Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Brain Injury Quilt :: Week 3 (15th Brain-aversary!)

January 21, 2019 marks 15th anniversary of the day I slipped on ice and broke my brain. My hubby wrote a nice post on this blog yesterday about what it's like being married to someone with a brain injury.  My own thoughts were a little too jumbled with emotions to write what I was feeling, though I have written about it in the past for my 10th anniversary and 9th anniversary.

It's kind of nice in a slightly morbid way that there is always a week in January that starts with my birthday and ends with celebrating the birth of Jen 2.0. 

The boys made me feel loved all day and after dinner, the server brought me a special cupcake.

Of course, it was this milestone of 15 years as a brain injury survivor that inspired this quilt project for 2019. For my January 21st block, I wanted to make something to denote the significance of the day. My free motion isn't good enough to make a brain, so I landed on a brain injury awareness ribbon. Unfortunately, my attempt at using an actual ribbon--only a 1/4" wide!--just aggravated my machine.

Next, I cut out a length of fabric and twisted it into a ribbon. It was pretty frayed given the skinny width, so I tried singe it like I would a ribbon. That was also a fail.

I also tried making cutting a 2D ribbon, but it ended up looking like a stick person with no arms.

Finally, I had the idea to make a binding strip to enclose the raw edges. Success!

I'm not sure how often I will make updates of my year's epic quilt, my TBI Temperature Quilt, but as long as I am making tweaks to the process, or do something new, I will share my thought process with an update. And I will make monthly updates to show progress and give a TBI tally to show how my brain injury has affected my ability to sew and my need to sleep each day. Of course, if our #tempquiltalong host, Twiddle Tails, has a weekly link up, I will do my best to make a weekly post.

Previous Updates:

As I started my third week of the quilt, I made one big format change that required re-doing some blocks, and I make my first special block. 

I started off the week with my 47th birthday. I decided I wanted to denote significant days, particularly ones related to my brain injury. My TBI was not severe that my life was ever in jeopardy, only the quality of my life. Still, I'm pretty happy to still be around celebrating my birthday. There was a brief period during my recovery when I felt like I was losing everything and I wondered what value I could still contribute to the world. I am very grateful that I have made a family with husband, Niels, and our son, D. And of course, quilting has made me a giver in a way that balances all the ways I am a taker in so many ways. 

I kept the icon simple. Just an appliqued 47.

While I was sewing those teeny tiny stitches (the width of each line of the letters is only 1/4"!), I realized that I made a mistake in how I arranged the centers of my geese. 

This makes a lot more sense because if the center of my goose is gray, it points down, and I can easily see that I did not sew that day. If the center is purple, then it points up, and I know I did sew that day.

Of course that meant I had to redo my birthday block. Did I mention how tiny the numbers are?

The other change has to do with my border idea. I have been the HSTs from clipping the wings and turning them into chevrons.

I wasn't loving the way that looked, so I came up with the idea of sorting them by the center triangle (how I felt that day). Something like this, with a row for each center color, and travel days (not to scale below) on the sides. 

So I took apart the HSTs that I had just sewed together the day before and sorted them by center color.

But then, because I changed the centers, I had to redo the light grays and light purples. Argh!!

Time-consuming, but I like this better.

I made myself some reminders so I don't mess up in the future. Even though we usually "high and low" instead of "low and high" when referring to temperatures, it makes sense to me that visually, the low temperature would be on left and the high on the right.

For the border chevrons, I usued the same idea. The higher side of the chevron is the higher temperature and the lower half is the lower temperature,

Here's to good days ahead and no more changes!!

TBI Tally, as of January 21:

Follow along with the progress of this quilt on Instagram at #TBITempQuilt. I'd love the encouragement to keep me working on the rough days! You can use the hashtag #tempquiltalong to see what other quilters are doing. To see what I'm currently working on, follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

Linked to:
Temp Quilt Along (Week 3) @ Twiddle Tails (click here to see other temperature quilts)

Color & Inspiration Tuesday @ The Clever Chameleon
Linky Tuesday @ Free Motion By the River
To Do Tuesday @ Stitch All the Things

Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss @ The Inquiring Quilter

Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation

Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Scrappy Happy Saturday @ So Scrappy
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
UFO Busting @ The Madd Quilter

Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework

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  1. Happy Birthday Jen, you are a brave and wonderful person!

  2. I would like you to know how inspired I am by reading your blog and watching you and others make this quilt. My sister suffered a severe brain injury almost 10 years ago now. Her aneurysm was a level 5 subarachnoid hemorrhage and it was a permanent disability. There are things that is hard to watch her doing and it is inspiring to see people making monumental changes with their new sitautions.

  3. I really love your temperature quilt and all the things it will tell you at a glance! Visually, it is the most beautiful temperature quilt I have ever seen! You have some so far in your impressive journey to reclaim your life. Happy Birthday!!!

  4. Your story is inspiring. My mom had a brain injury of a different sort due to a stroke, and I remember watching her change before our eyes. I am so proud of you, and I love the quilts you are making!

  5. I love the energy you're putting into this quilt - it will certainly be a treasure. And cheers to 47 - I feel the same way, that it's awesome I've made it this far. Here's to great days ahead!

  6. I like your changes! Tweaking this as you go along may require a bit of unsewing now and then, but the result will be a quilt that is uniquely you! Thanks for sharing your journey on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  7. Love your sense of humor and perseverance. The temperature quilt is particularly intriguing.

  8. Hello Jen, Connie from Freemotion By The River sent me a link. Jen, I have TBI and have been dealing with all of the conditions that go along with it for 38 years. My brain injury occurred when I was thrown though the window of a vehicle during an accident. The memory section of my brain suffered the most damage, but throughout the years so many traumatic conditions have taken place due to the brain damage, every aspect of my life has been effected.

    1. Hi Brenda! I'm so glad you stopped by! (Thank you, Connie!). I was just writing on Instagram today that part of my goal in making this quilt was to create a tangible way of showing the effects of an intangible injury. What has surprised me is that I'm also educating myself. You would think that after 15 years I would have a full grasp of my injury, and yet, seeing just one month in living color has been really startling to me.

  9. I love the addition of the ribbon and 47. Applique is such a great solution to added fun details to special days on the quilt. I am loving watching this quilt come together!

  10. This is a wonderful adaptation of a temperature quilt. I am so impressed with the way you’re able to do those flying geese. I always get them put upside down or backwards. Keep up the good work!

    1. I have the flying geese ruler from Creative Grids (https://amzn.to/2WsCCxJ). It's been a godsend this year. Mine were always wonky before!

  11. I really like how you are adding extras to the block to denote significant days. The ribbon and the 47 are perfect! Happy Birthday[s]!

  12. Happy birthday Jen! Your changes all look great. This quilt is going to be a real mine of information for you to look back on when you're done!


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