I remember the first time I walked into a quilt shop. I was in awe! Everything is to enticingly displayed around the whole store. Quilts are hung on the walls for inspiration. Bolts of fabric are within easy reach. Patterns and books entice you around every corner. The staff is friendly and helpful, just as excited as you are to put together the makings of a quilt. Gadgets are promising you an easier time, and new ideas continually bombard you. I had been in many fabric stores throughout my life, but was never as tempted to buy things as I was in the quilt shop. After walking around I lamented to the staff that I just needed more time and money!
Making time to quilt in our busy lives is something every quilter wishes they could solve. There are so many fun projects to make, and only so much time in the day. Not to mention the fact that our families would probably appreciate clean clothes and some food to eat.
So how do we find the time to quilt? I must admit now that I work full time year round, I don’t have as much energy at night to start in on a quilt. As a teacher, with summers off, I was able to get a lot more done. But I still managed to find time during the school year to quilt.
One thing that helps me tremendously is my basement sewing room. It is small, but it is all mine. The absolute best part about it is that I can start something and stop at any point without having to clean up. And I know that no one else in the house will disturb anything in that room. In fact my husband hates going in there because there are so many pins stuck in the carpet. Oh I pick them up every so often, but it can be a landmine.
In this room I have a small ironing board, just big enough to press fabric and seams. I have a larger board behind the door that I can haul out and set up in the bigger room next to mine if needed. I have all my thread hanging on the wall with matching bobbins. I have a rolling cart with supplies in easy reach, and desk organizers to sort needles, pins, small rules etc.
My design board is not big, but it does provide me with space to play. Shelves hold books, patterns, misc supplies and fabric. I have a bin for projects that are bundled together, and a bin of loose fabric. Since I really don’t keep a lot of fabric on hand, this works well for me. I have two cutting mats on the counter right next to me to use as I sew, and an office storage rack to store my large rulers. I do have one very large cutting mat that I can either hang on the wall or store behind a cabinet just outside my door to use when needed.
Sometimes I cut fabric on that mat outside my door, or sometimes I take everything up to the kitchen table or counter. It all depends on my mood that day and how much I have to cut. I also have an elastic hat rack on the back of the door where I can hang my completed projects. I make table runners and wall hangings, so they fit there well and provide inspiration to quilt.
Once I have started a project, then finding time is much easier. Even if I only have 15 minutes, I can quickly go downstairs and sew, stopping when I need to. It is really amazing how much you can get done in small chunks of time. Every so often I get a weekend afternoon to sew, but I try to take those only after I have started a quilt. Otherwise I seem to start dreaming and don’t get anything done. Some months I work in batches, where I will create a few quilt tops, and then quilt them all at once. However, I usually like to just keep working on the same one until it is done.
What if you don’t have space for a dedicated room? How about a closet? A quick search on Pinterest for “Craft Closet” shows so many neat ideas! And with a closet, you can shut the doors on your project at any point. This allows you to maximize your time not having to set up and tear down each time you want to sew. Searching for Sewing Closets brings up more great ideas - including a flip down board to give you some extra sewing space. Another picture shows an armoire/cabinet with a slide out TV shelf for a sewing machine. A lot of this takes a little creativity and some money, but not much (money that is!) In the end, having your own dedicated space can make the world of difference in helping you find time to sew.
If you have a small sewing space, what does it look like?