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Thread: Help for a friend that had stroke

  1. #1
    Super Member jetayre's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Help for a friend that had stroke

    This Board has been so helpful to others that I thought I'd try to help a friend. She used to quilt and did many other things. She had a stroke that paralized her right side (arm and leg). She has recovered some but is in a wheelchair. She does live alone. Has few neighbors so would like to find something she likes to do so she could do them again. Does any one have any ideas how she can push material so she can sew on machine? Also any ideas to hold material to cut it. I have been trying to think of something for a year. She does most of things now on the computer and that can be boring after a while. Thanks for any ideas.

  2. #2
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    If she can afford pre-cuts or the machine to cut fabrics that would be a way to avoid having to cut fabric. She could sew using one hand but it will be more difficult. Is she a puzzle person? I love doing puzzles and they would be do-able.

  3. #3
    Super Member jetayre's Avatar
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    She has tried the sewing with one hand but cannot keep material in place.

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    For cutting, I would think the precuts would be her best option ..... or to find a friend!
    Perhaps you could cut for her, and make a kit that's ready for her to stitch?

    For sewing, I know you said she has tried ... I'm thinking perhaps this is where the practice practice practice that we all hear so often, comes into play. She may be saying she "cannot" do it, as she is expecting the perfection of her past and needs to allow herself permission for a little lower standards for awhile. She may be seeing it only as another frustration and disappointment in the new life that she has been forced to live. Can you give her more encouragement to try try again?

    Larger pieces to put together will be more forgiving than smaller in that they would not be so fiddly to work with. For fabric choice, I would think a heavier cotton would be easier for her to work with than some of the very thin, fine ones on the market. And/Or before cutting, if the fabric were to be spray starched, it would help give a little more substance that might make it easier for her to work with the pieces.

    Also, would there be a machine that might be easier for her to work with than the one she is using? Some of the newer features such as needle up/down, auto-cut, needle threader, etc. may be an asset to her. Is there a machine with the autolift meant for left leg operation, or that could be adapted?

    Thinking a little further here ... would an Occupational Therapist have the knowledge to help further? Is there support available through your Heart and Stroke association to help her make the adjustments?

    Good Luck to you and your Friend ... I hope that she can find some things to help return to her love of sewing.
    Last edited by QuiltE; 03-21-2013 at 06:09 AM.
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  5. #5
    Super Member tutt's Avatar
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    I did a google search for 'machine sewing with one hand' and got several hits some with some excellent tips. You might try searching. My thought was that she would use school glue to match the seams up before sewing and then she might be able to keep the material from "crawling" when she feeds it through.

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tutt View Post
    .............to keep the material from "crawling" when she feeds it through.
    Which caused me to think "walking foot" ... she might want to try using it all the time.

    .......... Or if she has or buys a Janome with the Accufeed, it's built right in, and less cumbersome to work with IMHO.
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  7. #7
    Super Member ranger's Avatar
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    Today I finished my first quilt using glue basting. I used the non-toxic, washable Elmer's glue.

    As I quilted, I kept thinking it would be a good idea that I may try for sewing 2 pieces of fabric. Lay one piece on a table RSU(right side up) and put some glue dots at the corners and, if needed, (larger pieces) at a few place along the edges. Lay the next piece to be joined on top of it (RSD) and press the glued areas together with your hands. Then it won't slip while sewing the edges together. Would be great with precuts or cut pieces, wouldn't it? Might even work for joining blocks into rows and joining rows together.

    Is this a good idea or is my poor mind missing something?

    You would have to be sure that the pieces are laid together correctly because 'unsewing' would be awful if not impossible.

    Edited to apologize because I didn't read all the replies and missed tutt's suggestion about school glue. My bad.
    Last edited by ranger; 03-21-2013 at 07:40 AM.
    ranger
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  8. #8
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    What about lining something up on the right hand side of the sewing plate to keep the fabric moving through straight? I've seen people stack a little notepad of sticky pads to help guide the fabric. Not sure if that helps or not...
    People who start projects and never finish them are cooler
    than people who never start projects at all.


