Hello lovely friends
Today I thought I would share how I make time for my Slow stitching. Like many, I am a busy mum and wear many hats! Aside from my business The Maker’s Stash, I have my new business partnership Blue Mountains Makers, and up until the birth of baby Leo, I was working full time as an interior designer. Add to that keeping up with my beautiful, but let us be honest, needy children, never-ending washing, housework, and trying to tame my wild weed-infested garden, it is a miracle I find time to sew at all really! If this sounds like you, do not worry there is still a way to make time to sew.
First, my number one tip is: Do not feel guilty!
Do not feel guilty about stopping to make time to sew. If you are like me, sewing is one of your main forms of self-care. It is my therapy when I am having a crappy week and the kids are driving me nuts. It is how I unwind after a day at work and it is my reward for doing household chores. It is imperative to my mental health to make time to sew. So, do not ever feel guilty about your slow stitching time.
My second tip is to have a permanent slow stitching station, with your current project (or let us be realistic, projects) at the ready and all the tools you need.
In the corner of our living room sits my sewing nook. It consists of a small desk, comfy chair, and an IKEA cart where I store my projects and other things. Above my desk is a shelf decorated with fairy lights and pretty bits that help to make it cozy.
Having my sewing nook in our living is great because it means I can sit and sew while watching my kids play and I can interact with them and my husband. Whether I sit down for 10 minutes or an hour, having everything ready means I can make the most of the time I have to stitch.
Your sewing station could be a table set up next to a lounge chair, a section of your dining room, or the end of the kitchen bench. It does not need to be large or extravagant. It just needs to be comfortable, have good lighting and space to store your sewing bits.
Tip number three is: embrace interruption!
Now I must admit I am still working on this one! There was a time not so very long ago where I would get annoyed or frustrated by any kind of interruption to my sewing and from anyone, particularly my kids. Then I would feel guilty about getting annoyed and then I would feel guilty about not spending valuable time with them and spending that time on myself and my sewing. I mean they are only little for a blink of the eye. I would feel bad that I did not want to play with them and that I wanted to sew instead.
It has taken me a long time to come to the realization that I should not feel guilty about the things that make me, well ‘me’ and that stitching is a big part of who I am. So, I have been working on taking the time I need to sew to stay sane whilst embracing the little interruptions from my children. If I sew for 10 minutes, then I can interact or play with my kids for 20 minutes and then go back to my sewing. Point number two will help with this. Having my projects set up at my cozy sewing nook in our living room means I can easily pick up and set down what I am doing when my kids need me.
If 2020 has taught me anything, it is to embrace the little moments of light and joy in your life. If that’s 20 minutes of sewing while listening to your 7-month-old giggle at his big sisters’ silly antics or being asked a million times for food because someone is hungry, then ok. Baby giggles are pure heart-filling joy, and the kitchen cupboard is only a few steps away (and has yummy chocolate treats!). Embrace the interruption because it is the little moments that can bring you light and love.
Tip number four is: involvement.
Now, this is more for those mum sewers out there with kids like me. I do not do ‘play’ very well. To be honest I find playing with my kids tedious and boring. But my daughter loves to do craft so that is our special thing and when we get to spend time together.
Tonight, as I sat down to sew, Matilda came up to me and wanted to sit in my lap. Now previously as mentioned above I would have gotten incredibly annoyed at this, but with my newfound calm and willingness to embrace interruption, I pushed out my chair so she could sit in my lap. With my arms around her and our heads nestled together side by side, we sat together while I stitched in front of her watching a craft podcast. We talked about what I was doing, I explained what I was sewing and my plans for the design. She asked if she could learn to do it one day, and I said if you practiced your stitching when you are a bit older, I would absolutely teach her. And isn’t that what it is all about? Isn’t that why we do this craft, to keep this old sewing technique and tradition alive? To be able to hand it down to future generations.
It was a beautiful moment sitting with Matilda in my lap and sewing. And while it was awkward and my stitches may have ended up a bit wonky, my heart was filled with love and joy.
Now obviously this is all going to depend on how old your kids are. I would not sit Leo in my lap with a needle in my hand because he wants to grab anything and everything. But if there is a safe way that you can involve your kids in your craft, then I urge you to do it. Matilda loves to sift through and pick out her favorite Hexies from my 1” basted tub. By sharing our love and joy for our craft with our kids, they will learn to see how special and important our craft is to us, and it will inspire them to pick an activity of their own and learn how to focus on it.
My last tip sounds simple but is probably the hardest to implement just make the time!
Find a time in your day where you are just not going to let anything else get in the way of your sewing. Now that could be half an hour in the morning before everyone else gets out of bed, it could be on your daily train commute to work or while you sit in the stands while your kid plays soccer. The wonderful thing about slow stitching and EPP is its portability and the fact that you can literally do it almost anywhere.
For me, my stitching time was always at night. Before kids, I would get home from work, shower, cook dinner, clean up, and then it was my sewing time. I would sit and sew for two, three, sometimes even four hours while watching TV or craft podcasts. Now with kids, my sewing time is still at night, I just have to wait until I have put them to bed. Nap time is usually when I get to sew in my studio, so I save particular sewing tasks for then, such as cutting fabric or machine sewing. I am also not ashamed to say that I have an in-house babysitter…the TV! If I want to steal myself some daytime sewing, I will plonk the kids down and put on the wiggles or paw patrol and indulge in some self-care sewing.
I hope you have found some of these tips useful. Remember slow stitching is your passion, it is what helps to keep that twinkly light inside you shineing brightly. Make time to sew and do not feel guilty about it. Remember that what you want to do, that whatever helps you get through the day is important. If that is sewing, then embrace it!
Happy Stitching Friends,
Miss Leela x