Christmas with any illness is never fun. The tiredness and the fatigue, no time or energy to do the countless tasks we all feel that are required. However, Christmas with a chronic illness or condition is even harder.
I am a “Spoonie”. Based on the spoon theory, everyone starts the day with the same amount of spoons but each task requires different amounts of spoons. For example, making a drink on a good day will only use two teaspoons of energy; on a bad day, that same task may require me to use two tablespoons of energy. Every task is marked with a spoon rating depending on the day. When out of spoons I need to rest, regardless of the time.
Every year I tell myself the same thing that I will prepare for Christmas early. After all, it is not as if the date changes every year. I aimed to start in September; however, that month came and went with the preparation of the London Comic Convention, which I have discussed in another blog.
The remainder of October I slept, recovering from the weekend and November was a right off due to family issues, which induced a big flare up, and I slept through that month. After gaining enough energy, I was able to attend the Harrogate Stitch and Knit Show on the 25th November 2018.
It is the beginning of panic mode. Christmas is nearly here. I cannot plan one day to the next let alone make a “making schedule for what I need to do”. We have zero money to buy the endless countless tacky items shoved in our faces by the shops. Blessed with great and supportive friends and family, my motto is, “if I cannot make it, you do not get it.”
When factoring in the making of gifts I need to factor in how many spoons each task will cost me. With time running out I need to pick my choices wisely as I always need to keep some in reserve.
As I am able to write this, my head is clearing and the fatigue is ebbing slightly. I have picked a few of the projects I have been able to do that will allow me to spread my spoon usage, by using my embroidery machine. As some of these designs can take hours to stitch out, I am able to multitask and do smaller jobs around my machine or even other presents, or if my spoons are low, sleep.
Completed over the course of a week, allowing for the different sections – 73 minutes on average stitch out time per section – and drying time, I made this Free Standing Lace tea tree light angel purchased from Embroidery Library. I could do this while watching television and thus save some spoons here.
For those not familiar with Free Standing Lace, it is embroidery done on embroidery machine on water-soluble stabiliser and once the project is finished the stabiliser washes away, once dry the embroidery looks like lace.
Then sticking with the theme of Free Standing Lace, I made this tea light Christmas tree; again, I purchased the design file from Embroidery Library. The stitch out time was over 173 minutes. When not able to be in the room I turned off the machine and left the design in the hoop. I have a Janome 500e and that allows me to start again where I last stopped. This has been a great help for my spoon usage. My husband has made me a machine riser so that I can stand or use my special chair with it. Thus saving even more spoons, some days I have to move around and others I need to sit.
Like most sewists, quilters and crafters, I have a stack of fabric and what better way to use up scraps or fat quarters than with a nice quilted centrepiece for a table. I avoided Christmas fabrics so that this present has all year use.
This Floral Topper, is an In The Hoop design by Kreative Kiwi. This means that even on my bad days, I do not need much planning and preparation as the designer has done this for me. It still requires a lot of hoop work, but the design is well worth it. It has twelve separate hoopings. I was able to do this all in an evening, but had I been in flare up mode, it could off been something that I could of done over a few days. Another project that allows spoon saving.
Another thing that I find is quick and easy to make is napkins. I have used a square of Damsk and using my smallest hoop I added an embroidery design in one corner and then gave the whole Item a rolled hem using woolly nylon and my overlocker.
I have managed to buy presents, with the aid of online retailers and my family helping me out and about. There are still a few more projects, which I need to make; I hope that my spoons will allow me to do this.
Last year I made batches of shortbread, which I divided into plastic tubs, saved from the Chinese takeout we had throughout the year, this is was a small present to everyone, but it showed that I cared without breaking the bank. I may do this again this year, spoons allowing.
My spoons are nearly gone for today, just enough left for me to shower and go to bed. However, a note to self, start Christmas in January. Although I do not think that will happen as my memory issues will mean I will forget where I put them or even that I have made them in the first place.
Thank you for reading my blog throughout the year and being patient with me when I had not written anything because my spoons had been lost, borrowed or used up.
Season Greetings for those that celebrate it and for those that do not, I wish happiness and peace to you too.