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  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If I were her, I would get these:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-Quilting...+guide+refills

    and set two on the sewing machine base -- one on each side of the needle -- to guide 2.5" strips through. To sew pairs of strips together, I would move the left guide over so it is 4.5" from the righthand guide.

    There is a seam guide that works in a somewhat similar manner. I'm just not sure if it would work better or less well than my idea above:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dritz-Seams-Qu...dp/B000AM2MMW/

    If at all possible, she should invest in an Accuquilt Studio die cutting machine. This is heavy enough to "stay put" while she operates the crank handle, and would give her a way of cutting pieces. She could even cut shapes out of strip-pieced sets.

    Another option is using a rolling cutter like this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-12-Inc...dp/B001CE38Z2/
    There is another one that might be better, but I cannot remember the name of it now. Fiskars used to have one that was 24" long so you could cut an entire width of fabric in one slice. It was discontinued some time ago, but someone on the QB posted recently that Fiskars is going to bring it back due to demands from quilters.

    I found this thread with suggestions:
    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...2064002AAPbP1U

    Edit: I'm thinking that she might want to start with a pattern that does not require matching of seams. I am thinking of a "brick" pattern where rectangles are offset in each row. Also, a jelly roll type quilt might be a good place to start. I saw a fabulous one that a guild member made, and she did not bother to press any seams until after the top was put together. (I'm thinking that ironing would actually be harder for me to do with one hand than sewing would be. If she could put a jelly roll top together, then maybe you could iron it for her. I personally love "the strip stick" for ironing seams.)
    Last edited by Prism99; 03-21-2013 at 05:05 PM.

  10. #10
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    One thing is for sure she will need to sew very slowly and a machine that has that option (rather than in the pedal) would be helpful. Also, she can use her presser foot in the down position to hold one end of the fabric as she manipulates the position of the pieces. Working with large pieces would be less frustrating. Maybe a ten inch square quilt. I just saw one of these in a quilt shop and all the customers were talking about how beautiful it was. As a matter of fact, I am thinking this quilt would be quick but make nice Christmas gifts and bought layer cakes at the LQS for that purpose.

  11. #11
    Super Member jetayre's Avatar
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    thanks for all your suggestion. I have forwarded the info for her and will let you know what her comments are.

  12. #12
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I recently bought an old hand crank Singer and because I'm right-handed it baffles me how people managed to sew with them in the old days. I wish I had some good ideas to help, but I think the main thing it will take is practice and working slowly. I imagine part of her problem is that it's not just a simple matter of changing sides, but there is the additional issue of keeping her body stable while she works. If the rest of us tried to work with the non-dominant hand and foot it wouldn't be the same because the other side would still be able to keep everything upright and balanced.

    If she likes the computer, perhaps cruising through a site like Etsy or Pinterest will help her discover something she can try. As for doing puzzles, if she happens to like them, jigidi.com or thejigsawpuzzles.com offer some in a wide range of styles and levels of difficulty, without the inconvenience of having to dedicate a table to the project. It would probably be something that will help her to keep her mind active. She might also enjoy crossword puzzles online, http://webcrosswords.com/daily-crossword-puzzles/ or Words with Friends (available via Facebook). You could play WwF with her - it's addictive!

