Yesterday, a few of us in a small quilting group on Facebook were discussing how much time it takes to do a quilt. We sometimes get asked by people, and the glaring and resounding fact is that very few really know! So many of us quilt a little bit here and a little bit there, but no one seems to really know the exact amount.
It reminded me that I used to log my time. It was only in the past two years that I haven't been as consistent. Which is funny, because I have completed equal to or more quilts in the past two years than the other 13 years of my quilting life!
A good old fashioned spreadsheet. I print one off for each project. I write the "name" of the quilt on it and keep it with my project/design file folder.
I have different headings: Consultation, Design, Material Shopping, Foundation/Paper design, Cutting, Piecing, Applique, Basting/Load LA machine, Quilting, Binding, Quilt Label, and Final Touches (snipping threads, washing quilt).
I have Start and Stops at the top heading. The idea is that I enter the time I am starting and then the time I finished. If I am called away from the project, I just quickly write the actual time I stopped. I figure out calculations when I have completed them at the end. I tried to do this once on a computer without printing and it did not work at all. I found it tedious because I had to pull it up on my computer every time I wanted to work on something. Sometimes paper on pencil seem the more practical route.
And for those who ask, what about emergencies? Do you actually take the time to write it down when you the boys need you? YES!
The boys know that I will only run and drop everything for the following three criteria:
Bleeding? Must be a copious amount.
Broken bones coming out of the skin? No, suspected broken bones don't count.
Dying? Like I need to call 911 ASAP. Not, I smashed my toe on the corner of the entertainment unit that I kicked in fury because I lost my NBA game on PlayStation.
Otherwise? I will be writing my stop time down before I come to give some pats on the heads.
Reasons to keep a quilt log?
- I like to see what parts I spend the most time doing. I will be honest. I spend WAY too much time on design. It is definitely my weakness.
- It is handy to have if a customer wants a quilt I have already done. I know exactly how much time I need!
- I like to see where I can improve a skill. Am I making something too hard? Could I lessen the time spent on a certain step?
- Pricing, pricing, pricing. How do you know what a quilt is worth, if you don't know the hours that were spent on it?
All of this leads to a related topic. Project plans and checklists. How do you handle that? Do you break down every quilt into steps for what you need to do? It feels empowering to check things off my list. I just saw this on a blog I follow, from Pixels to Patchwork.
|image via pixelstopatchwork.com|
Isn't it the coolest thing? I just love how she has expected due dates and priorities. The organizing freak in me EATS that up! I also love how each project sheet showcases the design! I inquired and she said she is working on an editable Microsoft Work version. I told her it will go viral! I don't know if I can wait and might try to finagle a version for myself on the Mac. It certainly wouldn't be as fantastic as hers...I am no graphic artist!!
This all brings me to a question for you.
How do you organize a project? Do you keep track of them? Do you log in your minutes, hours, and days? What part of the project takes the longest for you?
Or are you like some of my quilting friends that say "I'd rather not know"?