Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Time Management

A lot of people I know ask me how I produce so many quilts.  This morning my best friend sent me a message saying she thinks she must be a lazy quilter because she doesn't produce as many quilts as I do.  I felt terrible!  I really don't want to be a discouragement to anyone, so let me answer the "how do you" question in so much detail you will wish no one had ever asked...

1) I am a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom is a very physical job, but there are plenty of times I can dream up plans for quilts. When you are doing tedious housework, sitting in traffic, sitting in the park, or watching cartoons, you can think a lot. When I worked full time, I came home and crashed. I was so exhausted by a day full of talking and people (yes, I'm an introvert), there was no way I wanted to engage my brain in any way.

2)I have a dedicated sewing space. We have a breakfast nook in my house that was placed right by the only downstairs bathroom. I hated that room for a long time. It's embarrassing to go potty with nothing but a core door separating you from people eating. YUCK. I tried exiling the toys to that area, but it was colder than the rest of the house and the kids always just wanted to be near the t.v. me anyway.  One day I just claimed it for my own.  It's a lot easier to sew when you can take 15 minutes while you are waiting on the oven to pre-heat to iron some half square triangles.  All those little things I can do in the 15 minutes other people may be setting up just to get started add up. 

3. I have good machines. I can't tell you how many hours I wasted ripping out quilting on my older machine. The juki is super fast, too...I think 1600 stitches a minute? I throw on a 1/4" compensating presser foot and I can really fly.

4) I buy fabric for several projects at once and I keep a bolt of white at all times. I usually save my buying binges for when I am visiting Mississippi where my husband grew up or Waco where my best friend lives. There are better quilt shops there anyway (sorry LQS!)

5) I abandoned perfectionism. My house isn't 100 percent clean all the time. My hair is not done up cute every day.  My quilts are not imperfection free. I'm ok with that. (look at that wonky top on the green crayon).  I do what makes me happy and am blessed by being one of those people who really doesn't care what people think about me.  Enough said on that!

6). I am not a twilight reader, but I did go see that latest movie with my friend Hope.  I think new quilters are kind of like the newborn vampires...just rabid wanting to create, create, create!  Now I feel I have the basics down and I want to challenge myself to longer projects.  My production level is slowing down considerably.

7) My husband and kids are really sweet about it.  I know my limits...I can't ask them to set foot in a Hobby Lobby.  My husband is really busy with Little League, Church Softball, Scouting, and a graduate class he is taking.  I know he likes the fact that I have something to do that makes me happy when he's away and the kids are in bed.  My oldest is wanting to learn how to sew and now has his own little little machine.  The younger two like to sit on my lap sometimes and they get excited to see a quilt come together.

8) I blog a few posts at a time and just hit "Post Options" on the lower left side and schedule them to post by themselves...otherwise I'd never keep up with blogging.

9) I ladder stitch my bindings and I save bindings for family time when I can share their company and quilt at the same time.   Tutorialhere!

I really really hated it when my mother sewed though she only did it recreationally on weekends.  I do try to wait until they are in bed, napping, or otherwise engaged, but I think it's good for them (even though they might whine in the present just as I did) to see their mom and dad doing something they love and I know I am creating things that will be a love letter to them even when I am gone. When I moved out out of my parent's house, I took only my favorite baby doll, a quilt my mother made when she was pregnant with me, and a wooden ammunition box my mother used to store embroidery threads.  I filled that box with all the letters she had written to me when I went away to college.  My father's house burned down soon after and that was all that was left.  Jewelry, GONE.  Furniture, GONE.  Photos, GONE.  I think the items I chose to carry with me show just how valuable a child views something created by a mother's hand. 

Have you got a good time management tip?  Lemme know in the comments!


  1. Good Morning Mary.
    This is such a good post. :o) I really can't add too much too it, because we do such similar things. I do love the idea of always having a bolt of white fabric on hand. Do you order that special?
    I love the three things you chose to take when you moved out. :o) It shows how dear they were to you.
    Sincerely - Trish

  2. I'm in the 'work full time, and come home and crash' cycle of my life, so I don't get much sewing done, but I have lots of sewing machines to sew on, due to my thrift store shopping!

    Great post!


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