Sewing makes me feel like a human

I made this quilt block yesterday. 

This one too. These are the first two blocks in The Splendid Sampler quilt-a-long by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. They are small, only 6 inches, but they feel like a huge accomplishment and they are making me so happy!

A few years ago I took a total body boot camp circuit training class. Making these blocks felt a bit like that class. One of the cumulative side effects of my chemotherapy is muscle pain and fatigue. How this works in real life is that when I use my arms and legs to do anything my muscles burn like I’m back in boot camp class. Ironing and cutting fabric feels like doing dead lifts or push-ups. I needed a big glass of water and some rest breaks to get it done. 

Why bother? For one thing, if I don’t use my muscles I’m afraid I’ll never be able to use them again. For another, makers gonna make. All this enforced rest has meant a ton of time looking at blogs and magazines and I’m filled up with inspiration. I want to make all the things!  But most of all, sitting at that sewing machine felt awesome! Sewing these blocks made me feel like a normal, competent human after so many weeks of being down for the count. 

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3 Responses to Sewing makes me feel like a human

  1. Absolutely. I’ve spent the last year trying to get an auto-immune syndrome under control after 2 years of piecemeal diagnoses that were only treating symptoms, not the syndrome as a whole. Fatigue, muscle pain, having to learn to pace oneself, AND have patience while waiting for drugs to do their thing…it reduces your life to the bare minimum and that surely is not enough. Reading up on techniques and seeing what others are up to helps but yes oh yes, when you finally can start doing again… It is so good for the soul.

    And yes, you do need to start building up your stamina, ( my doc said it would be a long time to get it back, but I’ve worked at it carefully so as not to make me backslide but keep me moving forward and I sense it’s coming back maybe quicker than he indicated.) What a great way by doing these blocks in a quilt-a-long. After all this time of focus on overcoming this physical setback, doing anything “normal” is time for celebration. I so know the yearning: just want my life back! Feeding that creative itch is a big step in that direction.

    • Oh Sheila, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with autoimmune disease. My mom has been fighting Hashimotos for over 20 years and I know how frustrating autoimmunes are. I’m glad to hear you are getting your strength back. And yes, exercising your creativity is tremendously healing!

      • Thank you, Nikki. I’m learning that there is a huge community of somewhat silent sufferers – so many conditions exist under the umbrella of “auto-immune disorder”.. As I’ve connected with some of them, people I see doing so much without much complaint that it is a surprise to learn they have these physical limitations, I’ve found them so willing to share how they cope. They have become my heroes, and my role models. We can sit and whine or give up. OR we can get up when we can and DO, which gives us hope. I’m quite touched by your story, your willingness to share the ugly parts, your determination to not let this get the better of you. To feel human, be human, stay human. 🙂


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