Plan To Quilt - a review

Recently, Shannon of asked for reviewers for her quilt planner, Plan to Quilt. She had just redesigned it and was looking for real-life quilters to test it and write about it.

I was lucky enough to receive one to test, and I can honestly say I love it. I’ve used other quilt planners before, especially the calendar-based ones, and was never all that happy with them. I didn’t use the calendar, or make the quilt patterns that came included in it, and then once the year was up, it felt like the planner was “expired” somehow.

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For the most part, I’ve just used a cheap notebook that I would stick fabric swatches into, write down what cuts were needed (since a lot of my quilts end up as patterns some day down the road, I don’t want to have to redo all the math months later), which thread I used and any other tidbits I thought I might need to know later on.

So when I looked at the Plan to Quilt planner to see if I would want to test it, I immediately saw that it ticked all my boxes, just in a much prettier and keepsake-worthy format.

And speaking of format, it’s 8.5″ x 10″ big, with large (1.25″) gold wire binding. It’s got a beautiful, sturdy hard cover, and lays completely flat when you write in it. The paper is heavier than your usual notebook paper, too, so pens won’t bleed through the pages. The size ensures it doesn’t get lost on your book shelf, but it’s still easy enough to bring along to the shop.

There is also a mini version which, at 5″ wide by 6.5″ tall, could reasonably live in your purse all the time, for those moments when you unexpectedly find yourself at a fabric store, or see something that just begs to be drawn up as a quilt pattern.

I have the big version, so I’ll be talking about that one here.

It has room for 42 projects and the whole book is colour-coded from the project list at the front, through the shopping lists and the project pages. The projects are un-numbered, so once you fill one book, you simply keep going with project #43 in the next planner.

First things first, it starts off with a fabric wish list, and a pattern wish list. They are right at the front and let you add or find things easily without having to search through the book.
Then there is the project checklist. I like having the visual right at the front to see what I’m working on and what stage each project is at. And checking off those boxes is very satisfying ;-)

Next up are the shopping lists. There is room for a list for each project, so you can simply take the planner to the shop with you. And again, it’s colour-coded with the project list and the actual planner pages.

And here is where the actual planning pages start. There are 5 pages per project, starting with an overview page for all the important details such as the pattern name, start date, a difficulty rating, thread type and stitch settings. And (somewhat strangely) a box for “pieced by”. I think that’s a little odd, and might have been better labelled “quilted by” since a lot of us do send quilts out to a longarmer but I’ve yet to hear of a quilter who doesn’t do their own piecing. There is also room to write down the recipient and occasion, which definitely speaks to the keepsake aspect of this planner.
The same page has boxes to colour in, and space to glue in fabric swatches.

The next page is a big blank canvas, designed to add a photo of your finished quilt, or glue in an envelope with the pattern. A standard pattern in a plastic sleeve fits perfectly there, or you could use this space for more fabric swatches if you needed to.

The third page is for your block design. It has a block of graph paper that is 48 x 48 squares and is divided into a 6×6 grid of smaller blocks. You can use the big block as your quilt top, drawing individual block layouts into some or each of the 36 smaller blocks, or use it to design a single block. It comes with a handy guideline to help you calculate how much binding you will need, and then the best part of the planner, hearts to colour in to show how much you enjoyed making it. And of course, the finish date.

Page 4 of a project is a full page grid, again for drawing out a full quilt, a block or number of blocks, or you can use this space to glue in things if you need extra space.

And the last page in each project has room for notes and for the quilt’s story, another thing that makes this planner more of a keepsake than a notebook.

The rest of the book is just these 5 pages repeated 42 times. I don’t know about you, but for me that is well over a year’s worth of projects.

In summary, I really like the design and quality of this planner. I love the page with the quilt details, because I often forget one or two key bits of information, and I like the visual progress list at the front for its easy overview of where you stand with any project. Because there is no calendar, this is ideal for projects that take any length of time, temporary UFOs, things you work on every once in a while, etc.

A couple of things made me wonder a bit, such as the “pieced by” box I mentioned earlier, and the fact that FPP is not listed as one of the methods of quilt construction to choose from. I just added an extra check box for myself. The room for fabric swatches is also a bit small, but you can easily use one of the grid pages if you need more room for those. The colour-coding is great, but with 42 projects, it’s a bit difficult to distinguish some of the colours, so I’ve written in the project numbers for myself as well.

You can purchase your own Plan To Quilt planner directly from Shannon and use the code PENNYSPOOL to get 10% off.

And for my Canadian readers, Mad About Patchwork carries it north of the border, and owner Ali has been kind enough to extend the 10% off with the code PLAN2QUILTCANADA.

For more quilting resources from Shannon, click here (this link is also referenced on the last page of the planner)


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