Post written by ChronicBabe Tracy Mooney

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About a year and a half ago, I was talking to one of my sewing buddies on the phone. We both have autoimmune disorders and we were discussing the ways in which we set up our sewing rooms to accommodate our bad health days.


She said something like “It is unbelievable what we are willing to do just to keep sewing!”


I countered with “But we have already given up so much! Why would we give up something that brings us so much joy???”


As a senior editor for the quilting magazine Generation Q, I travel to buyer’s conventions like Quilt Market and VDTA/SDTA. I found myself often saying to manufacturers “You know, you can market this to people in wheelchairs, people with tremors, and people with arthritis.” Somewhere in these moments is where it became my unconscious mission to help our community keep sewing.


I realized the importance of continuing to do the things we love when faced with chronic illness. Being diagnosed with an incurable disease and facing chronic pain on the daily is incredibly difficult to process. It is so easy to fall into depression. It is so easy to give up hope.


Perhaps you sew, or love something else. Perhaps you are a runner, build models, paint, dance, garden, love woodworking, or car restoration – it doesn’t matter what your hobby is – it just matters that you keep doing it.


For me, I look for ways and products that help sewing enthusiasts modify the way they sew. This can be special glasses that help them see better, guides that fit on their machines to help keep the fabric steady, or even managing break time with ice breaks to minimize pain. What can you do to modify your favorite hobby ChronicBabe-style?

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Tracy learned how to do English Paper Piecing technique on a machine, which is easier on her hands.


Recently, a friend of mine was experiencing a flare and found that she couldn’t join her running club. She was worried that she was missing out on social time with her friends and that they would move on without her. I suggested she look at other ways to participate. So she contacted the organizer and found they needed help setting up drinking stations. She was thrilled. She could still visit with her buds even if she couldn’t run because of a flare.


Some of my readers love quilting, but when they are in a flare don’t have the energy or physical stamina to sew. One creative ChronicBabe said she would stroke and refold her fabric collection. Another said she would sort and choose fabrics for her next project.


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Be creative! Think outside the box! What is it that you love most about your hobby? And how can you modify that activity within the confines of your illness? Is it the social aspect that you enjoy and can you somehow stay involved? Or is it the physical activity that you love? Is there a product or adjustment you can make that will help?


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What can you do today that moves you back toward your favorite hobby? I bet just daydreaming about the possibilities will put a smile on your face.

**This is the fourth of many in a guest contributor series. If you would like to be considered as a guest writer for ChronicBabe, visit this link.**


And make sure to check out Tracy’s Instagram where she posts her beautiful creations here and her blog here and her FaceBook page here!