In this episode, I am sharing my updated cross stitch and reading routine and how I choose whether to cross stitch or read and fit them both into my days.
You can listen to the episode below or keep scrolling to read the blog post. A transcript of the podcast is available here.
My Cross Stitch and Reading Routine
I love to both cross stitch and read and know you do too. If you’re not a reader you may still find some good nuggets on cross stitch routines in here.
This episode was inspired by a question I got on Instagram which was “how do you choose between cross stitch and reading?”
I know the answer some of you may be thinking is audiobooks! And yes, that can work sometimes, but not always.
I only got into Audiobooks last year (January 2020) and still have yet to actually try stitching and listening at the same time but I’m not sure if I ever will do it.
How about you, do you listen to audiobooks while you cross stitch?
Why audiobooks aren’t always the answer
For me, cross stitch and reading are ways to focus my mind, de-stress and stop and pause for a moment. It also stops me from multi-tasking … usually. Sometimes I may have the TV on in the background when I’m stitching but more just for noise and it’s usually a show I don’t need to be too focused on.
Reading especially, you have to be focused on that sole thing. You can’t even hear what’s going on around you when you’re deep in a book. So the thought of trying to focus on both brings a bit of stress to my mind – the opposite of what I want from my hobbies.
Maybe I could listen to a non-fiction book while stitching, but fiction I just need and want to be fully immersed in it. I don’t want to split my attention between the 2 things.
I may be wrong, and I guess I need to try it and see so maybe I will do that one day.
My reading routine
I talk about having multiple cross stitch projects on the go at one time and how that actually helps me stitch more. Well, I’m the same with books too.
I currently have 8 books on Goodreads that I’m reading. And you may be thinking, how?!
I read with all different kinds of formats; paperbacks, on my Kindle Paperwhite, on my Kindle app on my phone, on my library app on my phone, and through Audible.
On Audible I listen to non-fiction or memoirs or biographies. And I almost only listen when I’m packing orders for work, or doing mindless work activities that don’t involve writing/counting etc. And occasionally when I’m tidying up too.
I’m excited to try Audible in the car when we’re allowed out again too. I get travel sick and reading makes it so much worse. I don’t know why it took me so long to get into audiobooks looking back now!
I have 2 apps on my phone for reading too; Kindle and a Libray app so I can borrow eBooks. I usually read these when I’m with the kids of a night. Or waiting for appointments, in the car if I’m not feeling sick. Usually in places where it’s dark or it’s not suitable to pull out my project.
When reading on my phone I find it much better to put night mode on so the screen is just easier to read from. The books on my phone also tend to be non-fiction.
On my actual Kindle Paperwhite, I usually read fiction books where the author only writes books in eBook form such as the Dowser Series (one I started in 2020). Or fiction books that are on Kindle Unlimited, for example.
I also love to sample books on Kindle first before buying them in paperback form.
I usually read on my Kindle in the morning if it’s still dark and people are sleeping. Or sometimes before bed. It’s also something I take with me on holiday, when we’re travelling, etc.
I LOVE reading a paperback. Usually, I would get almost all of my paperbacks from the library. But since covid hit, I have been buying a lot more instead. I had to buy a new book shelf to fit them all on!
But in “normal” times, use your library! It’s so easy to reserve books now and even in the tiny village I live in. It’s connected to larger city libraries and they will deliver them to your local one to pick up and borrow – it’s great!
I usually read fiction in paperback, but do have a few non-fiction ones too.
I almost always read a paperback before bed and this is my set routine. Every night I read for at least half an hour. It really helps me switch off but sometimes the book is so good I can’t put it down!
If you are thinking this sounds really confusing just know that I have been building on this habit for 4 and a half years. When I had my second baby I really got back into reading. I would read on my Kindle in the middle of the night when I was breastfeeding her. And as our life has shifted over those years I found different times to fit more reading in.
And because I love both fiction and non-fiction I have to find ways to fit both them in. Plus, when the kids are in school I am working alone all day so like audiobooks on for some noise.
My cross stitch routine
So, how does cross stitch fit in?
Usually, my basic routine is when I’m watching T.V. I will cross stitch. My T.V. watching has reduced quite a lot lately but we do watch Coronation Street and Emmerdale and usually binge-watch them and stitch.
And right now, we are on lockdown again so my routine is a little bit out the window. So I have to try and find gaps in my day to do it (I talk more about that on this episode).
One thing I did start doing was stitching on my lunch hour. Even though I work for myself I do try and give myself a 40-minute break during the day. I put on an episode of Gilmore Girls and stitch! It was such a nice, peaceful moment in the middle of the day.
But now the kids are home again so after they finish homeschool I let them watch T.V. or play in the garden (weather depending) I will sit and stitch for half an hour.
It’s such a good transition into the next part of our day, and usually, for me, this means going into work as I work evenings on the days I’m homeschooling.
And on the days I’m working and not homeschooling, those are the days I watch T.V. of an evening and stitch.
Our lives are always shifting and changing and being stuck in a set routine thinking “I have to stitch at 8 pm every night” can make you disappointed if you suddenly have to do something at that time every night.
We need to make our routines fluid; they don’t have to be set in stone.
Another way I fit cross stitch into my days now is when my eldest is on his online class meetings I have to sit with him, but just to be there. So I will pull out my project and stitch while he is on his Zoom.
And the same thing when I’m on my own Zoom meetings. I have at least 1 hour a week on Zoom, sometimes up to 4 hours a week. Most of the time I’m just listening so that’s a great time to pull out my project too.
When I am focused of an evening I will stitch in half cross stitches and then when I am on those calls and stitching I can just go over the half stitches to make them full and not need to look at my pattern.
I also have an actual routine of cross stitching every Sunday morning. This almost always happens and I just wake up, get some coffee and go back to bed to do some focused cross stitch. The kids are with dad for the morning and I just adore this time so much.
I love combining a set routine with more rhythms and “gap-stitching”.
How do you choose between reading and cross stitch?
My rhythms and routines mean that I don’t have to choose.
I have set my days up so I can fit them both in. This takes the decision away.
The only time I need to choose is if we are on holiday or on a break from work for example then I just tap into what I feel like doing at that moment.
But most of the time there is no time wasted trying to decide. For example, I know that when I’m packing orders for work I listen to an audiobook. When it’s dark in the room I can’t stitch so I pull out my reading app. And if I’m on Zoom I can pull out a project.
The only other time I may have to choose is right now is if I am homeschooling and then working of an evening. When I go to bed sometimes I feel like stitching instead of reading if I didn’t get to do much stitching during the day. But I also love my books so that is tough but luckily it’s not a daily occurrence.
And it’s actually the reason I decided to start stitching while my eldest is on his online meetings because these happen 2-3 times a day every day. So they make sure that I am sitting and stitching 2-3 times a day as well. Of course, I do have another child so it’s not always possible but I try.
I hope this helps you see that yes, it’s a choice between the 2 but that doesn’t mean you can’t do both every day. There are always ways to fit them both in if you want to.
- 7 tips to read more when you’re a new mum
- 5 tips to fit in more cross stitch
- Making cross stitch a habit