Visually Impaired Quilting

I have three friends who make wonderful quilts in spite of the fact they are visually impaired.

Maria suffers from Psuedo Tumor Crebri which is internal hypertension of the brain, and she has had three brain surgeries. In Maria’s own words her vision has become “very dark”. She attends my Open Labs at WCTC and we are all inspired by the beautiful quilts she makes.

Maria’s Sampler

You may remember a post I featured her in previously called “Quilting Time”. In it I shared her quilts and her unique ideas about time (click here to read that post).

During the past year her vision has not been improving and she’s had to face the fact it may never get better. She’s started a support group for visually impaired, low vision and blind individuals in southeastern Wisconsin (see below for more information) and she’s discovering ways to continue quilting in spite of her disability. Recently she was given a pack of “Quick Threading” sewing machine needles.

She brought them to class and asked me to try them out. I was delighted!

I tried both piecing and machine guided machine quilting with them and I think they’re great. The needles have an opening on the right side of the eye

for the thread to pop through:

To thread them you simply put the needle into the machine, hold the thread behind and in front, placing the thread along the right side of the needle,

and run the thread down the needle until it pops into place.

Be sure to thread from front to back (it’s easy to get confused when threading differently from what we’re used to).

This is a size 80 needle and I tested it with different weight threads. Thin threads popped out quite easily and were frustrating, but medium weight threads worked fine. It would be best to try each thread on a sample to see if it will work before using it in a project.

I did a quick check on availability and JoAnn’s, Walmart and Amazon all have them on-line.

Maria told me there were no support groups for the visually impaired nearby and so she decided to start one. The group is called “Insight Resilience” and all are welcome. She said it is for people who’s life has been changed because of their vision issues or the vision problems of a friend or loved one. The meetings are held the fourth Friday of each month from 11:30 am to 1 pm in room 110 of Waukesha County Technical College, 327 E. Broadway, Waukesha. Their motto is “just because you’ve lost your sight doesn’t mean you’ve lost your vision”. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from this group feel free to drop in. You may call Maria at (262)547-6670 for more information.

I can’t wait to share these needles with my dear friend Mary who suffers from Macular Degeneration. I recently helped her with a project and I’ll share her story in next week’s post!


3 Opinions

  • Dolores Hausmann said:

    Thank you, thank you for doing this series. My macular degeneration has recently flared up and I am getting close to being impared. I am continuing my quilting and woodcarving as long as I can so it is really good to get this information. I am especially looking forward to next week’s blog. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • Cheryl Parker said:

    Thanks for this post. I just sent it to a quilter I know, that has Macular Degeneration. Hope it helps her.

    Reply
  • Shellie admin

    Many thanks for this week’s blog. I passed it along to a friend who’s a quilter with macular degeneration. She is so very excited about the self-threading machine needles – her machine’s self-threader doesn’t work. You’ve done a great service, to pass this information along.

    Reply

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