Organization And The Prolific Quilter

I have never been what anyone would call a prolific quilter. I make small quilts, and not many of them. I could live with it until I bought almost 70 yards of fabric this year. Yikes! I used over 20 yards, but that’s still a lot more fabric than I usually store.

I have a couple friends that are prolific quilters. They both have lives full of other things, like work, family, travel, social obligations, household chores, etc. Through it all they steadily finish quilts. So what do they know that I don’t?

On the way back from one of our little road trips, I asked my friend to explain her system to me. I get systems, and I get how to customize them. What she does may not work for me, but I bet something close to it will.

Her whole system begins with organization. She buys fabric by either type or collection, such as civil war prints or Kaffe Fassett fabrics, and stores them all together.

When she finds a pattern she likes, she puts it in one of those clear sleeves that fit in 3-ring binders. She has a binder for patterns she has made, another for ones she hasn’t.

Once she decides what fabric she wants to use for the pattern, she makes a sample block and stores it in the sleeve. Her stash contains enough fabric that she doesn’t have to worry about using those fabrics in another quilt. She has enough similar fabric to make it work if she does.

By cutting the fabrics into “kits” ahead of time, she always has a project ready to start. She always pieces her projects straight through. No stopping in the middle to start something else.

My friend always thinks several projects ahead. She knows what she wants to kit up next and watches for coordinating fabrics when she’s out and about.

I don’t do a single thing I described above. My fabrics and sketches are everywhere. The patterns I like live in five different rooms, in multiple places within those rooms. I never know what I’m making next. I rarely work through a quilt start to finish.

No wonder I get so little done.

Stay tuned for how I adapt this system to fit my style.

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4 Responses to Organization And The Prolific Quilter

  1. Denise says:

    That sounds like an interesting system. I want to try some sort of organization and this maybe the start of that. Keep us posted on how you adapt that system.

  2. Gayle says:

    That’s kind of what I have been ding this year. I n January, I took the time to cut and kit up the four lap quilts I want to give at Christmas. The last one went to the longarmer last Sunday so I feel that worked well for me. Got behind with everything else though because I was sick most of July. I also have customised your short list and the numbering of UFO’S and them cooking one. My small group chooses a number every other month so we have 2 months for each. All of this seems to be working for me. Good luck!

  3. The kit concept wouldn’t work for me. I get fresh inspiration all the time and change my mind about the projects I want to do. I will stay tuned, as you suggest.

  4. I also feel that when someone only has so many hours to quilt (because of work, commuting and family commitments) that those hours are not wasted. I get more done than most of my retired friends and I work full time and commute 1 hour each way to work. But they tell me they take their time, take a lot of breaks, etc.

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