A few months back, I asked people in my FB group if they would be willing to participate in a questionnaire about their quilting time/habits/etc. I was curious to find out if people felt like they had enough quilting time, among other things. Not surprisingly, most folks feel they do not get enough time for quilting. Sometimes that is due to a job, either full or part time, or sometimes it is due to personal circumstances. Personally I feel that if I could quilt 24 hours a day, that probably would still not be enough ;). So I searched around the internet and found some suggestions that might just work and give you more precious quilting time ( as well as adding in my own 2 cents worth of what works for me!)
Around the house: We all have chores and jobs that are home related: Cleaning, cooking, laundry, errands, etc. If we can cut down on the time it takes to get those things done, we automatically give ourselves more time for quilting. Here are some ideas you might be able to use:
- Multitask! There are many chores that can be done while doing something else. If I am doing the dishes, I might as well be running a load of laundry at the same time. When I have laundry to fold I will do it while supervising homework or bath time.One little trick I started using this year is the start my laundry just before I head off to bed. In the morning it is ready and waiting for me to throw it in the dryer or hang it on the line, and I didn’t have to wait around waiting on the cycle to finish. ( And no, there is no odor, and no, my clothes don’t look any more wrinkly than before 😉 ).
- Running errands takes a lot of time out of one’s day. I try to group my errands by “map” location. So if I have to run to the bank on the East side of town, I will also run to the grocery store that is located nearby. I am always thinking of a “loop” that I can drive in so that I make the most efficient use of my time. (Running errands between 9-10 am is also great, because you are missing the commuter traffic and school busses, but are beating the crowds to the stores, therefore no waiting in long lines!)
- Cleaning up the house a little bit every day takes much less time ( and is much less tedious) than having to do a BIG clean once a week. (When our daughter was young, we would save our cleaning and errands until the weekend. Not only did that not make us look forward to the weekend, but by the time Friday rolled around, the house would be a huge mess!). So get in the habit of putting items away, clean up that spill right away, and wash away those few dishes. And always, always, always make your bed! A room right away looks neat(er) when the bed is made ;). I will also fit in those time-stealers like mopping the floor in less than obvious times. Right after I finish the dishes at night is a great time because everyone is done in the kitchen and the floor has time to dry.
- Cook more than one meal at a time ( or right away cook enough to make it last 2 meals)~ Less time in the kitchen, more time for quilting! And give yourself permission to have a sandwich and soup once a week. It is perfectly healthy and much less prep. I also love using my crockpot! You can prep your entire inner pot the night before and keep it in the fridge till morning, then pop it in and voilà, dinner is all looked after for that day.
At work: If you work a full or part time job you obviously have to be even more creative with your time:
- If you have enough time during lunch, try and run some errands, pay some bills, or do some hand sewing. I have read stories of folks who start a quilting bee at work~ What a fun way to spend your lunch time!
- Pick up some groceries on your way home so you don’t have to go back out later.
- Get up 20 minutes earlier to give yourself some quilting time, or do it at the end of the day. A few minutes here and there really do add up!
So, now that you have ( hopefully) freed up a few extra minutes per day, it is time to organize your sewing time:
- Mark quilting time on your calendar. Just like any appointment, it will seem more official to everyone if it is marked on your calendar, and you will be more likely to do it. ( Use a code word if you must, if you are afraid family members might make fun of you).
- Sew, trim, cut , or press in “batches”. If you know you have a whole lot of the same task to accomplish ( for example: You have to cut 300 triangles), do them all at the same time. It’s pretty mindless work, and because you are not changing activities, you won’t get distracted. Some people like to cut out ALL the pieces for a quilt before they start sewing. If that works for you, great! If you are like me and get bored and impatient, then cut just what you need to make one block, before continuing.
- Something I just started doing this year is to have a project box. I place my pattern, the fabric I am planning on using, plus embroidery thread and whatever else I need in a plastic container the size of a fat pizza box. Then whenever I have the time, I can pull that box and have everything right at my fingertips and ready to go. You can use any container…use old shoeboxes, ziplock bags, whatever works for you.
- Choose to do certain projects at certain times. For example, I like to sew at my machine in the morning when I am most alert, and like to save my embroidery or sewing on bindings for night time when I am relaxing in front of the TV. If you have a lot of waiting time ( at appointments, at kids’ sporting events, etc.) you can bring little hand sewing projects with you in your purse. Another positive outcome of this habit is that I find my wait time always seems shorter when I have a fun way to spend my time ;).
- If it is at all possible, I highly recommend that you make yourself a dedicated quilting space. Nothing wastes as much time as having to drag everything out and putting it all away again when your sewing time is over. Even if you can’t have a room, is there a table where you could leave out your machine? If you cover the table with a long tablecloth you can hide some quilting supplies underneath. Your kitchen counter will be just the perfect height for cutting your pieces, so you do not need a special seperate place for that ( and you could do some cutting while you are waiting for the pasta to cook!). I have seen some fabulous closets that double as craft areas. Have you really thought about ALL the spaces in your home? For example, I turned our formal dining room into my quilt room. That is one of the least used rooms in most homes, and wouldn’t it serve better as a quilt room than a dust gatherer?! Of course it would! The plus side of using your dining room is that you are still close to family and the kitchen so it’s easier to “sneak away” and do a few minutes of sewing, while you are still available to everyone. Even if you really have absolutely NO place to leave things out, try to at least store your essentials in a basket or tote that you can access easily.
I do hope that some of these suggestions are helpful to you and allow you a little more time to dedicate to this wonderful hobby! And if you have any suggestions please add them in the comments! And a big thank you to all my FB contributors who took time to answer my survey, and to my friend Colleen, who helped me come up with the questions!
Until next time~ happy creating!