Selfcare and time management for quilters!

Selfcare and time management for quilters!

10th May 2024

Welcome back everyone!

Isn’t it a glorious spring? In Wisconsin we’ve been getting a mix of sun and rain. And the temperature’s still on a rollercoaster. But overall, everything feels on track … unlike our crazy (albeit mild) winter!

I hope YOU’RE getting outside and enjoying the weather. It’s important! Why? Because anyone, including quilters, who engages in a focused activity that involves intricate work needs to prioritize personal selfcare to maintain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing!

Yup! Whether you consider quilting a hobby or you make your living by longarm quilting, selfcare and time management factor into your levels of enjoyment and stamina … both in quilting and life in general.

(Oh, and once you’re feeling marvelous from your new insights into quilting selfcare, check out the Marvelous May Handi Quilter and APQS offers for the month. Just read to the end of this post!)

Okay, so let’s investigate some of the ways we can improve our quilting selfcare!

Selfcare Basics for Quilters

You’ve probably heard some of these suggestions before, and they may pertain to life in general, but following these basic tips can definitely improve your quilting wellbeing.

1. Invest in ergonomic supports

This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear someone mention quilting selfcare. Ensure that your workspace is designed to prevent stress and strain on your body!

  • Invest in a supportive, comfortable chair.
  • Position your tables and machines at the right height for you, minimizing back & neck strain.
  • Install flooring that provides cushioned support for your whole body.
  • Use tools that maximize best hand and wrist positioning.

2. Maintain a healthy posture

Pay attention to how you’re sitting or standing. Keep your shoulders relaxed, your back straight and your neck in a neutral position to avoid tension and strain.

3. Vary your quilting tasks

By varying your quilting tasks, you prevent monotony and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. For example, alternate between cutting, pressing and piecing, especially if you are working on a large project.

4. Take regular breaks

Work breaks into your quilting. This allows you to move, stretch and rest your eyes. Long periods of concentration can lead to stress, strain and even fatigue. Plan for short breaks at least every hour … allow yourself to relax and rejuvenate!

5. Get up and move

Along with taking breaks, incorporate regular exercise to counteract the sedentary nature of quilting. Build in some yoga or take a walk to help prevent stiffness and improve circulation. Add exercises targeting areas commonly affected by quilting like your wrists, neck, and back.

6. Practice eye care

In addition to giving your eyes periodic breaks, install adequate lighting to avoid strain. Also reduce any glare created by your lighting. And wear the appropriate eyewear.

If you’re on electronic devices for extended periods of time, consider using anti-glare screens or filters to protect your eyes.

Consider practicing the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away.

7. Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation

Stress-reduction techniques such as deep-breathing, meditation or mindfulness exercises promote relaxation and mental well-being. If you spend a lot of time quilting, you may also want to consider engaging in other activities that bring you joy and add variety.

8. Ensure quality sleep

Make sure you’re getting enough restorative sleep. Good quality sleep is essential to maintaining healthy physical and mental wellbeing. It also contributes to improved focus and creativity in your quilting.

9. Eat right & stay hydrated

A balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and whole grains supports your overall health and energy levels. Also, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased concentration, affecting the quality of your quilting.

10. Set boundaries & realistic goals

Avoid overcommitting yourself! Establish boundaries around your quilting work. Set realistic goals for each of your quilting sessions and be aware of your energy levels. This helps prevent burnout and allows you to enjoy the quilting process.

11. Establish community support

Connect with other quilters for support, advice and camaraderie. Join in-person and online quilting communities to share experiences, tips and encouragement!

12. Increase your quilting knowledge & skill level

Invest some time and money in professional development. Attending workshops, conferences, and classes will enhance your quilting skills and increase your personal growth and inspiration!

(Check the Classes page of our website to see Quilting Connection’s latest class offerings.)

13. Celebrate your achievements

Finally, celebrate your quilting achievements! Whether big or small, recognize your progress and your accomplishments! Take pride in the quilts you create!

Another aspect of selfcare is time management.

Time Management for Quilters

Whether you spend hours a day quilting, like when you run a longarm business, or simply quilt when you can, time management concepts are an important factor to your quilting wellbeing and enjoyment. Consider the following:

1. Plan ahead

Have a clear plan in place to help you work more efficiently. Start by clearing your workspace for a fresh start. Review your pattern and ensure that you have all the materials and tools you need. Take time to determine the techniques you’ll use, select your thread and batting, and plan your quilting design. Result? Reduced frustration and increased enjoyment!

2. Use a quilting schedule

Create a schedule or calendar for your quilting projects. This allows you to allocate time for each stage of the process (e.g., cutting, pressing, piecing, quilting). You may also include time for fabric preparation, design planning, machine setup and/or finishing touches.

When you break your project down into stages, you can focus on one task at a time and avoid feeling overwhelmed. You can also see the progress you’re making!

3. Prioritize your workload

When you’re juggling multiple quilting projects, prioritize your workload. Consider deadlines, material or machine availability, special requests and any other factors impacting project completion. Focus on the most urgent or time-sensitive projects first, then work down your list. This will help you meet your time commitments and stay organized with less stress.

4. Set realistic deadlines & goals

Establish realistic deadlines for each stage of your quilting projects. Consider the size and complexity of your quilting project. Factor in your quilting priorities and all your other commitments and deadlines. Setting achievable goals will help you stay on track and motivated!

5. Minimize distractions

Create a quiet and focused work environment. Minimize interruptions. Distraction-free time allows for more focused, efficient and productive quilting.

6. Batch similar tasks

When you have multiple projects going at once, try batching similar tasks together to streamline your workflow. For example, you could press or cut fabrics for multiple projects in one session or longarm multiple quilts one after the other. This can help you save time and minimize setup and cleanup between projects.

7. Establish a routine

Consider developing a quilting routine that works for you. Try dedicating specific days or times to quilting or, for those of you in business, designating certain days or times for administrative tasks. A consistent routine helps build momentum!

8. Automate administrative tasks & delegate non-critical tasks

If you’re running a longarm quilting business, try to streamline your administrative tasks by automating scheduling, invoicing, and customer communication. Likewise, delegate tasks like material preparation, setup and maintenance, etc. This frees up your time to focus on the creative aspects of quilting and the tasks that demand your expertise.

What do you think? Did you find a tip or two that could improve your quilting selfcare?

It’s all about taking care of yourself … and boosting your motivation and enjoyment in the process! That’s my wish for you!

And now, here are the Marvelous May specials I promised!

Handi Quilter May Special