The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Documenting Your Quilts

May 22, 2023

Urban Dwell Guide

I’m Ashelyn of Urban Dwell Studio and I am excited to share with you the lazy girl’s guide to documenting your quilts! I’m a quilt pattern writer, podcast host, and quilt educator based just north of Salt Lake City, Utah. “Studio” is a bit of a romanticization these days, as I currently work from a tidy little table in our living room surrounded by my five kids and the furry one called Clark- the cat’s name is Clark, not my husband’s!

Today I am sharing my FREE quilt log template:

Ashelyn of Urban Dwell Studio

If you listen to my podcast, The Grateful Thread, you may already have heard about my wildfire entry into quilting that which, I’m told, is a common way to begin the craft. What is maybe less common, is the fact that I made 3o (yes, thirty, three-zero) quilts between April and December of 2022. While the number is, of course, a bit on the “fanatical” side, what I’ve found interests people even more, is that I could easily quantify my completed projects.

How, you ask?

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Documenting Your Quilts is a spreadsheet, of course!

My system started with the need to track the details of quilts that I was submitting to shows but ended up being a really achievable way to record the other “just for fun” ones as well. By creating one place to house my quilts’ measurements, their descriptions, finish dates, shipping details, and show information, I can quickly input those details when applying to shows, which are done almost exclusively digitally these days (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, anyone?). Additionally, I have a column for gifting and sales to keep track of where my quilts end up over time!

Urban Dwell Quilt

It’s not all about the ease of entering into shows..

Do you remember that quilt you gave your newborn niece when you first started quilting? Or, how about that gorgeous double wedding ring lovingly made for your co-worker’s wedding last summer? One thing that I hear from quilters regularly, is that they have no idea how many quilts they’ve made over the years. I’m sure that, if pressed, most of us could probably backtrack our memories and remember most of the important details; but what about in five more years? TEN more years? When you’re in your last creative days and the beautiful brain and hands that once created warmth and comfort for others from cloth no longer remember those details?

You may be thinking that this isn’t that important to your family, or that your work isn’t “good enough” to commemorate with a log, but whether your quilts end up in museums or on the beds, sofas, grassy parks and then closets of extended relatives, your handmade work IS valuable to this craft and documenting it ensures the future recognition and respect of quilting.

Urban Dwell Studio Quilt

“Quilt making, at it’s core, is art.”

As an antique quilt collector, I know that quilts with identifying features (i.e., LABEL YOUR QUILTS, PEOPLE!) are much more valuable than anonymous works. While monetary value may not be relevant to you in 2023, being able to properly date and estimate value may be extremely important to future generations wishing to preserve your work and their heritage. The number of quilts in “the wild” and in museums with absolutely no discernable identification is astounding and, to be honest, heartbreaking. Quilt making, at it’s core, is art. Painters sign their paintings, clothing designers place their labels, potters stamp their clay, and we, as quilters need to sign our work also.

Okay, that’s my rant on why you should document your quilts (steps down from the soapbox), here’s the how:

While I may have an advantage of having started quilting just a year ago, solidly in the digital age, I think that documenting our quilt-making is so important- if not to help you and loved ones remember where they all ended up, then for simply tracking dates and recognizing your style preferences and any changes to those preferences. It doesn’t need to be in an elaborate scrapbook or be an intense process- you can record as little as a basic description and details about the recipient to help track your projects in one easy-to-find place.

My own tracking is very minimal and, while I would love to have a better plan for documenting with photos outside of Instagram, I do find that this system is one which I can maintain – and that is the most important aspect of implementing new tools or routines!

I’ve created a Free Digital Quilt Log Template for email subscribers to download and begin using right away, that includes exactly what I track. There are plenty of journals and products out there that can help you with prompts and photo documentation as well, but if you’re someone that needs one less physical thing to keep track of, this Free Download is the low-stress way to go!

In case you are the sentimental type with the desire and capacity to manage a physical quilt book with photos, I’ve made this Free Quilt Memory Book Canva Template that allows you to create new pages as you go to either print and add to a designated binder, or save in a digital folder to eventually upload to your favorite memory book maker website (like Shutterfly or Mixbook) to create a more polished version.

Canva Template

Both of these can be found using the links above, or on my website, under the “Freebies” tab.

If you haven’t been actively recording the details of each of your quilts as you make them, don’t sweat it! You can start now! Simply do your best to retroactively recall quilt details and make an effort to keep updating your list as you go from now on!

I hope you found the lazy girl’s guide to documenting your quilts as useful as I do!

Download the FREE template here:




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