Quilt the Pounds Away

By Megan Dougherty

Let’s face it: quilting is a naturally sedentary activity, and if you quilt all day, you probably aren’t getting in all the exercise you need to prevent the dreaded “quilter’s butt.” But with a little ingenuity you can turn your stitching routine into a fitness routine! We’ll show you how you can sneak healthy activities and habits into your usual laziness and sloth, and watch as the pounds melt away! These tips will help you reduce your waistline and your stash!

  1. Give yourself “penalty push-ups” every time you have to rip a seam. Either you’ll tone up those flabby arms and shoulders or you’ll start paying attention to what you’re doing for once. Win-win!
  1. Fill your house with only messy snacks like Cheetos and powdered sugar doughnuts so you won’t be tempted to eat them and get schmutz all over your fabric.
  1. Keep your ironing board far away, like across the room, on another floor, or at your mom’s house.
  1. Do squats while waiting in the cutting counter line at the fabric store. Sure, you’ll annoy the other customers and you might get banned if you fart too much, but isn’t that a small price to pay for tight glutes?
  1. Schedule some walk-and-stitch time with your sewing buddies. Enjoy the great outdoors as you work on your embroidery or English paper piecing project. Studies show that trying not to walk into traffic while stitching is great for your core!
  1. Clean your sewing room. I don’t know if it burns a lot of calories, but, damn. How do you get any work done in here?
  1. Take the farthest parking spot at the quilt shop, even though the parking lot is basically a small patch of gravel right next to the building that can fit two cars at most and is always completely taken up by that person who drives a Lincoln Continental and somehow manages to park at an angle like she jumped the curb and just landed there. If you can manage to squeeze in next to her, your cardiovascular system will thank you for the five extra steps!
  1. Your grandma used a treadle machine but you should be using a treadmill sewing machine. These have not been invented yet, but that’s no excuse.
  1. Keep yourself accountable by making all your diet and fitness goals public on your blog or Facebook page. Make sure everybody knows exactly how much you weigh now and be sure to post a pic that reveals all your current fat rolls!
  1. Turn your guild meetings into fitness boot camps! Your guild buddies may be surprised when you barge up to the front of the room and scream at them to GIVE ME FIFTY, YOU MAGGOTS! But they’ll thank you when their delts and pecs are all buff.
  1. Use items you already have in your sewing room as fitness equipment. Fun fact: Singer Featherweights are not actually the weight of a feather!
  1. Remember to push your water! You can actually use your iron’s spray feature to help keep you hydrated during a marathon de-wrinkling sesh. But be careful! You don’t want to get it in your eye by mistake.
  1. And most important: be positive! Use healthy affirmations when looking in the mirror. Say to yourself, “I am positive I am busting out of these yoga pants but I absolutely affirm that I will cut a bitch if I have to do another ‘penalty push-up’ during this quilt project. So I am going to take another hit off my iron and pump some Featherweights until it’s time to go yell at some maggots.”


Megan Dougherty has been blogging and quilting as The Bitchy Stitcher since 2008. She was the humor columnist for Quilter’s Home magazine and Generation Q magazine, and was also the art director at GenQ for its first year. Her first book, Quilting Isn’t Funny, is available in paperback and Kindle on amazon.com. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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