Thursday, July 9, 2015

Living with Dysautonomia and Sewing Solutions to Continue On

I feel as though I have been through a storm and am recovering from PTLD (Post Traumatic Life Disorder).

The past few months have been filled with a very long and emotional journey which as of today could finally be wrapped up and put away. I now choose to face the next journey life has to offer with new energy and a bright outlook, for I refuse to let the difficulties and disappointments of life get me down.

I just came back last from a little mini-vacation with my husband where we spent some beautiful peaceful time on an island in the Puget Sound area. This was the view from the backyard.


We were able to relax and fill our days with whatever we wanted. We visited museums, enjoyed the variety of spectacular views that the countryside had to offer, shared some delicious meals, relaxed some more and I sewed as my husband read to me from a book we are reading together. Yes, my husband reads to me. Really romantic in my view. We both enjoy the process.

~~~~

I wanted to share some of the projects I have been working on, but first, I must share the back story: I have been sewing a lot by hand lately to help with some complications I have been having neurologically as of late. The past couple of years, I have been having to deal with a rather complex health issue, all complications of my genetic heart condition. I do not have heart disease, in fact my heart is "healthy" and to quote my cardiologist, my arteries are "clean as a whistle". The problem is electronic, and because of my heart choosing to beat to its own drummer so to speak, my nervous system is overloaded and causing problems with all of the areas of my body that are controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The umbrella term is Dysautonomia, meaning "a rare disorder of the autonomic nervous system". I can lose my ability to think clearly and become very lethargic, stumble when I walk or lose my balance, have tremors in my hands or not be able to use my hands all together, have "twitches" in my diaphragm causing me to not be able to breathe, seizures, digestive issues, muscle control... the list goes on and on.

Last Summer, we went from Doctor to Doctor searching for solutions to help me to be able to simply live a life as close to "normal" as possible. We finally found a Chiropractic Neurologist that was ready to face my problems head on and help us find some solutions to bring my body back to something that somewhat resembles normalcy. We began exercises and routines to help to create new brain pathways and re-train my brain and nervous system to be able to function properly. One of the solutions we have found was for me to concentrate on actions that require me using my right hand. Sewing by hand has allowed me to focus my brain on the task resulting in being able to help control the seizures and lessen the neurological episodes that I am plagued with. So to put it bluntly, sewing is my therapy.

Enough of the story, now to the fun stuff ~

Here is a pincushion I hand pieced and embroidered a few months ago:

I used scraps that were left over from a couple of other hand sewing projects I have been currently working on.

I have 2 hand projects in production right now using Downton Abbey fabrics in both the inspiration and the making there of. I wanted to choose "older" patterns that look as though they could have been made in the teens and twenties of the 1900's in order for the DA fabrics and others that I consider more "period-esque" to be viewed as perhaps more appropriate in the production of those patterns.


The first is a hexagon flower that I have paper-pieced and placed it in a "pot" with stem and leaf. It will be a finished 10" square on point and I plan to add sashing and borders. I am considering adding some embroidery touches to the flower and leaves as well.


The second is a dresden plate with a purple center and raspberry sashing. I currently have a center of 9 blocks (each measuring 10" finished) that are surrounded by a narrow piano key sashing. I will be finishing it out to measure 7 blocks square and I will tie it all together with a 5" piano key border.


I will now go and partake in a little more "therapy" now. ~

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Quilt for a Wedding

A Wedding Blessing


I finished a quilt on Friday and gifted it to my oldest friend (we have been friends since we were 4) in celebration of her wedding yesterday.


It is a 4-patch strip quilt. I quilted the 4-patch strips in a meandering stitch to represent the twisting and turning of life, and the solid strips were quilted in "bricks" that fit together and create a "foundation" in between the colored bits and pieces of the 4-patches.

The back is simply off-white with a strip of the same maroon fabric from the front with strips of 2 1/2" squares.


I included a blessing for their marriage.


On to the next UFO to be finished.


Lavonna ZWB

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jonas' Quilt

My latest quilt I just finished for my 16 year old son.



My husband has challenged me to complete all of my UFOs. This project is one I initially began in 2001 and then put the blocks in a ziplock for years. I finally completed them for my son as a Chiristmas gift, 2013. Ok, so it took me until July to get it done - took me a while due to my illness over the last 6 months, but hey, now it is done!



The pattern is my own along with the outside border design. The quilt was made using a lot of charm squares that I had traded in the late 90s. It uses a 4 patch center, dark and light fabrics along with teal squares.



There is a teal square throughout the design creating a chain and 9 patch effect. The border is a zigzag pattern of dark "flying geese" triangles that is found in the basic quilt square design. I chose to put it in the border to tie the entire quilt together. The teal 9 patch is also in the corners to complete the theme. I quilted it in a grey stipple design.

Thanks for stopping by!



Lavonna ZWB

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pathway to Healing

Pathway to Healing


It has been a long time since I have had the opportunity to quilt, let alone blog. I have had a very busy school year. I've been working full time (which is wonderful), but I have also been struggling for the past 4 1/2 months with some very frustrating health issues. I believe I am finally coming to the end of the frustrations, meaning that we are close to a diagnosis, but we are certainly not done with the illness. If it is what we believe it is, there is no cure and there is no "getting better". I will have to learn to manage all the symptoms and try my best to make the most of the good moments that I do have. I need not go into the details here - this blog is here for other purposes.


