journey. I really do use my blog to look back and see when I did things and what things I've done. I found over the past year, when I wasn't quite so faithful, that I really missed being able to look back and see finishes (or more likely, starts), fabrics I'd purchased, a particular pattern I'd used. That was one of the reasons I've come back! Anyway, without further ado . . .

As I went through my quilts preparing for last month’s guild program, I realized that most of my *favorite* quilts that I’d completed were quilts I’d gifted away. And I’d imagine there are a lot of us quilters that feel that way. And if you’re like me, a lot of heart and soul goes into those favorite quilts (if not blood, sweat and tears), and while there’s definitely joy in the giving, there can also be that hollow feeling that comes from giving a bit of yourself away. 

Quilt Journaling. I’m convinced that may be the answer. 

Quilting journaling has become very popular over the last several years, with merchants coming up with eye-catching journals and layouts to tempt us into chronicling our journey of creation. Journaling can take a lot of different forms. Today’s quilting journal books provide prompts, blank spaces for photos or design doodles, areas for fabric swatches (and detailed information about said fabric), and some even have space for planning sewing time (or shopping time??!). A quick search on Pinterest revealed LOADS of resources you can print yourself. Project worksheets, quilt planner sheets, quilt design planners, quilting goals, even instructions for how to make your own quilt journal! (Want to take a look at a free quilt journal/planner set of printables? Patchwork Posse has a fun *free* set you can download and use as you see fit – a great, inexpensive way to play around with the concept of journaling, especially if it’s new to you: https://www.patchworkposse.com/16-days-of-free-quilt-planner-printables/.) 

Going through all these resources it dawned on me that I’d been journaling a lot of my creations from the first quilt I’d gifted. In fact, for my very first quilt, I kept a notebook of each month’s block construction instructions, along with small patches of the fabrics I used for each block, some scribbled notes/comments on the process, and after I’d completed a block, I took a digital picture of it and printed it along with the name of the block and which month it belonged to. At the end of the notebook is the date I finished the quilt along with a full-size photo of the finished project. I did that for all the block-of-the-month quilts I’ve done, which it makes it really easy to keep up with those. 

Not long after making my first quilt, my sister gifted me with a darling little 4” X 6” scrapbook she’d made especially for my quilting. The next quilt I made I used that sweet little book to document the making of a baby quilt I gifted back to that same sister and my newest niece. Pictures of the process and the completed quilt, along with notes of where I got the quilt pattern, snippets of fabric, and the website where I found the template I used for the bunny applique. 

And don’t forget about blogging! What a great way to journal the process *and* share it with a like-minded community (and make quilty friends around the world, to boot!). I’ve kept a blog since 2003 but it wasn’t until 2008 that I found the quilting community online and began sharing pieces of my quilting journey on my blog. But in 2010 – 2012 I blogged nearly every day, and my quilting life is laid out for all to see. This has been particularly helpful to *me* when I want to go back and check a pattern I used or particular fabric I had or check my timeline. Social media – Facebook and Instagram in particular – can also be a great way to digitally journal your quilt projects, and get feedback at the same time. 

Somewhere along the line I purchased a plain, lined journal. For a while I doodle-journaled quilt concepts and sketched out ideas, as well as some true-to-form journaling (deep quilty thoughts). Then I had the GREAT idea (famous last words) for a personalized hexie-crazy quilt, where each hexie was themed by a memory or hobby or other aspect of my life. So I drew out the appropriate sized hexie across the center of the journal . . . on about 40 pages . . . and then as I thought about it, I sketched out the block map with embellishments and embroidery stitches I planned to use for each block. This is a work in progress, so I’m still playing around with it—let’s just say it’s a LIFE project. 

Do you journal your quilts? What steps do you take (especially when the quilt won’t be spread on your own bed or hung on your own wall) to preserve the memory of the time, effort and energy spent in creating? Do you create photo albums or keep fabric snips, or write notes? How do you preserve the creative process? Things to ponder . . . 

My name is Denise and I’m a quilter. :)

8 expressed . . .:

Kate said...

Let me count the ways I journal. I have spreadsheets, Publisher documents and even a few paper journals that I've used the last few years. I've been using a service that will print my blog posts into a bound book. That's been the nicest way to track my quilty stuff. A very thought provoking post.

Mary said...

My Blog is my quilt Journal, with a bit of Family here and there. So glad for the technology that brought us to the 'Quilting by Committee' community. I thank Judy L or Janet O for connecting us.

Janet O. said...

I kept a quilt journal until I started blogging. Now I just put everything on the blog--but I never print them, so I should keep a hard copy record, too.

Lyndsey said...

My blog is my main quilt journal but I also keep a personal journal that has 'extra' bits that I don't share at the time on my blog. Lucy gave me a quilt planner at Christmas and this is great for the planning stage of the process. I find my blog particularly helpful as it's not just words but also has the photos.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I have random folders with my patterns, notes, etc, scattered all over (I really need to get them all in one place). I use my blog as my journal. Last year, when I was printing out and mailing a copy of each of my blog posts to a friend (she didn't have email), I started printing out a copy for myself, and I've put these into a binder. I need to go back and print out the previous years. It's fun to go back and see what I've done. Yes, I also give away most of what I make. About the only quilts I get to keep are ones from block exchanges.

Sandy said...

What an awesome idea to journal the journey. I may think about adopting that to knitting and or crocheting. I do like you with going back over my blog to find something I did...to remember what I liked or didn't etc. It's quite helpful really. Even how you solve a problem presented by a particular project. Great idea!!
Sandy's Space

Needled Mom said...

Glad to hear you are getting past that halfway point. I have never been a journal keeper, but I like the idea.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

My blog is my main way to journal my quilts, but if they don't make it on the blog, I do make sure to take a few pictures. I wish I had done a much better job of noting who I had given quilts to. I should start doing that. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!