Making Time

A few days ago I sat down and figured out how much sewing time I have now that my husband is on a different shift.  Before his job changed I sewed usually an average of 22 hours a week. Now I’m averaging about 10 hours a week or so. That is a big surprise to me – I didn’t realize my sewing time had been cut in half.   On weeks I’ve got quilt guild meetings during the weekend I probably get about 5 hours of sewing done a week.

I got a little depressed and then I started to think about how I can use my time efficiently.

  1. Have dinner ready before he gets home. I’ve been using my crockpot a lot lately and I’ve also been roasting whole hens in my cast iron skillet when I don’t have something to go into the crockpot. I’m the type of person that will skip dinner if I’m in the middle of a craft project but he is not. Taking care of that gets him out of my hair and I don’t have to worry about going out to dinner because that takes 2+ hours out of my night when we do.
    1. Crockpot bonus – I usually get lunch for the next day via leftovers.
  2. Have project ready for next time I walk into my studio. Seems simple enough but I often neglect to clean up or get things organized for myself and end up wasting time without working on an actual project.  Something as simple as winding a bobbin or threading my sewing machine for the next day can get me on task quicker when I come home from work.  Last night it was nice to walk in and find my stabilizer already cut and hooped for me to stitch out some shamrocks. Five minutes of prep time can help me get on task faster.
  3. Block out time each week and designate project(s). I need to do this more. I do it in my head but I think it would help me to get stuff down on paper because I forget little things.  This week on the list:
    1. quilting Rainbow Insomnia’s center star
    2. test using embroidery machine to quilt corner blocks and triangles in Rainbow Insomnia
    3. pulling fabrics for commission and finalizing design in EQ7
    4. come up with a last minute St. Pats silly hat for guild contest
    5. Prepare supplies and fabrics for Karen Kay Buckley machine applique workshop I’m taking on Sunday
    6. Get everything ready for KKB visit to guild  
  4. Fit in 15-30 minutes of sewing before work. This has been hard. I’ve done it a few times and yes I do feel like my day ends up being more productive but it is such a hard habit to start. I kind of feel like if I can’t be in my studio for an hour+ it isn’t worth bothering. How many projects could I have made progress on just by fitting in an extra 15-30 minutes per day?
  5. Focus. I’ll be the first to admit – my embroidery machine has been distracting me. I have a stack of UFOs that I’m trying to make progress on but I keep getting pulled in to new embroidery projects! At least I’m developing new skills along the way right?

So after this crazy weekend with all the quilt guild stuff I’m cleaning and refocusing my studio. Rainbow Insomnia will be quilted when I’m not working on my doggie quilt commission. I need to cut block fabrics for the large quilt and see if I picked out enough charms for the snowball blocks.

Here is my latest embroidery distraction:

I found a free shamrock applique pattern and I’m using it to make a cute stuffed shamrock to decorate my hat for a guild contest. I had some water soluable stabilizer left and decided to use it up and see how my reversible shamrocks would turn out.  These novelty fabrics were given to me last year by my secret pal so I’m happy they’re finally getting some use!


  1. I know how you feel. Last year my husband was on swings for 8 months, I got some 20+ hours a week in sewing after work. Then for the past 3 months he has been on days, the same shift I work. Well I don’t even think I have sewn 20 hours yet this year, and today is already March! Pathetic I tell ya, just pathetic. So when he asked which shift he should put in for starting in April, I almost screamed Swings at the top of my lungs!!! Then had to think quick of good reasons for him why. It worked!!! I have two more weeks, then he leaves for 2 weeks. When he gets back he will be on the super sewing shift, at least that is what I call it. I can’t wait. I will have to dust when I see my sewing room again. 😀 Maybe I can get some dusting done in there today ( I am done with my chores) so in 2 weeks I can just sit and sew.

  2. I do the bulk of my sewing on my days off which are Thursday Friday, my partner ( we’re not married and have been together 30 years, what do I call him) anyway, he has weekends off so I need my days off separate if i had to have the same days off as hom i think i would kill him eventually:)
    I also take advantage of the hour that I get home before him to get some sewing time in. Also it’s weird but on work days I struggle to get out of bed but days off I happily get up early, like 5 and have a good long sewing session with coffee in hand:-)
    Have you tried the aurifill monofilament thread yet?

    • My friend in that situation calls her partner her “husfriend” – I think it’s so cute.

      It’s really difficult having the same days off! I don’t know how folks with husbands and kids do it.

      I loooooooooove the monofiliment! Once my piece is quilted I’m going to do one big blog post about the threads used and talk about each one. I want to do it justice. Also using the monofiliment in my Karen Kay Buckley machine applique workshop this weekend! I’m looking forward to that.

  3. carol c says:

    My DH lost his job and his parttime job due to age, I went from having 14 hour day doing what I wanted to zero time to sew or anything else. I am now staying up late
    or getting up around 7:30 and he gets up at 10am, and I get a LITTle bit done, started that this week. So now that he is out of the workforce and there are sooo
    many things he has put off for 35 yrs, he should be out there-but not-underfoot!
    Best of luck

  4. How well I know the ups and downs of shift work. I know it is a big adjustment.

  5. Katie,
    As you know, I am temporarily assigned out of town for 3 months and I brought my sewing maching with me. I have completed more quilts (five) in the past two months than I have in the last six because I come “home” to an empty room every night with nothing to do but sew! I know when I go back to Virginia at the end of the month that I will not have the time I have now due to ” marital” demands…..and my husband wonders why I am always encouraging him to go play golf!

  6. Sorry….”sewing machine”…..not “sewing maching”…..

  7. Ladies, I totally feel your pains! My fiance/ husfriend has a painting business and since we’re in the Northeast that means mostly no work in December/January. Do I need to say how much I’m looking forward to April when the striper fishing season starts?? And He’s just a happy camper that I encourage him to go fishing :)) He thinks I’m the best 😀 Katie, I will definitely use your advice hoe to make time. I agree on the fact that it’s hard to start working on something when you know you won’t be able to finish it, just hate the thought of it!

  8. barbara grabowski says:

    sorry Katie this is not about quilting. you mentioned a card game that you and your friends enjoyed. i can’t find that section of your webb now i have been going around and around. i am visiting my grandchildren for a few days and would like to get the card game for us to play. you said it was like UNO on steriods. thanks barbara

  9. Kim in Michigan says:

    Same here with the time thing, Hubby was off work for the last 4 months for a knee replacement, I swear, my sewing machine was missing me!
    finally back to work, and 12 hour shifts! I make dinner and, lunch for the next day. The crock pot has always been on the
    “New quilters list of supplies” ! lol
    Mexican Chicken – 3 ingredient
    5 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts on bottom of crock
    1 pkg of Taco seasoning
    1 Jar of Salsa
    This shreds up nicely for tacos, burritos, and casadias, which are my grandkids favorite!
    Crock on low for about 5 hours. It freezes really well too!

    Optional Items to add:
    1 small can slices black olives
    1 can cream of mushroom or whatever you have on hand
    (you can’t taste it, so it really doesn’t matter)
    This will make a “gravy” with previous ingredients..serve over rice..