Bonnie Briscoe's first quilt was started in October 2001. "My next door neighbor, Barbara Murdoch, quilts and thought I should do the same. I bought fabric, cut out pieces for a king sized quilt.
I had piles of triangles and squares. It took me until January of 2003 to get it done."
This was quite an accomplishment as Bonnie had a stroke in 1997 and to this day has not had the use of her right hand. She had to become left-handed.
"I hand-quilted the entire thing. The needle needed to be pushed down through the fabric then reach under and pull up each stitch. A small plastic frame needed to be moved over and over again. That was an ambitious project for a first attempt. I started it and had to finish it. From then on I don't hand quilt, I have a Pfaff sewing machine and use it for all my stitching now."
About the time that first quilt was finished, she started going to Surface Creek Quilters. Meetings are held once a month and quilters there put together "care" quilts for fire victims, cancer patients, and veterans. Other than that she makes quilts for all her grand-babies, family members, and friends. It keeps her busy, especially in the winter when she can't get outside.
Bonnie tells, "My stroke affected my entire right side. I was sent to St. Mary's Hospital and was there for two weeks, went home then returned for an operation on my carotid artery, the artery was over 95 percent blocked.
"Three years of physical and speech therapy followed. The speech therapist started me on the computer and that was a great help. He would give me papers with shapes printed on them and I had to make the same shapes on the computer. It taught me to type with my left hand, and it taught me to think. It was like little kid stuff but was a great help.
"At first I was in a wheelchair. My husband, Steven, had to do everything for me, tie my shoes and all other two hand tasks. Therapy helped. I learned to tie my shoes and other everyday tasks with one hand."
When Bonnie decided she wanted to drive, she waited until her husband went to work during the day, then would go outside, get in her van and drive around and around the driveway.
She was unable to return to work but needed to keep busy. That's why she started quilting. Then she took a stained glass class from a good friend Barbara Hladik and got involved with that. Her husband has been a great help in helping find items that can be adapted to make use of her abilities. Clamps used in woodworking grip her workboard onto the table for a workspace. Clamps hold the glass too. She draws the pattern, clamps, cuts, sands, foils, burnishes, and solders, puts a chain on the finished piece and hangs it up.
She has made ornaments, a bird, butterflies, a ladybug, and boxes for family gifts. Several of her creations are displayed in windows of her home.
Riding horseback for the first time since her stroke was one of her more recent challenges. She said she was pushed and pulled and finally got her leg over the horse and her feet into the stirrups. She rode him okay...he was a gentle horse and she thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Getting off wasn't easy.
"I thought I wanted a horse," she said, "maybe not!"
Bonnie has been exercising in Delta at No Limit Training Gym working on building up strength. Exercises have been modified so she can do them. She can walk and does...up and down the driveway. She needs to concentrate so as not to turn her ankle.
"Everything I do," she said, "I have to think about it before I do it, even stepping up onto a curb takes thought. Therapy has helped and adaption has made it possible to do many things that I enjoy. It might take me a little longer than most people...but with thought and determination I will get things done. If I find something I really want to do I will find a way to do it, especially if I have a good teacher. I've thought about drawing or painting but right now I'm keeping pretty busy with what I can do.
"I think of stained glass and quilt making as therapy and I can be creative with them too. And I'm learning new things with each quilt and stained glass project. There are so many patterns and colors to try. All of it is a daily challenge!"blog comments powered by Disqus