Used with the written permission of lostquilts.com. All articles are copyrighted. Many thanks to Maria Elkins of LostQuilts.com for allowing us to share this terrific information.
At the very least, fill out a Quiltmaker’s Documentation Form for each of the quilts you make. On this form you can record all the pertinent information about your quilt. It’s nice to have digital pictures, but computers can crash and technology becomes outdated, so be sure to include a paper photograph of your quilt along with fabric swatches which are useful for monitoring fading. Please feel free to make copies of this quilt documentation form and distribute it to your friends, your quilt guild, or wherever you like.
Use a manila folder, a large envelope or Ziploc© bag to keep the receipts for supplies and fabrics purchased for this quilt, sketches made during the design process, notes from your journal, fabric swatches, and photos of you and your quilt while it is being made. Use a separate folder for each quilt. On the outside of your folder or envelope, record any or all of the following:
A label should be firmly attached to the lower right corner of the back of your quilt. Many quilters recommend attaching the label before the quilt is quilted so the label can not be easily removed without damaging the quilt. Another suggestion is to write directly onto the quilt with a permanent marker. If you like, this could be back-up identification under your regular label. For more ideas on making labels read Labeling Your Quilts (http://lostquilt.com/index.php/protecting-quilts/labeling-your-quilts/).
Many quilters like to sign their quilts in a hidden place so that if their label is removed they can still positively identify their quilt. Some suggest signing the quilt in the seam allowance that will be covered by the binding. If you will be attaching a hanging sleeve to the back of your quilt, consider signing underneath or inside the sleeve. Put your hidden signature in the same place on every quilt or write down where it is and put that information with your other documentation.
Piece your backing and then take a photograph of the back of your quilt when you are done. If your quilt becomes lost and someone finds it, this is an additional way to identify it. You will know how the back is pieced and you will have a photo of it. Someone else may be able to describe the front of your quilt in an attempt to wrongfully claim it, but they probably won’t know what the back looks like.
This includes good photos of the completed quilt. Hire a professional photographer, if necessary. Also, keep a record of the shows where you displayed the quilt and any awards it won. You may also want to copyright your quilt (http://lostquilt.com/index.php/protecting-quilts/copyright-your-quilt/).
Be sure you have good pictures before you send your quilt to a show. Make sure the pictures are developed successfully and give a true representation of your quilt. If you are only an amateur, point-and-press photographer, read Photographing Your Quilts (http://lostquilt.com/index.php/protecting-quilts/photographing-your-quilts/) for tips for successful quilt photography.
This will be very important to establish the value of your quilt. You can get a list of AQS Certified Appraisers by contacting American Quilter’s Society, http://www.americanquilter.com/about_aqs/appraisers.php or you can find an appraiser in your area on the internet through Professional Association of Appraisers, http://quiltappraisers.org/.
Kathrin Brown, Quilt Show Chair