Enjoying the (Sewing) Moment


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The other day, I was ironing 45 freshly sewn seams and thinking “If I can just get through these, I’ll be onto the next step and I’ll enjoy that”.  Then, I realized that I’d probably be thinking the same thing during the next step…and during the next step.  Lately, I feel like I just want to get things checked off my to-do list, and I’m not enjoying the actual act of sewing.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating it either. I just have very little time to sew. When the kids are awake, I am with them, and when they are asleep, I am rushing to get projects done.

If someone asked me what I love about quilting, my immediate answer would be, “Because I love to sew, of course.”, but is that the real reason?  I started wondering what aspect of quilting draws me into it so obsessively.

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I think there are various reasons people love quilting:

  • They love designing the pattern and/or planning the fabrics.
  • They love sewing.
  • They love seeing the completed project.
  • They love gifting their work to other people.
  • They love the social aspect of sharing and looking at other’s work.

Now, I will say I love quilting for each and every one of those reasons, but the sewing part has been lacking lately.  I’m torn between slowing down to enjoy the moment and being productive and driven. My ultimate goal is to have a nice, little, home business established once the kids are in school.

What aspect of quilting drives you to continue to create?  Do you think there is a way to enjoy the moment while also being a prolific quilter and full-time mother?

15 thoughts on “Enjoying the (Sewing) Moment

  1. I get what you are saying. I know that I enjoy a project less if I have a deadline but I also get tired of things if they drag on and on. Mary Fons said something like, “it’s a myth that quilters are patient people” and I think she’s right. One thing that has helped me slow down a little is to take up needlework/cross-stitch because it really is about the process and not cranking out piece after piece – it’s such a slow and time consuming habit – meditative really – and it has made me think about how I need to enjoy quilting more and not just anticipate the satisfaction of ticking off items on a to-do list. One other thing that helps me is that I often do smaller projects alongside more time-consuming projects so that I have a break and don’t burnout.

  2. I’m not a quilter, but I can’t even imagine ironing that much! I did have a dress with what seemed like a million pleats to mark, fold, pin, and baste together all around the skirt. Sometimes I think to myself, “I am going to take my time to (mark/fold/pin/baste/iron) this right and when I have my finished garment, I can take pride in knowing that I didn’t just rush through this step to get it finished.” Taking that step back sometime helps me!

  3. The creative process…patterns, fabric, etc is high on the my list of ‘drivers.’ However, I do enjoy all the construction steps but not necessarily at the same time or all in one day. Often I sew by my mood…some days I honestly want to wash and iron fabric, another day will be a cutting day, there are sewing days. Pin basting is next to last with the machine quilting pulling up the rear. In answer to your last question…only if you have house help! 🙂

  4. I quilt because I cannot imagine not quilting. I love seeing a sketch become a finished quilt that will bless someone I love and be enjoyed for years. I love fabric, the graphic nature of this medium, the hum of my machine, the piecing, the quilting, and I adore hand stitching the binding! When my life is chaotic, it is so freeing for my hands to be busy which allows my mind to be quiet. It is stress relief and an opportunity to design and create; I didn’t even think I was a creative person until I started sewing 2 years ago. I don’t enjoy every part of the process (umm… Basting, anyone?) but if it the overall process ceases to delight and re-energize me then I know I need to take a break. That said, quilting is my hobby, passion, and sanctuary not my business. That gives me the luxury of being able to tackle only projects that excite me and I move at my own pace; sometimes frantically and sometimes a s ails pace. Wishing you peace and joy in your projects; keep up the beautiful work and thank you for sharing your passion and your struggles.

  5. I’ve been feeling the same way lately. I want to be able to sell some of my things and make a little money for my family, but with two little ones I barely get time to sew for fun, let alone finish my bee blocks and requests from family members that I have promised them. I love seeing the finished project and seeing all the pieces come together. And I love being able to give my things as gifts. I’ve been sewing for less than a year, but more than half of the thing’s I’ve made have been gifts. Hopefully my family will be satisfied a for a little and as my kids get older and can entertain themselves for more than 5 minutes at a time I will be able to slow down a little and enjoy it more.

