Tricks to Being Productive While Hauling Your Kids Around–Back to School Blog Hop 2017

Everyone tells you when you start having children that you’re going to lose all the time you once had.  And you never believe them until they get older and you can’t say no or make them choose just one extracurricular activity … and then you realize they were all right! This post isn’t just for people with kids but really for anyone that is out and about but still want to accomplish at least some sewing activities. 

BTS 9 Kim Lapacek

When Sam Hunter asked if I wanted to join in the 2017 Back to School Blog Hop I knew I wanted to share with you all the tips and tricks I’ve found to being productive while always on the run.


I have three beautiful girls ages 10, 9 and 6.  They participate in gymnastics, dance, softball and gymnastics.  My family also owns and operates an apple orchard.  As most are these days, we are busy.  I really don’t mind being busy and my kids are thriving in school as well as their activities.

When I go to guilds to give my talk, “Wildly Careening Into Quilts: What I learned by not knowing what I didn’t know” one of the most often questions I get is, “Do you ever sleep?”  My answer is a resounding “YES!  I just don’t clean my house.”  But really it’s more than that.  I work efficiently.  I am always prepared with a project I can work on when I know I will just be sitting somewhere.  snail trail quilt by kim lapacek

Luckily, the gymnastics club the girls are at has Wi-Fi.  I get a lot of computer work done while I sit and watch them at practice.  Unfortunately that doesn’t work quite so well at a basketball game or softball tournament.  For those events you’ll often see me with a needle, thread, and thimble on my finger, working on a project.  Did I mention I’m the super cool mom that never embarrasses her kids? 

Below I’m going to share with you a few projects you can prep to work on while you’re on the go and will make the time you do have at your machine more efficient. 

First and foremost – binding.  I know there are ways to bind by machine and folks that do it very well; I’m not one of those folks.  I’m just not comfortable with it. 

binding at a basketball gameI find binding at basketball games works really well.  It’s actually usually pretty cool in the gym so it’s not bad to have a quilt over your lap.  In a jam, I will bind at a softball game but prefer to bind smaller projects since it’s usually too hot to have a quilt over my lap.  orange slice hot pad by kim lapacekI have a huge fat quarter bag that I fill with projects and my needle, thread, thimble and scissors that I haul along with me whenever there is even potential to sew. binding at a softball gameI find that hand sewing while the girls are playing also helps keep me more calm.  I realize they’re young still but it’s absolutely ridiculous just how stressful games can get! 

I don’t always have quilts and projects ready for hand binding when I need them so I have to plan other projects too.  An easy thing to carry around is a bunch of pre-cut circles that I can sew into yo-yo’s.  I dream of making another big and crazy yoyo quilt so whenever the mood hits me and I’m out and about I sew a few here and there.

english paper piecing prep

English paper piecing is also a great take along project.  It’s easy to put some fabric scraps, paper templates, a glue stick and your hand sewing kit in the bag and sew some hexagons together.

But some projects you may not think about …

Pinning curved pieces.  Yes!  I recently started playing with Color Girl Quilts new ruler – the Classic Curve Ruler.  One of the reasons I’m not a fan of curved piecing is the pinning that is involved.


Turns out – it’s not so bad pinning curves while you’re watching a softball game! That way, I’m not in my sewing room pinning when I could be sewing.  I prepped a bunch of fabric pairs, packed the pincushion and got all of my curves pinned and ready for the next time I was back in the sewing room.


(The #sewsampler box from the Fat Quarter Shop’s monthly subscription club works great to bring along on the go projects.”

If you’re like me and love using your fabric strips to make #scrappytripalong blocks, you have another great take along project.  Ripping the seams you need to rip before you sew the second set of blocks together is a perfect on the go project!  Here is a link to Quiltville’s tutorial on how to make scrappy trip along blocks in case you’re completely lost at the moment.  There is a point in the block where you have six tubes that need to have a seam ripped about before the next step. 


I cut up these strip set tubes, pin them together and bring them along for ripping.  It’s easy to rip a seam, place the strip in my lap and rip the correct seams after that.  Once I have all six strips ready, I pin it back together in a group and it’s all ready for me to sew together once I’m back at the sewing machine.


As I find less and less time at the machine and more and more time at the field or gym I’m sure I’ll come up with more on the go projects but for now – this is keeping me busy and efficient!  As an added bonus, I have all the girls’ friends at least interested in quilting and loving watching the progress I make from the start of the game to the end.

Do you have a favorite on the go project?  I’d love it if you shared it with me!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to check out all the other amazing tips and tricks shared on this years Back to School Blog Hop. 

The full schedule is HERE and Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines – is up tomorrow!

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