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4 ways to work quilting into your busy lifestyle

by Carla A. Canonico

Hi! I’m Carla, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of QUILTsocial, KNITmuch and A Needle Pulling Thread magazines; I usually don’t write for QUILTsocial rather I navigate this blog and its waves of quilting fun, techniques and projects for your quilting pleasure. In editing all the posts for publication you can imagine the amount of quilting that I’ve learned just by reading about it.

The funny thing about loving the needle arts is that I eventually got pulled into the whirlpool of inspiration and so over the years, started to collect fabric, yarn, thread, patterns, I couldn’t live without.

Here’s just a few yards from my stash of all fabric collected over 10 years.

Here’s just a few yards from my stash of all fabric collected over 10 years.

Needless to say I have little time to include quilting as a daily activity, between managing the content for 3 magazines, taking care of my family, and my knitting addiction, is there any room for anything else? This is what prompted me to write this post, there are ways to include quilting in a busy lifestyle.

The first thing to consider is teaming up with another person who is crazy about quilting. This will keep you on track and the work is divided, particularly assigning the tasks to whoever is best at it. You can team up with even two other quilters, to share the load and the love.

Let me share with you, we lost dad quite suddenly in May 2015. It was a difficult loss for me to speak of, process and accept. Six months after dad passed away, mom was diagnosed with cancer and long story short, two operations and five months after that, the doctor gave mom a clean bill of health. It was scary to almost lose mom too and let’s not forget, I’m still publishing the magazines, and watching over the blogs. Thankfully, there’s hubby who is a huge help.

Fortunately, mom is still very independent and with more hobbies than most 80 year olds can speak of. She keeps herself busy every day, but despite this, there’s still a gaping hole where dad used to be.

Although mom is frequently over for dinners and family-get-togethers, it came to me to ‘sweeten her week’ by sewing quilts together every Sunday afternoon, come rain or come shine. If there’s something immovable on Sunday afternoon (heaven forbid!) we’ll move our quilting rendezvous to the Saturday afternoon. The key words here are ‘quilting once a week’. This takes care of the issue about ‘how does one engage in a needlework hobby when one is overwhelmed with work and life.’ We aren’t participating in a race to finish x amount of quilts per x weeks. So plan the routine that is right for you and your team, it’ll be easier to stick to than to be unrealistic and feel pressured, at that point it won’t feel good. This is strictly to feed the soul, like going to church.

This being established, we were already on our way. Mom has been sewing clothes since she was 16, hand-sewing and machine sewing. She has had a sewing room forever, which makes it easy to start and stop and leave the premises when the time is up. This makes it very easy to jump right in at the next rendezvous. She has made 4 quilts already (thank you Luigina Baratto for teaching mom) and I have a lot of quilting fabric to start with. What’s the hold up? Absolutely none!

Mom has been sewing for decades, this is sewing our first quilt together for Sunday QUILTing.

Mom has been sewing for decades, this is sewing our first quilt together for Sunday Quilting.

The most precious part of this new quilting journey is not only to spend time together, but also to make something beautiful that will commemorate these afternoons while we’re here on earth, and perhaps at the same time fill a little of the gap that dad has left behind.

On our first day, we auditioned the set of fabric for our first quilt. I bought this exquisite fabric about 4 years ago and I’ve been drooling over it for too long. It has been inconceivable to me to cut fabric whose print I was madly in love with. I mean look at it, it’s got my favorite elements: knitting and friendly reminders about gauge and knitting terminologies, and what about those sheep… knitting along? I’ve dreamed about making this quilt and using it on those cool nights – while – I – knit! Life is sweet.

It figures my first quilt has to be knitting related. Yup, LOVE the fabric.

It figures my first quilt has to be knitting related. Yup, LOVE the fabric.

I've loved this fabric forever, I'm considering a few options to keep the most of the pattern on one block or strip.

I’ve loved this fabric forever, I’m considering a few options to keep the most of the pattern on one block or strip.

So back to reality, one thing for sure is I don’t want to cut the fabric in small pieces so I measured the pattern repeat, and I won’t cut it any smaller. This brings me to the last tip about including quilting in a busy lifestyle – keep the pattern simple. Use bigger blocks, use stripes this will get you to the finish line quicker than if there are a billion fabric pieces to piece together. If you want to finish a quilt quickly, to get gratification sooner…, keep the more intricate quilt patterns for another time in your life when you have ample time to delve into those smaller pieces of fabric.

Join me next week when I play with placement of this stunning knitting patterned fabric.

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2:  When to keep quilt blocks large

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Patrizia Greco June 14, 2016 - 2:50 pm

This is a great way to spend time with your Mom and to express your creativity as well!

Carla A. Canonico June 14, 2016 - 11:10 pm

Absolutely, a very special time, since at 80 you can never be too sure about how much time we have together! Thank you for visiting QUILTsocial and Sunday QUILTing!!

Giselle DaMota June 14, 2016 - 10:31 am

Love this post. Glad you are able to spend regular time with your mom.

Carla A. Canonico June 14, 2016 - 11:12 pm

I’m very lucky she lives close by, she’s still independent and in good health, although she just went through a bout of cancer November 2015 – March 2016. Hence the urgency of quilting together, those quilts will be great heirlooms. Thank you for following QUILTsocial and Sunday QUILTing!

Diane Hicks June 9, 2016 - 1:34 pm

Wonderful post. Thanks for the great tips.

Paul Leger June 7, 2016 - 10:40 am

That is so sweet that come rain or shine you spend your Sunday afternoons with your mother, cherish the moments.

John De Fusco June 7, 2016 - 12:50 pm

You bet!


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