The Quilt Notebook–Jumpstarting your WIPs

Quilt Notebook, Aurifil Thread


In our last episode of The Quilt Notebook we talked about choosing three quilts to move from the UFO list to the Works in Progress list.  For short, we will call the priority projects THE BIG THREE.  The Big Three should include:

  1. Your Best Work
  2. A quilt you can finish in the shortest amount of time
  3. A deadline quilt/group project or a “Free Choice” quilt

Seventy-five percent of your quilting time should be spent on The Big Three-leaving a little bit of time to try new techniques–(especially practicing FMQ!)

Quilt Notebook, Aurifil Thread


In order to jumpstart these projects, try a few of these ideas:

  • Purchase three boxes (Office supply boxes are roomy and stack well)  or three decorative baskets.
  • Place everything you need (except general sewing supplies) into these boxes.  No more wasted time looking for fabric, directions, etc.
  • Hang the quilts, blocks or pattern on a design wall or drape over a chair–make the quilts very visible in your sewing room.
  • Take a picture of each of the quilts and place in your quilt notebook and another copy in your daily calendar.  If you have a smart phone, add a picture of each of the quilts and use one as your phone background.  Again, keep these three quilts foremost in your mind.
  • In your quilt notebook, make a list of everything you need to purchase or find to complete the quilt.
  • In your quilt notebook, make a list of the NEXT THREE THINGS you need to do on each of the quilts.  Don’t get bogged down in writing everything you need to do–that’s just a form of procrastinating–trust me, I know about procrastinating!
  • In your quilt notebook, make a list of three things you can do while watching TV or in between stirring the spaghetti.
  • Create a small box or portable sewing kit that contains one of the TV projects.  WARNING-leave it IN your box until you need it!

Quilt Notebook, Aurifil Thread


Finally, and most importantly:  DO SOMETHING on the quilt:  iron, cut or stitch.  Planning is good, but it doesn’t move the project forward.

Quilt Notebook, Aurifil Thread


I find that having three (and only three) quilts on which to focus, provides enough flexibility to accommodate my moods and need for variety.  At the same time, I am able to see progress on projects without going off in too many directions.

We haven’t forgotten about the long list of UFOs, we’ve just added a bit of focus to our work.  We’ll be going back to the UFOs shortly to determine if they are “keepers” or not.

Until next time in our Quilt Notebook Series… (next Monday?–I’m more organized at quilting this week, which may mean I am less organized at blogging—but I’ll try my best!)

Happy, Organized quilting,


PS…All photos, tutorials and information are the property of the very focused (!?) Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  You are welcome to re-blog and Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at

22 thoughts on “The Quilt Notebook–Jumpstarting your WIPs

  1. OK! I’m glad I joined this post….I’m in off to find notebook and baskets. Thanks for the kickstart..looks do-able.
    Freda P Edinburgh UK

  2. Glad to report some progress for first time in a year. We had to go to FL for medical appmts. No computer service there. I grabbed some UFO looking projects and took those and actually finished 2 and worked on the other. Number One was a thank you quilt which I delivered to new owner this past Wed,,That was a joy for me and self-imposed load off my shoulders. I am now looking forward to working on the next batch of WIP-UFOs. I can look at the next one and say, “I am not afraid of you anymore, Come to mama, get dressed up, and go out into the world with your chin up !” Thank you,, Lori, for the inspiration and practical ideas that got me up and going!! Discovered I need lots more practice on my FMQ, too.

  3. I have used this suggestion, and am working on 3 UFO’s. One is already done, (started with your first suggestion) and am about half way through the second. I love making the quilt tops, but find the actual quilting a bit of a chore – am trying to teach myself to enjoy this process too. Thanks for all the comments – look forward to them each day Saskia

  4. Oh how I love this idea of only focusing on 3 projects. I have now been able to complete 3 finish it fast projects. I have got my other 2 moving forward. It has really worked to make me stop and work on a project instead of just admiring the projects and putting them all back in the closet ! Yeah ! THANKS

  5. I’m also happy to report that I have completely finished 2 UFO’s:-) And have another ready for FMQ! In between, I was able to piece together another top, also ready for FMQ! I am on a roll! Thank you Lori, for jump starting the year off right and helping us get our projects done! Is there a way for us to post our finished projects for a “show and tell”?

  6. This is so helpful, and I thank you. Your articles are vehicles that spurn action. They create the focus you are advocating, and help us make the most of the time we have to spend in our sewing rooms.

    PS: I really like the fabric and coordinated thread colors in your photo today!

    • Music to my ears! As you can tell, focus is something I must constantly work to achieve! I’m glad you liked the photo–an impulse fabric buy-that I allow myself only occasionally. Not sure how I’ll use the fabric.

  7. Help! I couldn’t resist starting a new project. I had wanted to do a snail trail block at some point, I had some Parson Gray fabric I wanted to do something with at some point & POW! The two got together in my head & I had to make some blocks, I really, really had to. This happened while I was in the start/middle of FMQ a quilt of valor/honor for my brother.

    • Carol, It is very important to “go with it” when you must. Some of the best quilts come from that kind of inspiration. We don’t want to be inspiration-killers! However, if you do that every month…we’ll re-evaluate! LOL!

  8. Try not to keep UFO’s around but did have a couple and was also inspired by this discussion to finish. Recently bought a midarm machine – so quilting is easier done.

  9. I take my sewing machine and quilting projects along when we go south for the winter. Last fall as we were gathering the things we wanted to take along, I decided I would take one WIP for each month we would be gone. This has worked out really well and I am on target. The oldest was only two and one-half years in the works, but it is a class reunion signature quilt that I really wanted to get finished. The other two are from last year, but hey, a finished top is a finished top, right? I will be in touch with the long armer when I get home. I did bring a few smaller projects for a break between quilts. Focus is what I struggle with at home knowing I have so many quilts to be finished and/or started. Comforting to know I’m not alone in this. Your suggestion to pick three is something I plan to do from now on. Thanks, Lori!

    • Rozetta, Congrats on your finishes! You must feel so happy! Your self-imposed “one quilt per month” is exactly the same as three and only three–forcing focus to those of us who want to go off in a million different directions.

  10. I have been bumped off Flts all day at MSP! ! Am now at an airport hotel and will try again in the morning for my flt home. Can’t wait to get home and join in on all the gettin’stuff done! ! I forgot my coat in FL! ! And it was one degree in Minnie when we got here! Lol! Daytona was awesome but very wet ! Was so glad to have your good reading to kill time at the airport.!

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