How do you fit in time to sew?

22 Sep

Or, more to the point, how do you fit in time to sew, AND do other things?

I have been struggling a lot with this recently, and failing to come up with a solution. I am finding that there are just not enough hours in the day/week/month to get everything done that I want to do, and I end up compromising on things, and then feeling really disappointed, both that I haven’t been able to commit the time to do everything properly, and that I haven’t been able to do as much as I’d like of the things I want to do. I’m starting to think that maybe it’s only really feasible to have one hobby, and that there just isn’t time for more than that, and that makes me sad.

Other than sewing, I also do capoeira (a Brazilian martial art), and climbing. Both of these are things that I’ve taken up in the last couple of years (since I met Marcus, and he got me into them) and I really enjoy both of them. But over the past 2-3 months or so, I’ve hardly been to either. I’ve maybe managed capoeira 3-4 times in the last 2 months (I used to go three times a week), and we went climbing today for the first time in months. I’ve just been finding that, in order to have any time to sew, I’ve had to sacrifice doing other things. And because sewing is my newest hobby, and I really really enjoy it, I end up resenting the other activities a bit when I do do them, because it’s time I could be spending sewing, rather than making the most of the times that I can make it along to capoeira/the climbing wall. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them once I’m there, I just find it hard to make myself actually go, when there are so many other things that I want to be doing as well.

Even when I do have time to sew in the evenings and at weekends, I then feel bad for neglecting Marcus! He assures me that I’m not, but it’s hard not to feel a bit guilty when I know that, if I wasn’t sewing, we’d be doing something together, even if it was just watching a movie or something. And if I’m sewing in the living room, he inevitably ends up in front of the computer in his study, where he’s spent all day working anyway!

All this means that I’m just not really happy with anything that I’m doing – I feel like I’m not going to capoeira enough, not climbing often enough, and still not spending as much time sewing as I would like. And that just gets me down. I try to fit things in whenever I can – e.g. spending my lunchtimes at work doing a bit of hand sewing, or knitting, catching up on my blog reading or writing blog posts, so I can spend the time I do have at home doing other things, but that just means my lunch breaks feel a bit stressful too, as I’m constantly trying to fit too much in, and all the things I want/need to do are competing with each other.

So, do you have any tips on how you fit sewing in around your life and existing hobbies? Or am I really just trying to fit too much in? How do you manage guilt free sewing without feeling like you are neglecting partners, kids etc? I’d really appreciate some thoughts/advice on the subject!

And just to provide you with some visual entertainment, and brighten up a bit of a heavy Sunday afternoon post, here is a sneak peak of what’s going to be appearing on the blog soon:

sneak peak



21 Responses to “How do you fit in time to sew?”

  1. Emmely September 22, 2013 at 16:08 #

    I can totally relate to what you’ve written here. For the past year I’ve had periods where I was very frustrated because I didn’t even get 10% done of the things that I wanted to do in my spare time while the list of things that I wanted to do just kept growing exponentially. My solution was to cut down the number of hours that I work each week. So a couple of months ago I started working 4 days a week instead of 5. This gives me a whole extra day I can spend on sewing or running errands that otherwise never would get done. I am really glad I made this decision, but I also realize that it is not a decision that everyone will be able to make as it does have some impact on your finances.

    • Kelly September 22, 2013 at 16:24 #

      I would love to be able to cut down the number of days I work, and I hope to at some point in the future, but it’s not going to happen any time soon unfortunately. One of my key aims at the moment is to be able to buy a house, so, much as I hate it, the money really does matter! But just having an extra free day, and a day that isn’t the weekend (when other things are going on etc), but a bonus day, would make such a difference. I’ve taken a couple of days off work recently just to have a day of sewing without feeling guilty that there are other things I should be doing. Work is another big drain on my time, and I end up resenting it for that! I accept that having to work 35 hours or so a week is just something I have to do (for now at least), but it’s the 1.5-2 hours a day I spend commuting that REALLY bugs me!

      • Emmely September 22, 2013 at 16:39 #

        Yes, commuting really is wasted time in most cases. I suppose if you could take one day every month as a special sewing day that might already help to feel more productive. Say, every first Monday of the month. That way you do have something to look forward to each month.
        I think you’ll also enjoy reading this post:

        • Kelly September 22, 2013 at 18:51 #

          It really is! I have to drive as well, at least if I was commuting by train I could catch up on reading/knitting at the same time! This year I’ve been really lucky and had loads of extra holiday carried over from an old contract, next year I’ll be back to normal, which unfortunately won’t make it so easy – might manage a day every other month! Lauren’s post is a great one, and I’ve taken on board some of her tips for productivity, I just need to find the time to be productive!