    My SIL's mom had a stroke at age 80 and was confined to a wheel chair for the rest of her life - 18 years! During that time we were amazed to see that she steadily improved! She regained much of her ability to speak, which had been lost initially, and she never lost her sharp wit and ability to enjoy life and watch her grandchildren grow up. I hope your friend's future will be like that.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  13. #13
    Super Member cr12cats's Avatar
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    I had stoke 5 years ago that was my left side. it took awhile and i still have a hard time with larger things like the quillows i have been doing for the kids.so it is a slow process. but to start with I started with just crazy squares.that way it doesn't have to be exact, i just figured the crazier the better.maybe then you can help her sew them into a lap quilt. if the machine has a control on it for speed put it on slow. just sewing on piecies onto muslum randomly. it doesn't have to be straight. My machine pretty much feeds the fabric through so I just had to hold it to let it guide through. if there is a place on her machine to adjust the fed dogs just make sure they are up enough to feed it through doing most of the work.also if her arm hangs down it may help to use a arm sling just to be able to hold it a bit, at first it did me. and /or prop a pillow under the side she needs. I was lucky i am mostly right handed so I want to wish your friend good luck. the cutting would be to scary with the left so only pre cuts or some one cut things out for her.they have the tools for making strips that you pulled the material on but i'm not sure how hard you have to pull. but that might be good as excerise for both arms too. ask her therapist. I was so totally bored and hated the excerises they gave me after a while so i made up my own by sewing. that was my theraphy and i can now touch my left ear and up to my eyes on my face. and sometime reach the faucet to turn it off.( I know it sounds silly but you just aim for small steps at a time.) so tell her keep trying , just tell her be patient it takes time and start slow a little at a time.all the best to your friend.

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    I use glue to 'pin' fabrics together for sewing - sometimes the pins are too much to handle because of fibromyalgia in arms/hands. It's especially good for matching points.

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    I have worked in a caring center for 10 years. I really think her sewing days are over but the one thing she does have is knowledge. She could teach someone to sew on a one to one bases. There are so many people out there that would love to learn to make a quilt and she could be the one to help them. If she has a granddaughter or grandson that would like to learn to quilt that would even be better. She needs to feel like she is needed and this is one thing that is very important to us all.

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    If she has some use of her right side to help line up fabric pieces to get them ready to sew, then she could sure sew straight lines with a dual-feed Pfaff (integrated dual feed). Mine works much better than any walking foot I've had. For straight seams on reasonable fabric, you don't need to pin anything when using this machine. You might need to reposition a little on a very long seam (say, when inserting a 90" zipper) but a piece or two of painter's tape would take care of that. I don't know what these machines cost now or what the used market is like.

    Again, if she has some use of her right side but not a lot of fine motion, an eraser stick might help her position fabric layers for sewing. A pencil with eraser end, or a big pink eraser, or a retractable white eraser (about pencil sized, black case with a long white eraser stick in it; office supply store).

    Hope she can find something to keep busy and challenged but not frustrated!

  17. #17
    Senior Member maryfrang's Avatar
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    If she is on the computer, show her the Quilting Board, and she can share with all of us, our quilting enjoyment. She may also be helpful with questions and suggestions. And there are so many different blogs. Good luck hope you find the assistance she need to enjoy a great craft.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sewred's Avatar
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    Could someone mount the foot pedal inside the sewing table so she could use her knee if possible?
    Sew, sew, it's the threads that keep love together :>} I love sunbonnet sue,old-fashioned things like 1950's or older housewife things, and like hankies,tea towels and aprons . Thanks to some lovely members on here I now have lots of aprons in my collection !!

  19. #19
    Senior Member sewred's Avatar
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    Here is where a person on yahoo ask for tips for his wife after a stroke for ways to sew. I hope it will help.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...2064002AAPbP1U
    Sew, sew, it's the threads that keep love together :>} I love sunbonnet sue,old-fashioned things like 1950's or older housewife things, and like hankies,tea towels and aprons . Thanks to some lovely members on here I now have lots of aprons in my collection !!

  20. #20
    Junior Member iwillquilt's Avatar
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    She might try hand quilting. Someone could put it in a hoop for her. She might have to learn to use her left hand and use a desktop needle threader.( I love mine) It would not be piecing her own quilts, but she might find she enjoys the quilting part. I hope she is able to regain some use of the right side. My brother was able to regain some use of his leg and foot. His arm never responded. Sending prayers that she finds health and happiness.

