A spare 10 minutes

I read somewhere that time spent in a studio is never wasted. To take this in a very general sense, it means that any time spent in a place where you love to work or create is worth it, no matter if you ‘don’t feel like doing anything’. I think it is referring to the idea that if you just walk into your sewing room or studio or study or garden shed, and even if all you do is pick up something you have been working on to take another look, or put away a couple of bits of fabric left lying on the bench, it still gets the brain ticking over. You can easily find yourself stopping and thinking about what next step you may take in creating that quilt or artwork; you may decide to go to your stash and see what you have there as a possible border fabric or any other possible ideas; just being around it gets the thoughts moving and the time is never wasted.

I remember being told something very similar years ago when I was doing some postgraduate study, while also working and raising young children. I was often so tired of the work involved but I knew I had to just sit down and finish a paper I was writing- but it was so hard to go into my study and start working! I was told that even on the worst nights when the last thing I wanted to do was study, all I had to do was ‘allow’ myself only 15 minutes for work and after that time I could leave it with good conscience. Surely I can do just 10 or 15 minutes?
Usually, I would go and put some order into an untidy desk and perhaps take a look my timetable to see what deadlines I had coming up. That might prompt me to write some reminders on a few things to do for the next day, or perhaps jot down a couple of books to get from the library or papers to research on the internet. Perhaps I would pick up a draft of a report I was writing and start to read through it – invariably I would start to edit it, and maybe think of another topic I needed to add in, or check the bibliography was complete. Before I knew it one thing would lead onto the next, and even though I would be aware that the 15 minutes was long past, it was okay, I might just keep going for the time being. And even though, I might not always get anything written, the time spent organising things was well worth it, because at least my conscience felt better, I felt I had achieved something!

So, yes, I think that any time spent in the studio, even if I feel I am lacking in motivation, is worth it. Whenever I walk into my sewing room I‘m happy at the thought of the possibilities of what could be done – if I don’t feel like actually doing them at that time it doesn’t matter. While obviously sewing is a far reach from study, there are still days when I am lacking in a little motivation to get started. After a bit of a think, I’ve come up with a list of 5 things I often do when I either only have a spare 10 minutes or all I feel like spending is 10 minutes in the sewing room:
1. One of my current projects is an applique quilt that has lots of pieces. It’s a good project to have to work on at night time or to take with me, so it’s handy to have the applique pieces prepared and ready to go. I can spend 10 minutes tracing out a few shapes from freezer paper and ironing them down onto fabric.

2. for that same project, I use lots of different fabrics so spending the time actually choosing a selection for the next block takes time. This is one that often goes over the 10-minutes, but any time spent is a good start.
3. When I’m doing a quilt top that is lots of piecing, then in 10 minutes I can string-piece quite a few blocks.
4. Getting ready for the next sewing session is often worth 10 minutes, such as cutting some blocks ready for sewing, doing all the pressing of seams from the last session or even looking over what stage I’m up to and planning what comes next.

5. Looking for a pattern I’ve seen in a magazine somewhere and now just have to find again. I did this recently, looking for a bag pattern to make for my daughter. One thing leads to another, and this can also go over the 10 minutes, but it’s all good!
What can you do in a spare 10 minutes?