I'll say up front that I have the freedom at this stage of my life to walk in the door after work and spend an hour sewing before I even think about what I might do about dinner. And weekends often allow for me to squeeze some sewing in around chores and errands and such. That all certainly helps. But personal timing aside, here's some things that I think help me walk right into the studio and pick up where I left off.
- Make your space inviting - Favorite mini quilts are hanging in my space, which encourage the spirit of creating. My pressing surface is covered in a bright cheerful fabric I love. And the basic tools I'll use are easily accessible.
- Tidy counts - I keep my space relatively uncluttered, as that's the way I work best. Also everything has a home, so I don't need to spend alot of time searching for what I need. Each session when I'm done, I take just a moment to slip my tools back in their assigned places, put away fabrics I won't be using, and toss scraps in their basket.
- Keep what you use on hand - If I run low on interfacing, a basic thread color, or machine needles, I replace as soon as possible, so the next time I need it, it's there waiting for me.
- Use a design wall - This isn't always possibility, but if it is, do it. Leave your current w.i.p. where you can see it and pick up where you left off. Just seeing it there will help draw you in, enticing you to get back at it.
- Don't ever think, "I don't have enough time." Maybe "I don't have all day," but see what you can squeeze in. Even 10 minutes is enough time to trim a few more blocks, press a handful of seams, or gather some fabric from your stash so it's ready to go. Each step - every few minutes - is progress, and it really does add up. I've been known to do a sort of "trade-off"....do a chore, run and sew for a few minutes, do the next chore, back to the machine.... a bit hectic sometimes, but a way to balance what you need to do with what you want to do.
- Save something for t.v. time - In other words, whenever you have just a short time to sew, accomplish as much as you can in that time. Save the handwork, major seam-ripping, etc. for sitting on the couch or riding in the car. Ie. when you aren't near your machine and cutting table.
- Keep a list - Know what you want to accomplish in the upcoming weeks. That way it's easy to remember to squeeze a bee block in here or making a binding in there, and feel like you're moving forward. Another trick I use, if I'm following a pattern, is to complete one step per sewing session. Whether that's all the time I have right then, or I'm just setting it aside to do something else, it's progress without the overwhelm. [Note that being an active blogger helps motive me to keep producing. If that's not you, maybe you could make a goal to post project progress twice a week on Instagram, or whatever works to help you keep creating while staying connected with the sewing community.]
- Multi-task - Noone ever said you could only work on one project at a time, and I for one function better/accomplish more if I have several things in the works. So if I don't feel like basting a quilt, I may feel like piecing. Or if it's too hot to press seams open, it might be a good time to pull fabrics.
- Save the hard stuff - What I mean is tackle more complicated details when you have time to really focus. You won't usually find me basting a quilt or installing bag hardware on a work night when my stamina may already be low. But that may be the first thing I attack on a weekend morning before the day's commitments begin, and yes, sometimes I even schedule it in on my personal calendar.
- Take time to play - Oh yeah. The best motivation I know is to ignore the list, set the w.i.p.s aside and do something that just popped into my head and I'm itching to try. That's exactly how the Postcard Quilt came to be. And A Step Towards Home. Yes, and most recently, Crosscut. That's some of my very favorite kind of sewing. Let's not forget to sometimes just do what we love.
So that's what came to my mind right now. I (and my friend) would love to hear what works for you, so please feel free to share in the comments!