The typical image of a quilter is the retired grandmother who spends all day cutting up fabric and sewing adorable quilts for her multitude of grandchildren.
The reality is that young quilters exist too, but many of us have full-time day jobs so you won’t find us shopping at 10am on Thursday mornings.
Since time is at a premium for everyone, how can we find more time to quilt? (Or knit, scrapbook, or just create!)
#1 Embrace the 15 minute sprint.
Many of us have those small spaces of time here and there in our schedule. The challenge is to use that time for creative pursuits and not just conquering the next level of Candy Crush. One way to make this happen more frequently is to keep your sewing machine and craft supplies set up. It is much easier to sew a block or two when the machine is ready to go. Too many times I have taken the tempting choice of vegging on the couch rather than take out my machine, gather fabric, thread, pins etc and sit down to work.
#2 Have “kits” on hand
When your machine and tools are ready you need the fabric supplies as well, so my idea of kit is the pieces necessary for whatever project is in the works. Paper plates or empty pizza boxes are a cheap alternative to the plastic craft bins, but they serve the same purpose – keep everything contained and ready to sew when you have a few minutes. I also keep baskets of triangles, trimmed from binding strips, near my machine so there are always pieces waiting when I don’t have time for a more complex project. If you enjoy handwork, English paper piecing (hexies) makes a great take-along project. A small tote or plastic pencil box is perfect for this type of sewing supply box.
#3 Use precut-friendly patterns
Let someone else do the time-consuming prep work like cutting fabric. The ever popular Jelly Roll strips can be sewn into a variety of blocks.
Strips sets with three or four colors can quickly become rail fence blocks.
The Moda Bake Shop and Cozy Quilts offer patterns for a variety of pre-cut shapes such as charm squares and layer cakes. If you spend some time cutting fabric into sizes you most often use, you will be able to start sewing that much faster. Bonnie Hunter offers great tips on stash management and she has a number of free patterns on her site as well.
#4 Schedule a quilting retreat
I realize that this conjures up travel and the associated costs of spending the weekend away from home. There are many quilting retreat options if your budget allows such as Glamp Stichalot or on location with Judy Neimeyer. Traveling to a show such as Quilt Market or QuiltCon may give you the opportunity to take classes and see fabulous works of art in person. If travel is not possible, treat yourself to a sewing staycation. Invite some friends over, make a crockpot dinner, and enjoy some un-interrupted quilting time. This may require bribing family members to leave you alone, but I think it is definitely worth the cost!
Any day is better when quilting, so find time to do what you love!