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Thread: Help! I can't use a foot pedal

  1. #1
    Senior Member izzybelle's Avatar
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    Help! I can't use a foot pedal

    I really could use some ideas! I have MS. Through the years I have lost the ability to use my legs, so I'm in a wheelchair. I have a Sears Kenmore and a Juki TL 2000 which I love. I'm able to piece my blocks by setting the foot pedal on the counter by my machine and use my elbow as my "foot". Works fine, no problems. Until recently I could put the pedal on the ground and quilt my layers to my satisfaction, but now I can't even do that. Does anyone know if there is an inexpensive aid to help me? Or, if there is anyone out there able to quilt in a different way without the use of your feet?
    Cathy

  2. #2
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    Cathy,

    I am not as knowledgeable about some of this stuff. I commend you for your efforts! I think it's teriffic that you continue to quilt. I also suggest that you submit your same query to the Vintage Machine Enthusiasts forum. There is a lot of untapped knowledge on all the forums, so I hope you get some help.

    Jeanette

  3. #3
    Senior Member izzybelle's Avatar
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    Thanks Jeanette!
    Cathy

  4. #4
    Senior Member pyffer3's Avatar
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    I know you probably don't want to invest in a machine, but my brother cs6000i has an option that if you unplug the foot you can use a button to start/stop sewing. I have used it on a couple of occasions when I've had leg cramps.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    I have seen machines that have a bar that extends just below the table and is activated by pressing it with your knee. If you are able, that could be a way to go. I'm not at all sure what machine had that available, but I wouldn't think it to be too much of a challenge to adapt the foot control in such a fashion, especially for a sewing machine repairman.

    My Viking does have a button that I can set to automatically sew until I press stop, but it's just way too automatic for me and I always get into trouble when I try to use it. I haven't been motivated to use it that much to get better at handling it.

    Try the knee control thing; it didn't take much pressure at all and appeared to offer all the control of a foot device.

    Good luck and blessings on you for hanging in there. Keep the faith!

  6. #6
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by izzybelle View Post
    I really could use some ideas! I have MS. Through the years I have lost the ability to use my legs, so I'm in a wheelchair. I have a Sears Kenmore and a Juki TL 2000 which I love. I'm able to piece my blocks by setting the foot pedal on the counter by my machine and use my elbow as my "foot". Works fine, no problems. Until recently I could put the pedal on the ground and quilt my layers to my satisfaction, but now I can't even do that. Does anyone know if there is an inexpensive aid to help me? Or, if there is anyone out there able to quilt in a different way without the use of your feet?
    My first electric sewing machine had a knee control. Don't know if you can still find them or not. And maybe you don't have enough leg movement to lean your knee a bit. But it doesn't take a lot of pressure. I'd think a person could figure out a way to mount the foot pedal on a table leg, if you can manage that.
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  7. #7
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    I can relate to this They make after market knee controls -- http://www.sewingmachinesplus.com/705W.php Maybe that would be of some help?

  8. #8
    Senior Member izzybelle's Avatar
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    Sorry ladies, no knee control either. I tried putting the foot pedal under my armpit. With practice, I think this might be do-able, but would much prefer another solution. Keep the ideas coming, and I'll keep trying too!
    Cathy

  9. #9
    Super Member calla's Avatar
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    If you could afford a different machine, my Bernina has a knee lever, perhaps operate it with your hand? Try one out at the dealer, and my Vikings have stop/start push buttons. Keep sewing

  10. #10
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    Have you contacted the MS Association? They have lots of ideas on how to adapt everything imaginable.

  11. #11
    Super Member Pollytink's Avatar
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    This is what I was going to suggest too. I really like mine and this option has come in handy several tiimes. Amazon has it for under $150 now and in the past several members here have liked theirs here too.

  12. #12
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    Can you fashion the foot pedal to a board that would be long enough to reach the interior of your seat next to you where you could lean on it to push the pedal. You state you already use your elbow as your foot. So if it were closer to lean against, the board could be a clip board and you could fix a hook the board could hang onto when not in use. Duct tape works wonders. Just tape the foot pedal to the board. I say a clipboard because they can be fairly lightweight.

  13. #13
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    My Bernina has a button to use when the foot pedal is unplugged. I hope you can find a way to sew!


    My newest Grandson, Caleb Austin, was born May 29th. I am now Grandma to 4 precious babies. I am so blessed!!!!

  14. #14
    Member cynicalbeauty's Avatar
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    I too, have a disability. (Cerebral Palsy) and sew in a similar way. I am saving up for a machine with a stop/start button but I got to thinking the other day that maybe there is a way to mount the pedal to the chair back or table so I could just lean into it (by sitting back or forward.) I'm not sure it works. It came to me last night while I was sleeping. I will keep you posted.

  15. #15
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    Would a hand crank machine work? I believe you can still buy new ones just like you can buy a new treadle or look for a vintage one.

  16. #16
    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    If you can find a speed regulator like is used with long arm machines, you can presset the speed you like, and then just push a button to start or stop. I have one attached to my Elna--it plugs in instead of the foot control, so must be compatible. Mine was a Grace model and only cost $50 at ebay. I love it cause it keeps my stitches so even. Otherwise, a machine with stop/start button is my next suggestion. Have a look at the Brother models--many of them have this. The button is in front of the needle, so you should have no problems.

  17. #17
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jo C View Post
    Have you contacted the MS Association? They have lots of ideas on how to adapt everything imaginable.
    What a great idea!! I was thinking the same thing as I read this post. I have motor skills coordination problems so I have learned to cut carefully and sew slowly and keep using simple patterns. Wish you the best of luck that you can find the solution to your problem and keep on sewing.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  18. #18
    Senior Member izzybelle's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone who has graciously commented on my situation. My biggest problem is that I have no "real" control below my midsection--I have no balance or am not capable of controlling my butt, knees, or even back. Keep the ideas coming tho-that 's how I've solved my problems in the past-just keep trying. (My stubbornness has allowed me to do some great things in the past 20 years that I've had this disease--and I refuse to give up now!!)
    Cathy

  19. #19
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    Pfaff has come out with some hand controlled machines. We have one at work that runs with a foot control or by pushing a button on the machine itself. You can control the speed too, with a sliding button from slow to very fast.

  20. #20
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Maybe a hand crank?

  21. #21
    Super Member JAGSD's Avatar
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    Viking also has hand push button machines, Love that feature on mine. Praying you find a way that works for you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyffer3 View Post
    I know you probably don't want to invest in a machine, but my brother cs6000i has an option that if you unplug the foot you can use a button to start/stop sewing. I have used it on a couple of occasions when I've had leg cramps.
    The machine referenced has really good reviews and runs less than $150. I believe you can get free shipping to your door at walmart.com, just in case you might be interested.
    Serita

  23. #23
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    This may be a solution for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAb_UdzFQ1w. It would involve installing a lamp dimmer switch. The woman suggests this would work on mechanical machines not electronic ones.
    Singer 66 treadle, Singer 15-91, JC Penney 6923, Kenmore 50, White 2334, Brother 920D serger. RIP Singer 1036

  24. #24
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    I think you have a great excuse to buy a new sewing machine! Mine has a start / stop button and I rarely ever use a foot pedal.
    Pfaff Ambition 1.0
    Pfaff Performance 5.0

  25. #25
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    I'm sitting here thinking, trying to come up with something that would use your chin or chest[if it leaned into your upper body so that you could use your chin]. It would have to be on a stand or something. lThis may sound nutty, but it might work somehow. I sure hope you are able to find something that works. Barny

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