  2. Nessa September 22, 2013 at 16:42 #

    I too have recently been struggling with the lack of actually creating or finishing anything. I mentioned it in a blog post. One of the commenters named Danielle made an interesting point about creativity being cyclical that you might be interested in reading.
    Go easy on yourself kelly. Remember that we work to live, not live to work. Every second that you aren’t at work should be your real life. And within those seconds and hours you can do whatever you like! No activity is going to get jealous or keep a count if you spend time on another activity – you are the Queen of your time and what you say goes my Lady! Don’t let guilt spoil your You-Time.

    • Kelly September 22, 2013 at 19:02 #

      I remember your blog post! In fact, I’m pretty sure I left a ridiculously long comment on it (it was something I’d been thinking about recently as well), but it might have been eaten by the interwebs, as tends to happen! Thanks for your kind words :) I definitely agree with the work to live, and I don’t by any means spend time outside of work thinking about work (more like the opposite!). Both the other activities are quite social, and so I guess it’s not just the activity, but also the friends that I feel like I’m neglecting/missing out on seeing. But when I do go, I tend to enjoy it more having been away for a while! I know some people who just have one hobby/activity that they do, so of course they can go to every session, or spend more time on it – I think I need to accept the fact that if I do many things, I will inevitably have less time to give to each one, and not feel bad in comparison!

  3. androoschmiff September 22, 2013 at 18:06 #

    I have a supportive partner who doesn’t mind doing more than his fair share of drudgery. I pull my weight when I can. I too work full time, with an hour’ commute, which I spend thinking about sewing. To be honest though, I’m an adult and I’m not responsible for entertaining anyone, so try to avoid the guilt trip. You only have one life – enjoy it!

    • Kelly September 22, 2013 at 19:05 #

      That’s really great. Marcus is also very good, and we have a very equitable split of chores, cooking etc. That is a good point – I know Im not responsible for entertaining him, but I still feel a bit bad about it sometimes!

      • androoschmiff September 23, 2013 at 19:52 #

        It’s only natural, and I am accused of neglect too!

  4. Louise September 22, 2013 at 18:39 #

    I totally relate. There are just not enough hours in the day. I have three small children and they not only take up my time but they also leach the energy out of me. When I finally get them into bed I find I can be so bleary eyed, I can barely walk in a straight line let alone sew in one! Just like you I also feel I’m neglecting my other half when I spend all night sewing. But I think being more organised helps and maybe you could look on your commute as an oasis of calm for meditation, reading, something where you can just relax. When I commuted I used to think of it as extra sleep, and I’d just zone out and ignore everything and everyone.

    • Kelly September 22, 2013 at 19:11 #

      Oh I’m with you on having energy leached! And that’s without children! I find that I can spend all day at working thinking about what I want to do when I get home, and getting excited by it, but then by the time I’ve driven home, and maybe gone and done food shopping or something, I’m just absolutely drained, and by the time I get in, it’s all I can do just to flop! And then the evening just disappears! Unfortunately I have to drive to work, so I think sleeping would probably not be the best idea! I wouldn’t mind it so much if I was going by train – when I did that, I used to treat it as guilt-free reading time – but unfortunately to get the train takes twice as long and cost twice as much!

  5. Claire (iwanttobeaturtle) September 22, 2013 at 18:59 #

    Fitting everything in is a challenge most of us face and I often feel overwhelmed as well. Clearly the three hobbies you listed mean something to you and you get something out of each of them. Maybe it is worth you considering how much time you want to put into each of them. Are you happy climbing once a month, going to capoeira once a week and spending one evening a week sewing? Or whatever division works for you. I also worried that I wasn’t spending enough time with Adam. We spend a lot of time in the same room but do different activities. I committed to “date night” once a week and setting aside some time every weekend where it is just us. So far it is working well. Of course, you can chop and change as much as you need to. And if you’ve been spending more time on one thing than the other, that’s ok – it is probably what you needed to do at time!