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    What about a felting machine, she could make the designs on the blocks and maybe someone could put the blocks together for her. She would be able to do that with one hand. Some of them can be fitted with a switch to stop and start it, and since a felting machine doesn't have any thread in it you don't have to worry about it getting jammed up.

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    I have read the responses and agree with many others that it may no longer be possible to sew. She certainly could try some of the different ideas that were posted but she shouldn't get her hopes too high. She could look at it more as a challenge to work on.

    I also agree with the person who said she would feel good if she could help others. If there was any way for her to get names of others in the community who are in a nursing home or who are elderly and very alone, maybe she could send them short notes just to say "hello." If she wasn't comfortable using her own name, she could sign them "your secret pal or secret friend." There are also children's homes, or even children in her community, where the kids love getting mail. Just a couple lines is all you need and kids are thrilled. You can even find plenty of kids knock knock jokes or other clean jokes on the internet that you can print out and add to the letter. I sent them to my grandkids. There are also clean "senior" jokes you could print out to insert in the letters to the elderly. So many elderly feel forgotten and she could be the sunshine in their lives.

    There are also lots of chicken soup type books out there that might keep her spirits up. I buy them for my 93 year old mother and have them sent directly to her and she really enjoys them because they are short stories and easy to read. I would be happy to share some titles if you PM me. I get them on Amazon for a penny plus the $3.99 shipping or sometimes I find them on Ebay for even less.

    In some small communities, there is a bus that will pick up the seniors and take them to a center for lunch or just time together. I live in a very small town in northern NY and the little bus takes them to the next town for groceries and a stop at the drug store every other week. The driver assists those who have trouble getting around. She might try getting together with others for the commraderie. Or, if she feels up to it, she could invite someone else over for tea. Nothing fancy - just ask them over to chat. Lots of lonely people out there, especially those who are elderly.

    I think I've rambled enough. This lady is very fortunate to have you as a caring friend. The suggestion that she join the quilting forum is a great one. There is so very much on this forum. I'm new and still finding more and more "stuff." Good luck to you and your friend in finding just the right thing for her.
    Carol

  23. #23
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    This saddens me that so many are saying "she can't".
    Whatever happened to positivity?

    Yes, ITA (and said earlier) that this lady may not be able to quilt/sew to her previous expectations and standards. However, with the little information we know about this person, I don't feel that any of us should be ruling out that "SHE CAN"!

    By all means, help her find her way, to re-gaining her previous pleasures.
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  24. #24
    Super Member scrappy happy's Avatar
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    OH my, I wish I would of seen this when it first come out not 4 yrs later. My husband had a stroke just like this lady and he had never touch a sewing machine in his life. But he wanted to learn to sew and he made quilts. and his work was beautiful . He used a rotor paper cutter to cut his strips with and he used a reg. sewing machine to sew on. With one hand. Yes there was times when I would have to help him but in the most part he did it on his own. He sewed the big tops together and I did the quilting and binding on them. Yes it can be done.

  25. #25
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    DEFINITELY ask if you and she can work together with an Occupational Therapist on this problem--I have a good friend that is an OT and it's always amazing the exercises,tools, and techniques she comes up with to help people regain their previous level of ability. you didn't say if she's right or left handed--but assuming she's R handed, a new machine that has the needle up/down and speed control, along with start/stop button so you don't have to use a foot pedal,drop in bobbin, may be needed--they are out there without costing 2 arms and 2 legs! precuts or having someone else cut up a kit; using a needled threader (just saw one on FB to use with your machine) or having a friend pre-thread, help with pressing or using a mini-iron. If she's R handed, it will take her some time to learn to use her L with any precision. Another idea is to cut some foundations for her to machine sew crazy quilt blocks using fancy stitches on a machine. (sew and flip) good luck-you are a good friend. But definitely work with an OT!

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