Tuesday Tip! How to Keep a Quilting WIP Organized

One aspect I love about quilting is how we take hundreds, sometimes thousands of small pieces & create something beautiful out of them!
One aspect I really dislike about quilting is keeping track of those hundreds or thousands of pieces…..
It used to be simple for me, I mostly worked on one project at a time, either at home or at my LQS during a class.  Then things (as they are wont to do) got complicated fast.  I started teaching more so a project would be interrupted so I could make a class sample.  Then there were the moves, then I started some challenging projects for myself that could only be worked on when I had quiet time to myself, oh & then the retreats started (so I needed easier projects to work on in a talkative group) as well as the block of the month projects (and who can have just one going on at a time?).
Yes, things got crazy fast & I found if I didn’t keep things together in a way I could keep track of, I’d ignore a project just because I had no idea where I was at.
I started with bins.  Nothing fancy, just bins that closed nicely & would fit on my shelves.  I believe they are the 18 qt. bins.
Then I gathered a bunch of empty plastic resealable bags from various projects.  Some came from kits, some from LQS block of the month projects, some from my kitchen drawer, you get the idea.
Then as I was cutting away, I would put all my cut pieces in a bag with a post-it note (or scrap of paper) that gave me a clue as to what was in the bag.
Here are a bunch of notes I wrote for the Scrapitude mystery quilt.  You can even see where I kept track of how many I had already cut & how many I still needed to cut.  (Again, I didn’t go out & buy anything special, I just used what I had around the house):
Then as pieces are sewn into larger blocks, I would put those in a bag & note how many where there & if I needed to sew anymore blocks.  (ok, so there are no notes in these bags, but you get the idea, right?)
All the different segments/plastic bags are kept in the same bin, with the pattern or picture at the top, so I could literally grab a bin & start working!
This became especially helpful for various mystery quilts like Scrapitude where you only received one clue a month.
Then when a quilt top is completely pieced, I sew the binding & the backing & place them in the “to be quilted” pile.  Then I go through the remaining fabric and decide what will be put back in fabric bins & what will be cut down into scraps.  Then the bin is empty to be used for the next project!!
So this is the system that works for me, I hope you can take pieces of it & tweak it into something that works for you!  Do you have another system?  I’d love to hear how you keep track of your WIPs!

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip! How to Keep a Quilting WIP Organized

  1. Robin, I also use totes, clear bags and sticky notes. My progression followed yours, at first couldn’t understand how sewers would have several projects going at once, I quickly understood the need for variety and several projects in the works. So fun then to devote time to finishing the UFOs and the glory of completed projects!!

  2. I do pretty much the same thing. Post-it notes for tracking, zip-loc bags, bins. I keep scraps from my cutting in the bin too, in case I make an error and need to replace a piece or a unit. Label-maker to label the bin by project. Easy to grab and go for retreats, too! It’s always such a sense of accomplishment, and part of the mental closure on a project, to clean out of the bin, tear the label off it, and return the bin to the floor under my shelves ready for whatever project might fill it next!

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