    • Kelly September 22, 2013 at 19:19 #

      I am trying to get back into going to capoeira at least once a week, and there are three evenings to choose from, so I don’t feel forced if I decide I don’t feel like it one night. At the moment, I just want endless sewing time! I think that will improve over time, particularly if I get quicker at sewing, and can perhaps finish a garment in an evening, rather than it taking me a few. I also really want to build up a decent amount of hand made clothes that I can wear regularly, which I think is why I’m so keen at the moment! When I’m sewing, Marcus just tends to end up in his study, I don’t think I’d feel so bad if he wasn’t in the same place where he works all day! I told him yesterday that he needs to take up a craft, so that we can both sit and be crafty together :) I think the date night and weekend time idea is a really good one – we’ve talked about it before but never got round to actually doing anything about it. But I might try that, thanks :)

  6. Daniela M. September 23, 2013 at 13:39 #

    I completely understand your feelings because for me it is excactly the same. I try to sew as much as possible because I am loving it but at the same time I feel super guilty for not spending enough quality time with Lescha my boyfriend. I ask him quite often if he doesen’t mind and he says he doesn’t. But still I feel guilty. As Claire pointed out, we also try to make something together once a weeknight (which is funnyly enough climbing :) ) and then a day (or even few hours) during the weekend. What I also find helps, is that I started to knit and when knitting I can sit next to Lescha on the couch and feel much closer. Although we are not doing anything together, I enjoy to be in each others company and not in two different rooms. And one more think Lescha keeps telling me (because I am getting super stressed about not publishing enough post for my blog): Don’t get stressed or feel guilty because it is your hobby and you shouldd love every second of it/them!

    • Kelly September 25, 2013 at 13:20 #

      Thanks for that Daniela :) yeah, the knitting is good, as I can do that while we’re watching something. I think it will really help to put specific time aside to do things together. And Lescha makes a very good point about making sure you enjoy it, I will remember that! I have the same thoughts about the blog, but that doesn’t bother me so much – if I can’t post for a whole, people will live with it, but if I can’t sew, then it’s myself I’m disappointing! I really just need to stop stressing about wanting/needing to get things done, and just enjoy the time I do have :)

  7. soisewedthis September 23, 2013 at 17:07 #

    I’ve felt exactly the same way! i wish i exercised more and i wish i read more books, but that’s valuable sewing time! i can’t do everything while also working a full time job, so i have to just pick whatever takes priority when i get any free time and focus on enjoying the moment. also i find that football season is a great time to get in some sewing!!! i’m not a football fan at all and i don’t feel like i’m neglecting my husband if i go sew while he watches football. it’s a win win, he’s caught up in the game and i can work on sewing projects =)

    • Kelly September 25, 2013 at 13:23 #

      Yes, exactly! I try to fit in things like blog reading (it used to be book reading as well) at lunchtime, when I couldn’t otherwise be sewing. I’ve heard other sewists say the same about their other halves going off to play golf! Unfortunately mine isn’t into either, which I’m grateful for most of the time, but it does mean that I don’t have that time to sew. All the sports he does we do together, which makes it worse when I don’t want to go! I need to find him another hobby ;)

  8. Lucy September 23, 2013 at 20:17 #

    If you find the answer let me know!
    I am very lucky in the fact that my dear other half has just as many interests and hobbies as I do, neither of us have to feel guilty that way! We do share a few hobbies, and unless I am sewing/studying/at work, I can bring what I’m doing into the sitting room whilst he is soundtrack editing/ sketching or something. I think it would be very difficult if either of us were in any way needy or clingy, I guess we are making the most of “selfish time” whilst we are younger and childless!
    As other people have mentioned, I also use my tea breaks and lunch breaks as “extra” time, sometimes I do my studying, sometimes some knitting or embroidery, sometimes some valuable extra reading time :)
    The biggest problem I have is having way too many activities and hobbies, and never wanting to say no to a project, or waiting for existing projects to end before jumping in there with more, so it is my own fault when I am too busy!
    I hope you manage to find your balance soon :)

    • Kelly September 25, 2013 at 13:25 #

      I will do Lucy, and thank you. That’s really nice that yu both have things that you can get on with, separately but together! I think I’m like you – I just take on too much, and then get stressed when I can’t fit it all in. I just need to learn to take things a bit more slowly I think!

  9. Kelly September 29, 2013 at 20:52 #

    Oh man, I totally relate to you on this…I only sew in the evening for the most part because I have two small kids who don’t nap…but I feel like I am neglecting my husband when I spend all evening sewing. He does travel a lot for work, so when he is gone that is when I do most of my sewing. My biggest problem is staying up too late sewing and then I am a grouchy mama the next day!

    • Kelly October 1, 2013 at 21:40 #

      Yeah it is hard having just the evenings – by the time they come round I’m normally too exhausted to do much! I think if I still lived by myself then I would be very bad at the staying up late (I find the most productive hours of the day for me are 10pm – 2am!) and then be in no fit state for work the next day, but when it gets to the point when the boyfriend decides he’s going to bed (bored of me sewing?), I normally decide that it would be a good idea to call it a day!

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