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Thread: Allergy to Pets interfering with volunteer longarming

  1. #1
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    Allergy to Pets interfering with volunteer longarming

    Let me clarify: pets with hair

    I am finding it very difficult to volunteer longarm. I am very allergic to pet dander. It seems most everyone has an indoor furbaby of some kind. It's amazing to me how much hair is on quilts. I thought it would be worse with a cat seeing how they can climb everywhere.
    But just last week I discovered just as much dog hair on 3 quilts I agreed to quilt for my QOV group.
    I had to contact the topper to let her know I couldn't work on them unless she knew of a way to remove the hair and consequently the dander. I feel so bad. I know people love their pets and this is my problem.

    I purchased my longarm for the sole purpose of doing donation work. And now am finding it increasingly difficult to take in tops. Can't justify owning it for my own personal use.

    I would be glad to wash them first. But that is a big no no.

    So I'm at a loss as to what to do.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    Will a vacuum work?

  3. #3
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    What they could do is one of several things; hang it on a line to let the wind blow off, toss it into the dryer with a slightly damp cloth dipped in white vinegar or use a lint roller all over it until nothing shows up. Only thing is hair is one thing dander is another. Dander sticks more than hair. Usually happens when the quilt tops are squared on the floor. I amazed at those who don't sweep their floor before squaring.

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    That's sad, when you are trying to do good. Can you first of all let it be known that you have allergies and find out about if they can be washed before hand. I wouldn't see a problem washing them before the batting was put on. I prefer to wash mine first then if I did have an issue with a seam coming apart I'll know it before its quilted.

    My son in law lives with me, he can interact with my dog just fine, he can live with the cat in the house just fine but one day the cat climb up on him and he petted it, he ended up in the ER. He's also has bad asthma. So now he's careful around the cat. He can sit on the couch with the cat a little ways away, he just can't touch her. Which is sad because my cat is very old and just wants attention from everyone. Thank goodness he can't play with the dog. He's the first male that will play with her and pet her and she gets excited over that. My son never paid any attention to her, he only likes big dogs. I call my son in law my dogs boyfriend, she truly loves him.

    I hope you find a solution for your problem. I really think you need to put your allergy problem out there and hopefully others can help with the solution so that they can get their quilts done.
    Judy

  5. #5
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    ​If breathing in the hair and dander are a problem, how about getting a really good mask like the auto paint techs use?

  6. #6
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    I do mostly charity quilts and remove my cat when he jumps up on them. But if one of the recipients had a severe allergy it could be a problem. Everybody has different tolerance levels and I do feel bad for those who just can't live with pets. Sorry it is interfering with your fun.

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    How do you wash a top without it fraying all the seams? I tried that once early on and it came out a mess. A few seams came undone because the cloth frayed so much.

    I've actually tried a mask since I have fragrance allergies as well. But having a mask on makes a person's glasses fog up.

    So that's when I started hanging them out on the line for the day. The pet hair doesn't come off.

    Does vinegar in the dryer actually work? And then what happens to all the pet hair? Does it end up on my clean clothes?

    My DH offered to lint roller the quilts for me. He's a real keeper. But after starting one and going through practically a whole roll, he rescinded his offer. He said it was too time consuming, costly and just gross. And he's not an easily grossed out kind of guy.

    On the same note: a quilt hanging at a show yesterday had visible pet hair on it. Mind you it had black sashing. But wouldn't a person clean it before entering it in a show?

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    I think that most people will be sympathetic to your problem if they know about it, and most of those people will do what they can to help. Therefore I think it would be best if you made the allergies known before people turn over their tops to you. It would be extremely helpful to them if you could tell them what they need to do to prepare the tops for you. If someone told me that they are allergic, I would know that my quilts have pet fur/dander on them, and I would withhold the quilt unless they told me what I should do to clean it up. I would be too worried without specific instructions.

    If you can figure out what needs to be done to the tops to make them safe for you (washing? lint brush?), then you can say that you can only take tops that have been washed/delinted/whatever.

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    sval - if your glasses are fogging up, the mask is not sealing around your face so not doing a lot of good. You may want to get a "real" mask and I just got a new one and the flexible part is very soft and seals very well. you can get different canisters for it, as you mostly need a particulate one, but you could get a combo that also does vapors for the fragrance issue. They do take a bit to get use to wearing, as you have to breath a bit harder. but you do get use to wearing them.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sval View Post
    ............So I'm at a loss as to what to do.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Congratulations! for being a LAQing volunteer.

    As you said, it is your problem ...... however it IS your health!

    There is nothing wrong with stating you can only volunteer for quilt tops from pet free homes (and any other specs) and that any tops not, will be returned unquilted. Don't offer preparation options, as suggested in some of the other previous posts, as we all know many will take shortcuts, thinking you will never know. You already know ... your body will tell you! So why run the risk of affecting your own health?

    Others with health issues will applaud your decision and be quite supportive of your decision. Likewise, many others will be in agreement.

    Those who think otherwise ... don't waste your energy, thinking of what they think!
    There are many other volunteer LAQers who will do their quilts.

    Good Luck!
    ... and keep remembering, it is your health, and you need to take care of you, first and foremost!
    Last edited by QuiltE; 05-01-2017 at 05:20 AM.
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  11. #11
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    i don't think wearing a mask is a good solution, because you would still be bringing all that pet hair into your home. At some point you would have to take off the mask, and then some of the hair would still be there to cause you problems.

    I am not allergic to dogs, but I would not want to bring a quilt top with their hair into my quilt room either. I certainly wouldn't want it on my longarm. I think it's up to the piecer to give clean, pressed tops to the longarmer, especially when you're donating your time.

    I don't think washing a top is a good idea, and it would then need pressing before quilting. Even then I'm not sure the pet hair would be gone, just moved around.