  6. I think there is a way. Some people watch t.v. Or read when they have free time although it gives them nothing to show for their time. I enjoy sewing because its a productive way to spend my free time ; ) that’s what keeps me motivated too

  7. Cannot imagine NOT quilting. I love the complete process from choosing/designing patterns, material choices, cutting, sewing, basting and hand quilting/binding to finish the quilt. I even love to iron. Nothing makes me feel better than to walk into a fabric store and just touch the fabrics! When my quilt is finished, I give it to a friend/family member to say, “I love you”. I do have sympathy for quilters with a family and young children……it is hard to find time (let alone a wonderful quilting studio) to spend sewing. I didn’t become a dedicated quilter until my children were grown. One day all too soon, they will be grown and you will have time on your hands. Try to find ways to enjoy both times of your life…….quilting is the answer! Happy quilting!

  8. Oh man, I can totally relate to this recently. I work full time now and my husband and I just got married and don’t see much of each other, AND I bring a lot of work home (I’m a teacher), so having the strength to quilt every day, even just for 30 minutes, is hard. But I do it because I love it and it brings me so much happiness :). On days like today, though, I don’t want to do ANYTHING :p

  9. Good luck! I am a 51 full time paralegal with an only son out of state in seminary. My husband works shift work so normally I have a lot of time to quilt. It’s even hard for me to enjoy the process when I see all of these bloggers turn out finished quilts weekly. I not only wonder how they afford the fabric, I wonder how they mentally stage engaged in all aspects of their lives. My son’s home for the first time in two years (for longer than a week) and it’s hard to get motivated to quilt because I’d rather talk to him and play backgammon and bake and cook. I know “my time” will return when he leaves in August. Only you (and your husband) can work out a balance that works for YOU. It might take some hits and misses and you might end up in a totally different place than where you think you’re headed. Good luck!

  10. For me I enjoy the quilting part the most, but I have a long arm, so it is easier for me. I am not sure what to tell you on how to fit it all in. If you figure it out, please let me know because this is something I struggle with tremendously. I also want to get “a business of long arm quilting going”, but getting a chance to “practice” and learning the quirks of my machine is soo soo hard. Between working almost full time, spending time with the kids and husband, plus taking care of my home, sewing and quilting come last. If only I could add more hours in the day. But if you figure out a good schedule. You let me know. However, I wish you luck and hope you make it because then there is hope for me as well!!!

  11. I think we all year you! Finding time to sew with little ones at home isn’t easy but I only work 3 days per week so the other 2 days I can sew while I do laundry. Some days I sew too after they are asleep, depending on whether or not I nod off too. There isn’t something that I don’t love about quilting but after finishing all these deadline quilts this spring (8 of them), I’m looking forward to slowing down and doing some projects just for me.

  12. I didn’t learn how to sew until I was an adult (10 years ago) and learning new things sewing has always been like to magic to me. I love seeing my kids wearing things I made for them and I love seeing homemade things around my home. But I always make myself feel like I need to rush. I have considered taking a blog break to slow down. But I am not sure I can actually make something and not share it. Maybe I’ll just do Flickr for a while. I can’t decide.

  13. I have found that if I just sew for a few “unrushed” minutes at a time, it gives me immense pleasure. Sewing is not fun when I’m rushing and on a deadline. It’s even harder to balance sewing with business!

  14. I know exactly what you mean – sometimes I’m thinking, I must hurry to finish this so that I can blog about it..but that’s not the point of a blog? I wouldn’t be doing that if it was a personal journal. So now I’m trying to enjoy the process more, live in the moment and remember why I started quilting.

  15. I know exactly what you’re talking about, Janice, because I deal with that sort of moment all the time. Finding that balance between time with the kids and time for my sewing is tough, and it’s hard to get it right. I find myself enjoying one step of the sewing process (the design portion is usually my favorite) and then pushing through the rest to get to the next thing. One thing that has helped is that I’m becoming more selective about the projects I take on and the fabrics I work with. Making sure that I really love what I’m doing helps a lot.

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