This is MS Awareness Week and several of us bloggers/quilters/MSers have joined forces to increase awareness of Multiple Sclerosis. Our goal is to inform and inspire by sharing our stories and our quilts in a fun way.
37" x 51"
machine pieced and quilted
© Diane Burdin, 1997
The mid 1990's were a particularly stressful time for me. Since stress aggravates MS, I’m not surprised that it lead to my first serious exacerbation, a curious numbness and tingling in my arm that lasted for months. Over time, other unusual symptoms began to appear: fatigue, dizziness, depression, all of which my doctor attributed to stress. His advice? Slow down. Make a concerted effort to relax. See a therapist!
Meanwhile, some friends had organized a quilt challenge. I joined in, hoping the creative exercise would help me relax. Typical of these design challenges, the theme fabric was a hard to use print, a wild "op art" pattern that made me dizzy if I looked at it too long. That became the theme of my quilt -- feeling "wonky."
It was the perfect opportunity to try Gwen Marsten's liberated piecing techniques for constructing wonky quilt blocks. I started with houses:
Now I was getting the hang of it. No right angles here!
I tried a church with stained glass windows and a wonky sun.
Here's our house, with William peeking out the upstairs window.
For interest, I scattered bits of theme fabric throughout the quilt and also included other types of blocks -- all "liberated" versions of traditional quilt patterns: log cabin, nine patch, flying geese and stars.
The thing about making a quilt this way is, you never have more than a general idea of how it will look when finished. Much like Multiple Sclerosis, it's hard to predict the course it will take. When faced with a challenging fabric or a challenging symptom of MS, the strategies for coping are much the same -- add a little something, trim a little something, adapt, change the plan. Chances are, you'll still create something beautiful.