“I Don’t Have Time…”

It can be tricky to find time for your hobby, especially when it involves another hobby (traveling). I asked the quilters in my quilt along group how they make time for sewing their National Parks patterns. Some use EPP, some FPP. You will be inspired! What I do is at the bottom. Do you have any tips? Post them in the comments! It will help other quilters!!
Kate – For my EPP pieces, I prep 2 or three and then sew them while watching TV
Hannah – I like to cut out and plan colors while watching TV or hanging out with my family in the livingroom! Sometimes I plan multiple blocks at a time that way. Then I pull out the fabric and set the patterns on the little stack of fabric (always try to look in my scrap bin first too)! I often sew during Zoom meetings lately but before that, mostly just on weekends or school breaks!
Elizabeth – I hand-sew while listening to lectures / movies / podcasts on my laptop. I have done some pre-prepping of blocks while traveling, but for really complicated blocks with little pieces I may start piecing blocks before I finish cutting them out. For the maple leaf, for example, I cut out and pieced one section at a time.
LiAnn – I’m retired, so I sew almost every day. It keeps me from getting bored. I do EPP. Usually, I sew in the late afternoon. I also sew when I travel. When I travel, I will precut my fabric for several squares and place it in baggies. Otherwise, I usually only work on one square at a time and now, my temperature quilt, as well.
Caty – This has been a quarantine project for me. I am still able to work during the week, so I mostly sew on the weekends at home (I do FPP). I mostly sew between 9-5, but if I get on a roll, I have gone later! I’ll usually print out a few blocks at a time and color them with an idea of what colors I want (based on looking at others’ blocks and also actual photos of the park). I have all my fabrics laid out by color in my basement, so I’ll choose the exact colors right before I sew the block.
Susan – I am working on blocks for my 3rd National Park Quilt. First I printed out the patterns for all of the squares I plan to use. I recently retired and am staying safe at home all day so I can sew whenever I want but I like to piece when I am not tired so I usually do them between 9AM and 5PM. I refer to the color pictures on the FionaSandwich site or actual photos of the parks to choose fabrics and then I write the colors or fabrics chosen on the actual pattern pieces so I don’t get mixed up. I like to completely sew all the different lettered pieces for a square and then assemble them. After removing the paper, I use a rotary cutter to trim them to the exact size so they are ready to assemble. I usually do 1 large or 2 small squares each day. Rushing or working tired are counterproductive as it only leads to ripping out and sewing again.
Rachael – I have a few projects going on at once. It might be chaotic for some people, but I get bored easily. I prep several blocks, which means that I have the fabric pulled, and sub cut. I put the pattern and fabric in a 4×6″ plastic bag (the kind used for jewelry – they are a bit sturdier than sandwich bags), and store for later.I have quilt projects in plastic boxes (so I can see what is inside). I like to bounce between projects.I EPP primarily. I found it was far more portable than FPP. My kids were a bit younger when I discovered EPP, and I wanted to be outside with them while they played in the cul-de-sac; EPP allowed me to do that. I was able to take it on trips, etc. I discovered that it was so relaxing. I EPP in the evenings while watching TV…it keeps me from mindlessly scrolling through social media.
Be sure you have a good light! It will make all the difference! For FPP, you could easily do the same thing. If you travel off grid, perhaps a hand crank sewing machine would be good for you! If you are primarily stationary, a standard machine might be a good set up! If you work full time, set up your machine and have it out (perhaps even in a corner, or in a closet) so you can sew if you have just a few minutes. You can make time!

2 thoughts on ““I Don’t Have Time…”

  1. AnnA says:

    I’m a National Park junkie, love to sew and have wanted to learn to quilt. I ordered a few blocks to start. However, after watching three EPP videos so far, I haven’t seen out how you get rid of the paper when you are done with the blocks. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Rachael says:

      Hi Ann!I can’t wait to see your blocks!!!
      Removing papers is a great question. There are 2 options: decide if you want to sew your blocks together by EPP, or by machine. If you want to join by hand, you’ll need to wait until all 4 sides are joined, so you have something to stabilize. If you want to join by machine, you can remove them after you press and trim! This is the method I prefer. I also like to starch my blocks after I trim (this means I press again), so the block is stiff and stabilized. If you remove the papers while the block is hot or warm, the glue releases and the papers are easier to take out.
      Regardless of the method (this even pertains to FPP), I don’t worry about removing all the papers. If 90% are out, I’m happy. Sometimes with the little pieces, the paper and glue really like to stick! They will eventually dissolve.
      Please let me know what other questions you have!

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