Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Chronic Pain Crafts: Learning to Quilt

Happy National Craft Month! If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

I don't think it's a secret how much I love sewing, or maybe it is? However, if you had met me 10 years ago (Holy crap! That's 29 year old me!) sewing wouldn't have been on my radar at all. In fact, I was deep into my love of ceramics and beginning graduate school.
Which happened to culminate in my exhibit on ceramics and quilting, where I made 10 quilts and hand sewed my ceramics onto them. Weird how my life changed so much from the time I started grad school in 2009 to the time I finished in 2013. Then completely changed again when I got Adhesive Arachnoiditis.

Regardless, I have somehow transferred my love of quilting to one of my dear friends, #tomboybff, someone who I never suspected that would like, or get involved in quilting.

When she began her journey she asked me why I liked it and, if I remember correctly, if she thought I would think she'd like it.

Well, that sentence was confusing as all hell.

I told her I thought she would like it.
First, she's an engineer, although chemical, they are generally cut from the same brain wave cloth...organization is a stereotype for engineers for a reason. Quilting is all about organization. Patterns, shapes, and colors all cut precisely and put into a giant textile "chart."

Second, quilting is very relaxing. To me, there is nothing better for my OCD mind than a perfect rotary cut and the gorgeousness of removing wrinkles from fabric. I also love to iron. It's relaxing for me too. I know I'm weird.

Third, even though she is a total tomboy, #tomboybff, and can probably rewire my entire house, dig a trench in the backyard, and shoot some game if I asked her to, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to look at something as comforting as a quilt, a tangible heirloom and say, "I made that."

Chronic Pain Crafts: Learning to Quilt


Ok, so I know what you are thinking...Adina, I have (or maybe not) chronic pain (or stressful, sedentary life, etc.) so why is sewing so great?

Well for starters, you have to move, but you also get to sit (let's not rule out binge-watching Netflix).
I have my sewing room upstairs. I keep my ironing board down the hall in our game room. So when I need to press a seam or iron something I have to get up from my sewing machine, walk down the hall, press, and walk back.
This is key for chronic pain sufferers!

The more sedentary you are the more you will hurt.

Consistent movement is key to keeping your pain levels low. You have to move every day and believe me there were days that I literally hobbled from my sewing machine to the iron and back. However, because I did, I was able to see more low pain days.

Sewing is one of the things that I personally believe helped to get me to the low pain levels I experience today. The creative side of it saved my sanity. The movement back and forth saved my body.
Getting started.

I honestly believe that you don't need to go crazy out of your budget to get started. You just need basic equipment to just determine if this is something you think you want to get into.

Truly, we all could use a sewing machine in our houses. I can't tell you the times I've kept clothes from the bin with it. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Weirdly, a sewing machine is an investment that benefits you, your house, and frankly the environment. Besides it way cheaper to make your own throw pillows than to buy them!
My first sewing machine was the Brother Sewing and Quilting Machine. It made 10 quilts before it died so I counted that as a good investment. I have it listed below, along with some others that would do, just to see if you liked it. They are cheaper than an Xbox One...just sayin'



Alternatively, you can check Craig's List for sewing machine's. My #bubblegirltwinbff got a really expensive Janome (an awesome, bad ass sewing machine for those of you not in the know) for free. She checks the "free stuff" section daily and scored it because it was someone's grandmother's machine and they were moving and just wanted it gone.

Then you just need basics, a rotary cutter and mat, thread and needles, batting and such...


You also need to know what you are making, as I was saying last week, Skillshare has everything, including classes on quilting.

If you are interested, use my link and get 2 Free Premium Months. Signing up under my link is no cost to you at all and helps a starving health blogger out.

I found a perfect project to get your feet wet. Sew and Quilt a Handmade Tablerunner - a DIY Project - Skillshare

A table runner is a small quilt so you will learn all the skills you need to make a larger one, plus cool lingo like charm squares. Sounds charming right? Couldn't resist.

You should have an iron and ironing board, and you can use the kitchen counter if you don't have a table to cut fabric on. In fact, I sewed most of my quilts on a plastic folding table at grad school and when home at our table. Which I should clarify was not a big dining table, it was a round dinette set where I sewed.

When I knew this was going to be a lifelong habit, I upgraded everything, and you can too. Just find out if you like it first, and I think you will.
Me? I'm working on a quilt too. When we went to Hawaii I found a quilt shop in Maui. There is no better souvenir than me making a quilt from vintage Hawaiian fabric. Hopefully, I'll have the topper done by the end of the month. This one is a queen so I'm going to have to send it out to get it sandwiched together.

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