Monday, March 06, 2017

Retreat prep and MS awareness

I love going on quilt retreats however I have found them more challenging with my MS.

First, the noise!  I love being a room full of quilters but that is never quiet.  The constant talking, laughing, and occasional screams (a finish!) for a person with MS is exhausting!  It isn't just with quilters.  It takes a lot of energy to process constant stimulation like this and it happens when I go to other workshops.

So I try to keep my projects simple.  I know I'll have difficulty focusing and that I will tire quickly so I avoid projects that require a lot of thought.  For our next retreat I'm packing up this Pat Sloan project that pretty much uses two sizes of squares...and since it is scrappy no problem with putting a fabric in the wrong place!

Also, I don't start a new project from scratch.  When fatigue hits there are cognitive difficulties.  I remember one year when I was embroidering a witches hat...I must have spent an hour reading and rereading and rereading directions!  Sometimes there isn't enough coffee on earth to make things make sense...that is when a hand quilting project (already marked) is great...following lines with one type of stitch is sometimes all I can handle!  Also when hand quilting no getting up and down to go to the ironing stations!

Which leads to my second point...kit up as much as possible.  For the Traffic Jam  Quilt I have cut a quilter's bazillion 2-1/2 inch squares...made about 80 four patches and even made a few of the finished blocks.  This means as little thought and movements as possible (now if they could just set up a caffeine IV I'd be set!)

And just in case always have a backup project.  So say my leg is a but numb so even the walk to the ironing station is tough and my eye is wonky so I can't thread the needle to do hand quilting...go to project number 3.  For this retreat I have a stack of 10-inch squares (mostly from my stash with a few cake layer squares) that I will trace a huge hexagon onto.

So MS just requires a bit more planning...and coffee...




13 comments:

Janet O. said...

I admire that even though there are hard things about going to a retreat, you don't just decide to stay home. You have figured out your limitations, you know what you can handle, and you come prepared for most contingencies. I salute you!

Sue SA said...

Thanks for sharing, MS is not a illness I know anything about, so it is good to know how different it is for everyone.

Lin McQ said...

I am inspired and humbled by your story. Bravo to you for being so prepared and going on a fun retreat, not letting this get you down. Have a great time.

sandra said...

These are very helpful tips for anyone with a serious chronic illness.They enable us to still do the things that give us joy. Thank you for sharing.

sandra said...

These are very helpful tips for anyone with a serious chronic illness.They enable us to still do the things that give us joy. Thank you for sharing.

Chantal L. said...

I admire your fortitude. Not letting this disease take the fun out of your life is very inspiring. I wish you a lot of fun at this retreat. And then a long rest. ;^)

Karen said...

I don't know a lot about MS. I can understand it can present some challenges in a group situation. Good for you that you keep going and find ways to work around those challenges.

Kleine Vingers said...

Not having MS but a chronic disease your story is like you talk about me, so familiar and havind simular problems.
I find the clover quiltdome useful, I can take ten needles already with tread so no fiddeling and just follow the quilt line. And complecated projects I can do at home when I feel well.

Sewing Junkie said...

My Father had MS. It was 40 plus years ago and they didn't have the medications that they do today. So I can identify with what you are describing. One thing we learned from the experience and is true with any situation is stay as active as you can and yet realize your limits. I admire you that you can sew and do the quilting you do. Hope you enjoy your retreat. Chris

julieQ said...

I look at our hospital census and pick out the MS and ALS patients, and make a point to visit them during their stay. Mom had ALS...

Sounds like you are making the best of it! Love your quilt!

Barb said...

Thanks for sharing your personal story about MS.
It is always surprising to me how many symptoms accompany this disease.
Great ideas and tips for making any retreat or workshop easy and fun.
I'm so glad you are not giving up the things you love because it is difficult - cheers to you.

Gypsy Quilter said...

You've picked some very pretty fabrics to work with. Very glad you're getting away with a fun group and can enjoy some time to totally focus on something fun.

Jill said...

Quilt workshops affect me the same way, and I don't have MS. Next week I will go on my first overnight retreat, however, it is what I hope to be in a quiet setting. Love your heart quilt.