The Free Motion Quilting Project: Podcast #16: Time Management with Vicki Holloway

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Podcast #16: Time Management with Vicki Holloway

Hello My Quilting Friends! This week I have a fun interview with Vicki Holloway about time management and how she has a full time job, is a longarm quilter, podcaster, and blogs daily right here on her website.

That is a LOT of stuff to manage at once and as someone that frequently feels frustrated with my lack of progress on many projects, talking with Vicki really helped me get focused, create a daily plan, and to feel better about what I'm getting done every day.

Make sure to check out Vicki's website right here. Vicki started quilting when she was a little girl making baby quilts for her cousins, then took a break for several years and came back to the craft when she had children. She also wanted to make a Double Wedding Ring Quilt and like me, didn't get very far!

Now for a few of Vicki's tips on getting things done:
  • She learned how to prioritize tasks as a working mother by breaking jobs into 10 - 15 minute segments. 
  • Let go of the idea of "All or Nothing." You have to be willing to bend or break things up into pieces.
  • Excuses are time vampires.
  • Vicki gets up at 6 am every day. She has 1 hour 30 minutes to sew before work and has a plan of what she will sew or quilt from the night before.
  • She can only sit at the machine or stand at the longarm for 30-45 minutes because of arthritis so she always breaks up her time with different activities.
  • Vicki lives close to her work so she can come home for lunch and breaks and get a little quilting time in during the day.
  • She spends a lot off time thinking through blog posts, podcast episodes, and quilt projects during the day so she's ready to create during her creative time.
  • Vicki is not a fan of chain stitching, mass cutting, or any other volume quilting techniques. She works one block at a time, one row at a time, through a quilt.
  • She doesn't have too many projects going at once and keeps things very organized within her sewing space.
  • Managing what you do with your time is more important than perfect organization. She doesn't watch TV, read much, or make fancy dinners now because she would rather be creating.
  • Vicki has a rule to Do It the First Time which means when you see something like the trash overflowing, go on ahead and take care of it rather than struggle with it over and over again.
  • Routines and systems are Vicki's key. In the summer Vicki travels with her husband, but she lives in the north so in the winter she stays home to create.
Vicki shares a Daily Prompt Challenge where she challenges you make something every day with a unique prompt. It's helping quilters that are creatively stuck to get unstuck and start quilting again.

Vicki's top three steps to her system: she has a schedule, uses calendars and timers on her phone so she doesn't lose track of time, and she keeps a list of what she needs to do next. She writes down her lists on post-it notes and then rips up the note when she's completed all the tasks.

Vicki and I also collaborated together on a really fun quilt project. She shared a tutorial on improv piecing and guided you through piecing this modern quilt block. Click Here to find her tutorial.

Then Vicki sent me the quilt and I had so much fun quilting it! I love how this turned out and you can find my video on improvisational quilting right here.

The sponsor for the show is the Machine Quilting Block Party where you can now find three block patterns that will guide you through piecing the blocks AND machine quilting them with several beautiful designs. Click Here to learn more about the Machine Quilting Block Party!

Now for a few updates from the beginning of the show:

We finally have an official home for the podcast right here. This player will automatically update when new episodes go live so you can always find new episodes on this page.

I also plan to add tabs both on this blog and on the website so this page is also easy to find. It's one thing to make a page, it's another thing to actually link it up so quilters can find it!

I've made a lot of progress on my Peaceful Goddess Quilt pattern and fusible applique. I've had a lot of questions in my head about fusible web, how to stack the pieces so the blocks are easy to build, and what color thread to stitch over the edges of the pieces.

The best way to answer questions like this is to go play! This morning I plunked myself down in the studio and cut and fused and answered a lot of these questions. I love, love, LOVE how these Peaceful Goddess faces are turning out in beautiful Island Batik fabrics:

In order to spend more time on the goddess quilts, I have been getting ahead on the Machine Quilting Block Party and I've already thinking about the block party for 2018. I know we're still in very early days of 2017, but I've learned the earlier I can plan this project, the better it will work.

I've made a lot of great progress on my walking foot quilting book and finally finished the chapter on the quilting designs, which was a struggle. Josh's advice to simplify was super helpful and encouraged me to not get too obsessive about the writing being perfect.

I've also been scoping out a place I can work on the book without interruption. Here's the Crafty Cottage Tour I mentioned in the intro and you can see the old table top which was completely covered in junk at the back of the room. This is who I am - when there's a flat surface that's not needed to be clean for a video, it will get covered in junk. I'm just not a kid that likes to put away her toys!

I've collapsed this table and bought a small chair and collapsible desk that I installed on the wall. In order for this to work I have to sit down in the chair, then pull down the desk. Then I'm in "jail" and I can't move until my writing is done. To get up from the seat, I have to collapse the desk so I can't leave it out and cover it with clutter.

I know this is odd, but this is who I am and hopefully this new setup will help me get more writing done! The inspiration for redesigning this space came from reading the book Deep Work by Cal Newport. After listening to this audiobook, I knew I needed to redesign this space so I could get more work done without interruption.

I've also shared two new Sit Down Quilting Sunday videos and you can find all of them listed right here. I've been enjoying this new series and answering your questions about sit down quilting on a longarm machine. I've also enjoyed the challenge of learning how to quilt on a longarm which is very similar to home machines, but also has a lot of differences too.

That's it for this week! I'm definitely fired up from Vicki's podcast and ready to get organized and create more every single day!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

1 comment:

  1. what a great podcast! I have enjoyed all your podcasts and will listen to most of them must be really difficult to fit these into your schedule, but I find listening to podcasts is one of my favorite things when driving or sewing. I especially appreciate your honesty :) Keep up the good work!


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at