Sunday, June 02, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching - How to get a lot done slowly!

People often ask me how I get so much quilting accomplished, especially when I do so much by hand. 
Part of it is because I have been multitasking for years, usually working a few different part time jobs, teaching quilting classes, raising kids, taking care of relatives, and a dog, and a house. My brain is usually thinking about many varied things all at the same time. But part of accomplishments is setting goals and being organized.
Here are some of my suggestions: 


*have all the supplies needed for the project in a bag.
There is no searching for scissors at the last minute, or not having the correct thread needed, etc. I want the stitching time to be relaxing and rewarding, not frustrating. I try to be organized and have all the prep/thinking work completed for each take along project.


*always have a take along project at the ready. I have
several project bags that I can grab as I fly out the door to pick up the kids. I grab whichever project I feel like working on at that moment...hand piecing, embroidery, hand quilting. Sometimes the decision is influenced by the amount of time I think I might have (ie. if I just have a long wait, I bring a project that needs a lot of detailed work). Sometimes it is influenced by the weather (ie. if it's hot, I pick something small and light to hold, and if it's cold I bring a large hand quilting project to sit under). 

*believe that 5 or 10 minutes here and there adds up to major progress. I never waste time since it is the most valuable resource I have.

*I rarely watch TV but if I do, I am doing some hand stitching. If it is a totally engrossing show (rare!) then I only stitch during commercials. Mostly I borrow DVD's from the library and "watch" them on my computer while I'm quilting. I also listen to CBC radio and books on CD instead of watching TV. When the weather is good, I stitch outside in my back yard.

*my brother has been very sick, so I always take stitching when I visit him or take him to appointments. You never know how long you will have to wait. In waiting rooms I notice that people generally either stare at TV's or stare at their phones. I am spending that same time being creative and making something. It helps me to feel more relaxed, and sometimes generates some interesting conversation and positive energy, which is always welcomed by everyone in hospitals and Dr's offices.


*keep at least one project bag in the car. You never know when you mayhave to wait - in a traffic jam, to get on a ferry, etc.
Everyone else will be frustrated and stressed, but you will be relaxed and sewing something!

*enjoy the process! Focus on the positive and how many stitches you put in (not the negative..."I have been working on this quilt for 6 years and it's still not done"!) 

Do you have any helpful hints to share? Please post a link to your hand stitching blog post below.

21 comments:

  1. I agree Kathy setting goals and staying organized is important. I have a little box that holds my sewing supplies for my current project and keeps everything at hand. We waste so many minutes everyday. Also I believe you need to stay focused on your project and not get distracted by everything out there, no one can do them all, so pay attention to what appeals to you and stay focused on that!

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  2. I agree the prep work and baggies of everything you need is the key. Training your kid to grab the bag full of hand work projects any time you leave the house.... priceless! I can't believe how much I've gotten done in the 5-10minutes I wait to pick up a kid from school. I should get lots done next year with two car waiting lines.

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  3. As busy as we all are, finding time for what we love is never impossible. It is nice to have something productive to do when waiting on life to happen.

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  4. When I had to wait for Drama Teen to finish practice (soccer or swim), I always had handwork or my computer so I could work on quilt designs. I'm lucky that I have a dedicated sewing space. I try very hard to spend at least 15 minutes a day in it. It's amazing what you can get done if you spend even just that small amount of time every day on a project.

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  5. Great suggestions Kathy! I have long been in the habit of keeping a book in the car to read when stuck in traffic or waiting for some reason or another. But recently I've been bringing along a knitting project - easily transportable and not a lot of pieces to lose or drop between the car seats LOL!!!

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  6. These are very good tips Kathy! I found that when I added my sewing basket for embroidery last winter to hold all of my materials and a project it really helped (and it was a pretty reminder of my WIP too!).

    I have a black project bag that I keep my supplies for binding in too. I misplaced it for about a week and that was very frustrating so now it has a designated spot!

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  7. I know that being prepared is the key yet I never manage to stay organized!!

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  8. I used to take a book everywhere I went. Now it's a ball of yarn and some knitting needles. I like your ideas and will use some of them. Thank you for this post.

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  9. When we made the 4 hour trip to Boston for college visits I always brought crocheting or knitting. I would love to be able to bring my hand quilting but I have it on an oval hoop on a stand. What size quilting hoop do you use?

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  10. Great suggestions! Yes, we all have "down" time.....being able to fill it creatively almost makes one enjoy those times :-)

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  11. Great tips on how to be ready and make use of snippets of time. Sometimes I stitch for 10 minutes in the morning and then I know I got some sewing accomplished. It adds up over a span of a few days.

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  12. You have some great tips here...and some great projects to share...thank you!

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  13. Great tips Kathy! I usually have a book or my Kindle to occupy "free" time... will have to pack a hand sewing project now too!

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  14. Thanks for hosting. This is my first Slow Sunday link up. Hope to do more in the future.

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  15. Such a good post full of great ideas, Kathy!
    While I was in physical therapy for my feet last month I got three hexie flowers stitched while I was hooked up to machines. I haven't made progress on that quilt in years!

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  16. I discovered one tip just last week. I moved my sewing room upstairs out of the freezing basement. I have gotten more sewing done than if I would have left it down there. Now I realize not everyone could do this so do what you can to get this done and it doesn't take but a few minutes here and there to complete things!

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  17. I love all your wonderful tips Kathy as well as your upbeat and positive way of thinking! :)

    Sending well wishes for your brother's recovery from illness.

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  18. I love that you are sewing in the car while waiting...brilliant!

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  19. I think the breakthrough for me came when I realized I just had to more little scissors. Every portable project is in its own bag with its own scissors now. I use those little clips with a retractable cable to clip them to my shirt. When my husband drives or I'm waiting for kids I'm always making yo yos or hexies.

    I think it's a matter of habit too. When the dishes are done in the evening, I try to spend at least a little time stitching.

    Great post!

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  20. Great tips. I always did a lot of that in the past. Now, I'm relearning how to set up hand projects again. And enjoying them.

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  21. Excellent advice! I really enjoyed your post.

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