Do you struggle with finding time to sew? Does it seem like time slips away before you can even begin a project. Today, I’m continuing my series on Finding the Time to Sew.
Please welcome my very sweet quilting friend Stephanie Palmer (aka Late Night Quilter) and find out how Stephanie Finds the Time to Sew. Below is an interview I did with Stephanie. But first, a little info on my friend.
Last year at QuiltCon I met Kitty who briefly introduced me to fellow Austin-ite Stephanie from Late Night Quilter. Soon after, I began following Stephanie’s blog and realized that she is an amazing quilt designer who also does long arm quilting. When I needed a quilt top quilted I reached out to Stephanie and a friendship was born!
You may particularly remember Stephanie from a recent blog post where I was giving away a Quilter’s Planner which Stephanie created!
Stephanie is definitely a rising star in the quilting world and I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her.
Note: My interview with Stephanie was done through a series of questions. I’ve listed the questions in bold and Stephanie’s responses below.
1. How long have you been sewing? Is there any particular reason why you started sewing?
I’ve been sewing for 3.5 years. I began sewing as a response to what I think was a nesting phase during my pregnancy with my fourth child. I was perusing Pinterest, looking for nursery décor, and although I didn’t follow any boards with quilts, a photo of a quilt in bright aqua, pink and red popped up and it stopped me in my tracks. Something in me just knew that if I made a quilt like that, all those nesting urges would be satisfied.
That inexplicable creative burst of energy was so powerful that it shoved me through the doors of a fabric store. It forced me to buy a quilting magazine and an armful of fat quarters (I had no idea that’s what they were called at the time). I strolled quickly through the isles of Hancock fabric, pushing my sleeping two year old in a stroller, confused and desperate to pick colors that lit up the pleasure center of my brain before my toddler woke up. I had no idea how many I needed, or what I would do with them
That night at midnight, I attacked the fabric with a dull pair of scissors. The next day my quilting friend Brenda came over and handed me a rotary cutter and mat, and shortly after, my first patchwork quilt was born. Exactly three months before my baby Emerson.
Here’s my first finished quilt (and the finished baby).
2. What types of sewing projects bring you the most joy and why?
I love to free-motion quilt on my longarm. I have a HandiQuilter Avante. I love the freedom to quilt a range of designs, and I love the freedom to be perfectly imperfect.
3. How do you make time each week to work on these projects?
I’m a big believer proactively planning time to sew. After talking to my friends about it, I figured out that I’m not the only one struggling to maintain this balance between the need to create, and our personal and work lives. I developed the ultimate planner (The Quilter’s Planner) this past year to help me plan my sewing projects better, and the time I spend with sewing, work and family obligations.
I like to choose 1-2 large sewing goals per month to focus on completing (i.e. write one pattern, or finish one quilt). I write it on my monthly calendar so I can see it often and be reminded of my focus. Sometimes it’s hard to narrow it to 1-2 goals; it feels like I should be doing so much more. However, I’ve found that I really cannot focus on more than 2 big projects at a time. If I do focus on too many things, everything tends to fall apart.
I also like to break my sewing projects down into smaller steps, and I make daily lists of the steps that I can check off in my planner. It feels great at the end of the night to be able to check off a few things before going to bed.
4. What things in life are currently inspiring creativity in your sewing projects?
I’ve been really inspired by all of those beautiful coloring books that are in all the stores right now. I love the whimsical nature of so many of them. I can see the influence these books are having on my quilting – I’ve been doing a lot more micro quilting. Pretty, fun, tiny little quilting designs that fill up negative space and give everything more personality.
5. If you sew as a business, how do you find time and energy to sew for yourself as a creative outlet?
For me, the sewing I do as a business also fulfills my creative outlet. With that said, I often will put a blank piece of fabric on my longarm, put some music on, and just play and practice new designs. This is relaxing and re-energizing to me. There is no pressure in doing this, and I never feel like it’s a waste of time because I’m often mentally preparing to work on the next quilt while I’m doing it. It’s all a part of my process.
6. How does this stage of life help or hinder your ability to find time to sew?
This is a really challenging time in my life to make time for my work. I have four young children at home, eight and under. So that is why so much of my work and sewing time is at night. I have found that I cannot just leave the kids to their own devices, and just sneak upstairs and sew. That really doesn’t work for my family. When they’re awake, they need and want my attention.
When my youngest child begins preschool, I look forward to doing some more daytime sewing. Imagine! Sewing in daylight!! I don’t know what I’ll do with myself.
6.What tips can you offer to other sewists who want to find time in their lives to sew as a creative expression?
Schedule it in! Try using an old-fashioned paper planner. There’s just something about putting a pen to paper that makes us all a little more accountable when we write it down. It’s somehow a bigger commitment to ourselves.
Schedule just 20 minutes a day to do a little sewing. You can make surprising headway on a project just 20 minutes at a time.
7. Anything else: A personal story about sewing, where you buy fabrics, or your best sewing tip.
My best quilting tip: For quilters, you can draw out your quilting designs and preview them on your quilt by using Quilter’s Preview Paper. It’s like a cellophane that comes on a roll, but it’s a little thicker, and it has a black line printed on the edges so you can tell where the preview paper ends and you don’t accidently write on your quilt. Use a sharpie on the translucent paper, and wipe off the sharpie using a little alcohol on scrap batting.
8. Please list the ways readers can find you online.
Email: [email protected]
To purchase a Quilter’s Planner, visit Fat Quarter Shop
Thank you, Stephanie, again for sharing your talent and passion for quilting with all of us!