Home Beth Said Sew From Fabric Scraps to Cherished Memories: The Magic of Quilt Scrapbooks

From Fabric Scraps to Cherished Memories: The Magic of Quilt Scrapbooks

by Beth Cooper

Do you know what is better than a hobby? Two hobbies! And what is better than two hobbies? Merging those two hobbies together! Prior to quilting, I was a scrapbooker. I was dedicated, let me tell ya! I took pictures of everything and it all went into a scrapbook. I still take a lot of pictures, but these days I do it all digitally. I started quilting in 2001 and no longer had as much time to scrapbook. I was making lots of quilts and of course taking pictures of the quilts. What was I going to do with the pictures? Make a scrapbook, of course! Thus, the merging of my two hobbies…

Which brings me to this question: Are you keeping a record of the quilts or sewing projects that you are making? If not, you should be! A great way to enhance your craft and document your progress is by keeping a quilt journal or a scrapbook full of not only pictures of your projects, but also all of the juicy details about each one.

My first quilt project journal – A scrapbook from 2002. I spent a summer working with teens and taught a group to quilt. It turned out fantastic and they were so proud of themselves! I’m so glad I recorded this because I barely remember this project and now those kids are all grown up and have kids of their own. Precious memories!

A quilt journal is a record of a quilter’s progress, from the planning stages to the finished product. It can include notes about the fabric and thread used, design sketches, and even samples of fabric swatches. By documenting each step of the process, a quilt journal can serve as a valuable resource for future projects.

Need a journal? This beautiful one by Riley Blake is perfect for recording information all about your quilts and sewing projects! Find it here!

There are many different ways to keep a quilt journal, and the format will depend on your preferences. Some quilters/sewists prefer to keep a physical journal, with pages that can be filled with notes and sketches. Others may opt to keep a digital journal, with files and images saved on a computer or tablet. While still others may do it the “old school” way in a scrapbook-type format. (My favorite!)

Each student made a block. If I hadn’t journaled about this quilt, I would have forgotten all of the details by now. So glad I did!
Look at their smiles! They were so proud! Moments like this, you don’t want to forget. (The background is an extra block from the quilt.)

Regardless of the format, the key is to keep the quilt journal organized and easy to navigate. This may involve creating a table of contents or using dividers to separate different sections of the journal.

So, what should be included in a quilt journal? Here are some ideas:

  1. Fabric swatches: Cut small samples of each fabric used in the quilt/sewing project and tape them to a page in the journal or scrapbook. This can be helpful when selecting fabrics for future projects.
  2. Design sketches: If the quilt/sewing project has a specific design or pattern, include sketches and notes about how the design was created.
  3. Measurements and cutting instructions: Keep track of the sizes of each piece of fabric used in the quilt/sewing project, as well as any cutting instructions.
  4. Quilting details: Document the type of batting used, the thread used for quilting, and any other details related to the quilting process. If you used a longarm quilter, add their name.
  5. Photos: Take photos of the quilt/sewing project at different stages of the process, from the initial planning stages to the finished product. These photos can be printed and included in the journal or saved digitally.
  6. Notes about the finished quilt or sewing project: Once the project is complete, write down any observations or feedback about the finished product. This can be helpful when planning future projects.
  7. If you gave the quilt or project to someone, record who, why, where, etc.
A look back at my first quilt with chenille – my oldest daughter’s baby quilt.
She turns 18 next month. (Insert tears!) (P.S. The date on the picture is wrong. I think I took the photo in 2007, but I made the quilt in 2004.)

Keeping a sewing journal can be a fun and rewarding way to not only keep track of your progress, but it can also help you remember what you have made. If you’re anything like me, you might forget things. Hey, it happens! There are quilts I made 20 years ago that I don’t remember much about and to be honest, I probably would have forgotten them altogether if it hadn’t been for my scrapbook. By documenting each step of the quilting process, you can create a valuable resource that will be invaluable through the years as you thumb through it and look back on all of your past sewing projects. Here are my final words of wisdom for this week: take pictures of your projects and record the info! You will be glad you did twenty years from now!

‘Til next time!


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