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!