Quilting Interruptions

Most of us that have a longarm quilting business know that no matter what that sometime during the course of working on a quilt while in our zone, there’s going to be something that interrupts our work.  Even those of us who longarm just for ourselves experience interruptions while working on our own quilt that we are JUST. TRYING. TO. FINISH…..


Lately I’ve become obsessed with these interruptions and while in my thinking mode when quilting or working on a project, I’ve tried to come to terms with daily interruptions and how I can avoid getting so frustrated with them.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was when at 9 a.m. one morning our doorbell rang and it was a guy asking if a helicopter could land in our front pasture to refuel.  (Just the night before I was so excited for this day because there was nothing on the calendar or schedule except to work on my customer’s quilt). We live on 20 acres so there’s plenty of room for a helicopter to land so my husband told him sure and texted me to let me know.  Well I wasn’t going to miss this and off I went to await the helicopter.  The guy said it’d be here in a few minutes.  30 minutes later, no helicopter.  Guess it found a better field that was closer to refuel.  I was frustrated with myself in that moment when I realized I could’ve gotten 30 minutes of quilting done on a customer’s quilt.  After stewing over it for a while, I got into that thinking zone while I was quilting and realized that life happens and I shouldn’t miss things because I feel that a quilt must get finished quickly for the customer.  So I decided to come up with a way that I could have interruptions and still feel like I was productive on my customer’s quilt.  I’ve decided to live by a schedule that gives me freedom for interruptions to happen but still gives me satisfaction that I was loyal, hard working, and productive for the customer.  If you’ve read my bio on myself, you know the reason I bought a longarm was because I had such separation anxiety from my pieced top when it went to the longarmer.   I can still remember feeling impatient to get that quilt back completed from the longarmer.  And even though my customers tell me they are in no hurry, I know they are thinking about that pieced top and when will it return.  So I feel obligated to get it returned as soon as possible and I do and I will.  Now, how to do this when 5 people are texting you or calling you (and I have to check because it might be a customer or something important that needs addressing), you have to go the grocery story because you have no food in the house, your Ring notification keeps going off and you check to see who’s at your front door and it’s usually UPS, FEDEX, Amazon Prime, or the mailman with packages that you need, you have a doctor’s appointment and so forth and so on. 


I’ve decided to schedule how many hours I will devote to working on a customer’s quilt a day as long as I’m able to do so.  Since I want to set myself up for success so that I will feel I met my goal and was therefor productive, I’m going to promise myself 3 hours a day on a customer’s quilt Monday-Friday.  Of course I can always do more if time and the day permits but I feel I can get 3 hours a day in and that will allow for interruptions.  So if something came up and I needed to be away from my house for 4 hours or more, as long as I get those 3 hours in a day, I’ve accomplished my goal.  Weekends, and holidays are now mine and I will not be working on customer quilts.  I miss working on my projects and now I’ve given myself permission and time to complete things for me. 


So now ladies and gentlemen, start that timer! 


If any of you reading this have any friendly comments or friendly suggestions to make on how you deal with interruptions, send me an email.  I’d love to hear from you. 




Pam Hayes