Visually Impaired Quilting 2

I met Mary years ago. She had broken her wrist and wasn’t able to cook for herself. At that time I was delivering Meals on Wheels and was blessed to have her added to my list. We both share a strong faith and became quick friends and prayer partners. I soon learned she also sewed and when she discovered I taught quilting she signed up for a class.

Mary does wonderful work, but over the years her macular degeneration has made sewing increasingly difficult. She perseveres, piecing by machine and quilting by hand. Recently she asked me to help her to quilt a lap sized, scrappy rail fence quilt and I was happy to do it. She already had it layered when I got there and she told me to do whatever I wanted, so I brought it home and chose to spiral quilt in the blocks (of course – it’s my favorite free motion pattern).

Then I chose to straight line “piano key” quilt the wide border. I had an ulterior motive – I wanted to play with my “Line Tamer” ruler from “Four Paws Quilting” (click here for their website). It makes straight line quilting on a free motion machine almost fool proof. It works well on a domestic machine with a ruler foot too! Stitching in the ditch between the borders was a breeze because the channel in the ruler keeps things lined up exactly where you want them.

When I’d get to the spot where I wanted to turn perpendicular to the inner border and channel quilt I simply rotated the ruler, lined it up parallel to the last quilting line and continued stitching.

The floral fabric makes the stitching lines a bit difficult to see, but I hope you get the picture.

So here’s the part that made me laugh out loud. Mike didn’t know I was doing this for Mary. During the quilting process I would lay her quilt out on the floor when taking a break.

At one point I ran upstairs to get a cup of tea and when I came down Mike had come in from outside and was looking at the quilt. He said “now that’s a quilt I can relate to, it looks like a real quilt”.

I guess I’ve overwhelmed him with my art quilts lately 😀 ! I think he felt badly when I told him it was Mary’s quilt because he thought he’d hurt my feelings, but I thought it was hilarious. I love traditional quilts as much as I do fiber art, even though I’ve obviously been doing more art quilting lately.

When I returned Mary’s quilt to her I told her the story about Mike and she loved it! Since Maria was kind enough to let me give one of her Quick Threading needles to Mary – I presented it to her with the quilt and she was intrigued. She told me she’d give it a try and let me know what she thinks. Mary has a needle threader built into her sewing machine, but every so often the wire in it bends and then she’s out of luck. I think these needles will be a nice back up for her.

Mary is going to do the squaring up and binding on her quilt and give it to her brother and sister-in-law for their anniversary. I’m sure they’ll love it.

Next week I’m planning one last post in this series. Stay tuned – I know you won’t want to miss it!

Oh – just one more picture. This is Maria’s most recent quilt:

She began it in Open Lab from a picture she found on the internet. She used a gridded fusible interfacing as her base and cut up squares from a bright Jellyroll™ of 2″ strips. She then added some additional batiks Jean brought in for her (the friends in my Open Lab are really good at sharing). I’ve never seen Maria so joyful over a quilt. She really enjoyed the entire process and I think her joy shows in the quilt. Great job Maria!

6 Opinions

  • dixie loynachan said:

    I love your writings about what visually impaired people in the quilt world are doing. I believe there are more of us than many might imagine. I am 73 and have quilted for many years. I taught quilting as I was learning and belong to 3 guilds at present. It is helpful to read about how others are coping. I was happy to be aware of the easy to thread needles. My eye disease is a genetic one that gradually gets worse. It doesn’t have a name yet but is similar to stargarts. I visit Iowa City researchers yearly and get an update on it’s progress–OR give them an update on it. Ha! Keep on keeping us informed of what’s going on in your corner of the quilt world.

  • dixie loynachan said:

    Is there a way to read other comments?

  • Chris said:

    Dixie, Thanks for your comments. So far you are the only comment on this week’s post. If you are on a single post of my blog all comments are at the bottom of that post. If you are on my entire site (you can read past posts by continuing to scroll down), you won’t be able to access the comments unless you click on the title of the post you are interested in and scroll to the bottom of that post. That’s how to open a single post and it is the only way to see the comments. I’m not sure why wordpress does it this way, but now you know the secret :-).

  • Nancy Johnson admin

    I just read about the easy sewing machine needles and I am so excited as I have difficulty seeing the eye of my sewing needle, too. I also found regular needles that have a split on the top of the eye to allow the thread to slip into the eye. I use these for hand sewing. The only time I have had a problem with them is when I’m trying to gather an item and then the thread pulled out of the needle.
    Thanks for featuring these needles.

  • clkquilt admin

    Hi Nancy, I like to use self threading hand needles to bury my thread tails. The ones that split at the top are ok, but I prefer Spiral Eye needles. I don’t think they would unthread when gathering by hand. I did a post about them a few years ago. You can view that post at this address Their website is:

  • Laurie said:

    Wonderful quilts!! I love learning about what’s available out there. Now if I could keep from having all these surgeries maybe I could get to sew much more. 😊


Share opinions



You may use these HTML tags and attributes to empatize your opinion:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>