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    I have severe allergies to cats. So much so that even giving someone a hug after they have played with or have a cat in their home can cause a severe reaction. I totally understand your issue and my suggestion would be to only take quilts from those who do not own a pet. Those who have allergies understand the need to stay away from things that will cause a reaction.
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  13. #13
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    Easy. Tell the QOV quilters that you cannot take quilt tops that were made with a pet in the house. No exceptions as it is your health and expense to deal with.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

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    Pet hair is amazingly tenacious. I think you might be best off just biting the bullet and telling people you can only do quilts that come from pet-free homes. That fur is GOING to end up in your house if you bring it in, there's just no two ways about it. Kindness and charity are very good things, but not at the expense of your own health.

    My sewing room is a pet-free zone, and yet there's fur all over stuff in there. It comes in on my clothes, and it just drifts in through the air. I lint-roll constantly, but there's always more fur. I made a quilt for my aunt (who is very allergic to cats and currently going through chemo) and I washed it FOUR times in a row and then put it into a vacuum-sealed plastic bag straight out of the dryer...it still had some fur on it by the time I gave it to her! Fortunately it was very CLEAN fur by that point and didn't trigger her allergy, but still...couldn't believe I was still finding fuzz!

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    My suggestion is to contact a Project Linus chapter near you and visit with them about quilting the tops that they have from pet free homes. That group has dealt with the animal problem, because the national requirements are for no pet hair/dander to be on quilts. That is not to say that there never is any, but at least the local leaders are very aware of the problem. I don't think they would find it difficult to limit the quilts tops that they would bring to you to be ones that came from pet free homes.

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    [QUOTE=Daylesewblessed;7815083]My suggestion is to contact a Project Linus chapter near you and visit with them about quilting the tops that they have from pet free homes. That group has dealt with the animal problem, because the national requirements are for no pet hair/dander to be on quilts. That is not to say that there never is any, but at least the local leaders are very aware of the problem. I don't think they would find it difficult to limit the quilts tops that they would bring to you to be ones that came from pet free homes.[/QUOTE

    ]That is an excellent idea. Thank you so much for the information. That would really suit me. I will definitely do that.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sval View Post
    That is an excellent idea. Thank you so much for the information. That would really suit me. I will definitely do that.
    Do QOV not take the allergy issues just as seriously?

    It's kind of sad if QOV do not,
    as one would think this would be a concern for many of the recipients.

    Perhaps it's a discussion that should be had with QOV??
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Do QOV not take the allergy issues just as seriously?

    It's kind of sad if QOV do not,
    as one would think this would be a concern for many of the recipients.


    Perhaps it's a discussion that should be had with QOV??
    The local group I am involved with doesn't seem to. We had a sew day last week and I took some yardage to the ironing board to ready it for cutting. It was covered in cat hair. I backed away and asked another lady to iron it. I told her why. She seemed to understand. But it seems so many have pets all up in their fabrics that it just doesn't seem to be a concern. Plus, sometimes more than one person works on a quilt. Might get complicated following the trail to make sure it doesn't end up in a pet home.
    I'm just not sure if the finished quilts are getting washed before being awarded. I will explain again my situation to the group coordinator. If they still want to use me, fine. If not, I'll move on.

  19. #19
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Sadly, these sew days are not good for your health either!
    Having someone else press the fabric for you ...
    ... they are only pressing the cat hair into/onto it and must surely affect you.

    If your local group are not concerned ...
    ... it may be something to take up with higher up in the organization.
    Perhaps they will have a need and be interested to accept your volunteer LAQing!

    Good Luck!
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  20. #20
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    Why not make life simpler for yourself and only work on quilts that you have made yourself?

    That way, you will know what is in them and what the fabrics have been exposed to.

    You have mentioned being allergic to many things - so it just does not seem feasible to get yourself sick working on "who knows what"?

    I do think the allergy factor of the final recipients should also be a concern.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Why not make life simpler for yourself and only work on quilts that you have made yourself?

    That way, you will know what is in them and what the fabrics have been exposed to.

    You have mentioned being allergic to many things - so it just does not seem feasible to get yourself sick working on "who knows what"?

    I do think the allergy factor of the final recipients should also be a concern.
    I'm about to this conclusion. I got the longarm for donation work. I planned to be standing at the quilter when I was 80 working on quilts for charity. I couldn't justify buying one for the few quilts I make. But it hasn't turned out the way I had hoped. Not much can be done about that. Maybe I should just sell it.

    I agree about the final recipient. I'm not seeing any concern about that. I'm pretty sure all the donation quilts aren't being washed before being awarded. Some of the vets are already sick. They don't need to add to it.

  22. #22
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    As far as selling your long-arm -

    If it is already paid for and you enjoy using it - make more quilts and get more use out of it! :-)

    Or use it for a coatrack - place to put stuff until you get around to putting it where it should go. :-)

    I see no reason to feel guilty about using something just for one's own purposes -

  23. #23
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    This will probably sound extreme but have you considered allergy shots. I know people who have major allergies to animals and they get shots for it. It would allow you to continue your work with less hassle but it is a monthly injection. Many people have pets probably more so than dont so it might be hard to truly get tops of pet owners that won't affect you. Removing hair is easier than removing dander as dander is in the air and you can't see it
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sval View Post
    I planned to be standing at the quilter when I was 80 working on quilts for charity.
    Wow, you must be in exceptional physical shape and/or have robotics.

    I can't imagine being physically able to longarm quilts in my 80's. At least not the volume that most charities would create.

    Longarming takes a physical toll.

  25. #25
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    Nope. No robotics. The longarmer for one of the groups here is 79 and still going strong for at least a couple hours a day.
    I panto.

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