How do you free up more time to stitch? The answer is organisation - organising your daily schedule as well as yourself and your stitching materials to achieve the maximum amount of free time to spend on your favourite hobby of stitching.
In an ideal world a keen stitcher would have the luxury of a sewing room with lots of space to organise materials, thread and all the necessary bits and bobs needed to stitch marvellous works of art, making it much easier to disappear to stitch whenever the opportunity arose. However, most of us do not live in an ideal world but we can, nevertheless, create our own organised stitching environment!
Much time will be saved by storing your stitching essentials neatly, that is keeping thread sorted and neatly stored, material neatly folded and labelled so you know at a glance exactly what is where. Most craft shops will be able to supply storage drawers and boxes, however, it is relatively easy to design your own as you know the space available for you to keep your stitching essentials in good order. Small plastic containers are ideal for storing needles etc and if you cannot resist a bargain and tend to bulk buy material, large plastic boxes are excellent for this purpose. Just remember to write a list of all the material in that box, stick it to the outside of the box and lots of time will be saved when you are ready to use it.
If space is really limited, it is advisable to assess the requirements of each piece of cross stitch and just keep the items needed for the piece you are working on in a handy spot so when time is available you are not wasting precious minutes searching for a particular colour or needle. Of course, it is essential to remember that the stitching you are currently working on must be kept scrupulously clean so it makes sense to keep material handy to cover the work between stitching sessions. If you are lucky enough to possess a stand-up frame, a single bed sheet will more than cover this and if you are working using a small, handheld frame, it is suggested you make yourself a "cover-up" sheet from maybe an old bedsheet or something similar, to avoid any accidents in between stitching. Imagine you have achieved your aim in setting up your stitching in a convenient place in your home and whilst snatching a few spare stitching minutes, you are interrupted and do not cover your work, only to return to it to find perhaps one of the children has dropped some sticky juice on it, or if you have a pet, maybe your cat has appeared through the cat flap complete with mucky paws, presenting you with an assortment of muddy patterns around your home and masterpiece!
Some people find it very helpful to set themselves a goal and sort out a stitching schedule but, at the end of the day, stitching is an enjoyable, relaxing hobby so any goals set must obviously be realistic. The fun in snatching spare stitching time shouldn't be outweighed by the pressure of sticking religiously to a timetable. However, you could set yourself a target amount of time to stitch - a few minutes here and there soon amounts to a considerable period of time.
Today lots of us work - full time as well as part time and shift work is also quite common - so once again the key to everything is organisation. A working mum with a young family may feel she doesn't have enough hours in the day, but with a little thought and planning it is possible to keep everyone in the family happy as well as being able to find time to do some stitching.
Obviously, toddlers and babies do take up a lot of time and energy but, during their afternoon nap, take some time out for stitching. Encourage older children to be interested in stitching - one idea is to get them to draw a picture and they could then stitch it so you spend quality time together stitching. An added incentive to keep a child's interest is to promise them their completed work can be framed and hung in a prominent position or possibly given to a favourite friend or relative as a gift.
Have cooking sessions enabling you to fill your freezer with delicious casseroles, pies, pasta dishes and even cottage pies. You will be amazed at the time this will save you preparing meals individually - more time for stitching!