Slow and steady

Card Holder in progress

I’m a racer when it comes to work. I like to get things done, have always liked to get things done and want to get them done quickly as possible. The more production sewing that happens in my work room, the more apparent it becomes that speedy sewing is not going to help my cause at all! On the contrary, it’s becoming increasingly important to take things one step at a time and to take the time to check my work before moving on. When you’re making ten pieces at a time, it’s awfully easy to make a mistake ten times before realizing you’ve done it once. Ugh. So what to do?

For now, my trick is to use my space. That means spreading things out to look at all the pieces as they are in process. Leaving the room to make a cup of tea and coming back to look again also helps. It’s the stopping, looking, and looking carefully that counts. Do you find that difficult to do as well?

It’s also valuable to constantly look for efficiencies, no just for now but also for later. It turns out that my card holder pattern dimensions make for easy cutting across the width of a bolt. Cutting two lengths of interfacing makes eight sets for pockets. Cutting the linen makes ten sets for exterior panels. Instead of trying to cut exactly what’s needed for the day, extra pieces that can be used on the next round, can go into the drawer for the next round.

This kind of searching for how to do things well is so integral to my own personal neurosis that it’s comic and maybe even a little embarrassing to write about it. These things can’t be discoveries for everyone out there, but lately I’ve been thinking about all the experiences in my life that I call on to do even little things. The importance of life experience has always amazed me, as well as the diversity of experiences we draw on in a day.

I type well because my dad insisted on it when I was a kid and he didn’t want the computer to be just a toy. I know how to tie a bowline knot and fold huge pieces of fabric (think curtains 30 feet tall) thanks to technical theater work I did during college. Both things I’ve called on in recent weeks. And the list goes on. What’s in your arsenal of random life skills? How do you use them?

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