I would like to present my latest quilt which I have entitled, "Pathway to Healing". It is based upon a simple Jacob's Ladder or Buckeye Beauty block which contains Two 4-patches and 2 Half Triangles.



Buckeye Beauty






I made 24 blocks for the center using a variety of colors from the last of many charm blocks that I had traded and received about 20 years ago. I needed a pattern that I could use both dark and medium colors against a light silver background that I used as a backing in a previous quilt.

I then made some additions to the outside edge creating a finished edge. I added a 2" border in green, repeated the "alternate pattern" in the border and then another 2" border in green for the outside edge. It is bound in the same green.

The main body of the quilt is quilted in spirals to represent the confusion and dizziness that I currently have to deal with with my illness. In the green borders, there are 2 wavy lines quilted in, and in the main border, the spirals are continued and then the wavy lines continued in the outside green border. 

I feel that the continuation of the 2" squares across the quilt creates the "pathway" across the quilt. One can choose to change to another path of squares if they wanted I suppose, for the movement continues throughout the quilt design, however some of the pathways come to a dead end. Just like I have had to come to many "dead ends" in my search for a diagnosis and cure for my illness. We may not have a cure, but I still choose the pathway toward healing and I choose to not let it stop me from enjoying my life in the process.






I find that quilting for me, IS my healing. I enjoy creating quilts so much that they are truly what help me to get through each day having to deal with a chronic illness. I choose instead to let the creative process help me in my healing and in having to cope with my new disability. The opportunity to express myself through fabric and create something that can be used is so very important to me. I strive to do it whenever I am able.

I am a lover of scrap quilts. Being able to take small pieces of fabric, putting them together and creating a beautiful quilt that can be used and loved by others brings me such joy. It represents my life, really. The broken pieces and small colorful bits are combined together to create a thing of beauty. My hope is that my life then can be used and loved by others and in turn bring them joy as the making of quilts brings to me.

Thank you for visiting today. May you be able to create beauty in some way today, whether it be by quilting, writing or even perhaps giving someone a smile. That too can be a thing of beauty.

Lavonna ZWB

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The making of a Quilt for Quiltmaker... blog #8 - Partytime!

It is time! 

The Quiltmaker's Back to School Party starts on Monday!


BTS13 logo 400 287x300 Back to School Party Preparations


I can FINALLY reveal to you the pattern for the project. Here is the pattern called Playground;  
designed by  Denise Russart.

BTS13 quiltfullsize Back to School Party Preparations


Here is a sample of the front of my quilt (photo taken by the professionals at Quiltmaker).

kaufmanBTS Back to School Party Preparations


My quilt will be featured on Quiltmaker's Blog on Friday the 20th.

To read about it NOW, click HERE.


Here are some more photos of my quiltmaking process:


Two blocks.



Lots of really beautiful colors.


One HAPPY quilter. :)

Join me for the Party, won't you?


Saturday, August 24, 2013

The making of a Quilt for Quiltmaker... blog #7

And NOW, the continuing saga of a Quilt made for Quiltmaker magazine....


As the days of Summer begin to come to a close, I am happy to report that I will actually have a job to go to next week! (I am a Public School Music Teacher by trade and was laid off by my District in June - 2nd time since 2009). It will be nice to actually be going "Back to School". Yea. Now enough of that.

Speaking of going Back to School, let's tune in to our next installment of What does the front of this Quilt made for Quiltmaker's Back to School Party actually LOOK like? 


In a previous installment, I have stated  that there are "12 colors" that were used in my version of the quilt. Well, in that block, they are surrounded by that lovely chocolate brown. This is where the "throw-away triangles" came in. You know, the ones that a Scrap Quilter like me can't stand to "throw away!" That is why I HAD to use them and incorporate them into the back of my quilt or I would go crazy. Can't have waste!


You see, these Stars have absolutely NOTHIN' to do with the pattern on the front of the Quilt 
what-so-ever! 

I am so cruel.

Another thing that was completely different about this quilt that I have never encountered before was the outside edge of the quilt before the border. See how the border is right up there against the corners of the 2 squares? Let me tell you this: you cut absolutely NO triangles to be a part of this quilt. Hmmmm... interesting, and yet you SEE triangles there, don't you? (by the way, I included this close up picture showing the "not so precise matching up of my squares" just to make you feel better). Yup. Its true. I am not perfect. There. 
It is out in the open for all to see. {GASP!}


There you go. Today's installment.

Stay tuned... will our Quilter use a needle and thread to save the world? 

Hey, it can happen.

:P


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The making of a Quilt for Quiltmaker... blog #6

All of the other ladies that are a part of the Quiltmaker Back to School Party are now finishing up their quilts and are sending them off to Colorado to be photographed. It is getting pretty exciting to see all of this come together. Everyone's quilt is so different due to the choice of fabrics and quilting design, but the basic pattern is exactly the same. Each one is beautiful to behold. 

Once again, I am somewhat blown away about being able to be a part of the entire project. I feel so honored to be chosen to partake in such an event.

And now for today's installment of "hints as to what the front of this quilt could actually LOOK like!"... The main fabrics that are used in the making of  my version of this quilt consist of a beautiful chocolate brown (have I mentioned before that I am fond of chocolate?), a very bold grey floral, and a blue-grey subtle stripe.



The "pattern" part of the quilt consists of 12 different fabrics used to create the design. I was given a lovely array of colors of the rainbow of Robert Kaufman fabrics to use in my quilt.



So that is today's hint. There are 3 "base" fabrics and 12 "pattern" fabrics used in this quilt. 

Ta Da!...

I know. You want more. Then stay tuned! 

Quiltmaker's Back to School Party is September 16th - 20th!