During the school year – and especially during the school week! – I find that dedicated stitching time on big embroidery projects isn’t always a possibility. This is when I revert to my “15 Minute Stitching Philosophy” (if you want to call it a philosophy!). The gist of it is this: during the work week, if I can grab 15 minutes here or there to stitch, that’s a good thing! I find that if I plan to grab 15 minutes before I head out the door in the morning, then I actually get more done before going to work and might even get in more than 15 minutes of stitching, because I used that 15 minute stitching possibility as a carrot. I do the same thing on lunch breaks and longer breaks between classes – as long as I get done what I need to get done, then I can squeeze in a little bit of time stitching.
And those little bits of time add up! For these types of projects, I don’t always embroider on things that I’m featuring regularly on the website. The work I put into website features is usually a little more intensive and requires photography and note-taking along the way. Short bursts of stitching don’t quite work for that. Instead, I work on things I can stitch on quickly, without interruption for the camera – projects I can pick up, drop some stitches on, and put down again without any preparation.
My current 15 Minute Embroidery Project is this:
This is a miniature Cluny Tapestry look-alike, from MicroStitchery. It is a counted thread project, on 40 count silk gauze, worked in DMC stranded cotton. I’ve mounted the silk gauze on muslin, and then cut away the muslin and mounted the whole piece to an Evertite stretcher bar frame. The threads, of course, are all color-coded according to the charted design, and I’ve got them hanging on thread drops, ready to go whenever I get a chance to do some stitching.
Update, 2018: While MicroStitchery is still online, they are no longer honoring orders. I have heard from many folks who have placed orders with them, but have never received the orders and had to apply to PayPal for a refund. I’ve tried to contact Joy, the lady who took over the business, but with no luck. Just a word of caution, for those looking for miniature tapestries!
The project is itsy-bitsy, but not as itsy-bitsy as some miniature work – after all, this is only on 40 count gauze…. it could be 72… or 118! Hahahahaha!!!
40 count silk gauze is slow enough going. The photo above shows about a 1.25″ x 2.25″ strip of finished stitching, and I’ve probably got about 15 hours of stitching in that little area – maybe even more. All of those hours, total, were snatched from the day in small bits of time.
Right now, you can see that I have several threads going – they’re hanging off the photo to the left and to the top. At some points, I’ve had as many as 8 threads in different colors going at a time. It’s a complex little project, but easy enough to add a goodly little chunk of stitches in a 15 or 20 minute session. Well, “chunk” is a relative term!
I like to have a project like this going. And it’s satisfying to see it develop, even if it is just in little increments.
But the Weekend!! Ahhh – the Weekend!! When all goes well on the weekend, I can devote more time to other projects! Again, it’s the carrot notion – “If I do this and get it done, then I will spend this much time working on that project this afternoon.” This morning, it’s “If I get laundry and housework done, and write up next week’s lecture notes for an education class, then I will spend a couple hours in the workroom on the wool Pomegranate design.”
For me, the great thing about having a good hobby is the fact that it serves as a source of motivation to get things done! And when I get things done, there’s nothing better than to finally dedicate a larger span of time to stitching without major things hanging over my head.
What about you? Do you use needlework as a carrot? Does it help you focus and stay organized on other things, so that you can really enjoy your stitching time? Do you grab bits of time during the day to stitch, or do you need to stitch in larger spans of time? How do you organize your stitching time? Feel free to leave a comment and share your approach – it may help the rest of us get into a better routine!
Have a terrific Saturday!