Hello and happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a terrific start! This morning I got up early and finished a big project I’ve been working on over the past week. I had a lot going on with a couple of family gatherings and other projects at the same time, so I really had to get organized and stay on top of this project to get it done to meet the deadline (it’s a quilt market project that I’ll be able to share in a few weeks). I think some of the tips I used for planning this quilt project might be helpful to other quilters, so I’m sharing them today!
While these tips are ideas I use with large projects, they will actually work with
any size project you might be working on! I hope some of these ideas will be helpful to you as you quilt and sew projects of all sizes…because we all want to get as many things finished as possible, right?! Quilt project planning is one of my favorite ways to make sure I stay on schedule when I have a lot of deadline sewing to do, but it is also helpful when I’m working on projects just for fun!
5 Tips for Quilt Project Planning
1. Read the pattern thoroughly before beginning.
I like to quickly look over the entire pattern before beginning a project and look to see which techniques will be used. At the same time I can also look for ways to save time: I like to chain piece as much as possible, and by looking over the pattern at the beginning I can figure out ways to combine steps and save time.
2. Make a quick list of individual units needed to complete the quilt.
quilt I just finished had 216 scrappy flying geese units, 288
half-square triangles, 144 squares with two easy corner triangles on
each, and 24 square in a square blocks. I made a checklist with each of
these units and the other major steps needed to get all of the parts
and pieces ready for this quilt. Here is the checklist I used:
- Cut out the quilt
- Make flying geese units
- Make half-square triangles
- Make easy corner triangle units
- Assemble corner units
- Make square in a square blocks
- Assemble sashing
- Piece blocks
- Set quilt together
Four of the above steps had to be completed before I could put the blocks together. It made a lot of sense for me to break it down into steps rather than just write “make blocks” on my list. Plus, I felt good being able to cross the individual items off of my list.
3. Try to assign a time value to each step of the project.
While it’s not always easy to “guesstimate” how much time individual tasks will take, I like to at least try to figure out the time I think it might take. I’m getting better at knowing how long individual tasks will take, but I still get it wrong a lot of the time. When I get it wrong, I always underestimate my time, so I’ve started adding an hour to my final totals. (I estimated this weekend’s tasks to take 8 hours and I ended up spending 9 hours–so if I had just added an hour to my original estimate I would have been okay).
4. Look for ways to combine like steps together.
Two different units for the quilt I just finished used the easy corner triangle method on two to four corners. So I worked on those units at the same time even though they were for different sections of the quilt (some were for the quilt blocks and some were for the sashing posts). My flying geese and half-square triangle units were both made larger and then trimmed down, so I saved the trimming for all of those units to do in the evenings while watching television.
5. Keep track of your progress and stay positive.
I really like the satisfaction of checking things off of my list…so I’m pretty motivated to finish sections of the quilt so I can see some progress. I have to admit that there were a few days last week when I thought I’d never be able to meet my deadline…but by going over my list and the times I had assigned to each step I was able to realize that if I just kept sewing I’d be able to meet the deadline. I think this is a good way to approach quilt sewing for graduation gifts, wedding gifts, birthday and Christmas gifts, too! In fact, I’m going to revise my Christmas sewing list with time frame information so I can better stay on track this summer.
I hope some of these ideas were helpful…if you have any thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section! And I just want to thank everyone who filled out the survey from last week…I know it took a bit of time, and I so appreciate it! You’ve given me so many great ideas and suggestions, and I loved the positive feedback as well!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and happy quilting!