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Thread: I need help from quilters who have overcome vision problems

  1. #26
    dungeonquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    I have cataracts and the doctor can't find a lens that will allow my left eye to focus properly. I go slowly and do a lot by feel. Stay away from dark colors, and work in a well lit area. Will it be perfect? No. Is anyone else's perfect? No. Just enjoy it while you can and don't worry about any imperfections. Your loved ones will appreciate and cherish anything that you're able to make.
    Thanks for posting this reply rapture. I am blind in one eye and it is very hard some days to sew! After I quite being sorry for myself I have learned "no" dark colors" "alot of light" "learn to do alot of feeling" I go slowly, so the good eye will adjust (because doctors can not get the right lens adjusted for the good eye) to what I am working on". Yes, it is difficult...however as the doctor has told me @ least I can see with the other eye...how "lucky" is that I can still motivate around even if it is "slower" I enjoy it while I can... that is my goal! Days that I know are going to be more difficult I just "magnify" this wonderful computer screen & enjoy the quilting board here :) I believe it has been proven that as a wife, Mother, Grandmother & friend we are "strong" creations of God. Yes, on the weaker side there is days that I would like to cry because of my sight problems. The bright side is that this board & some of the tutorials have helped me so MUCH "now how fun is that, I am still learning! Isn't life grand :) Let's be thankful for what we have as we all say prayers to the anniversary date of "911" :)

  2. #27
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    My mom will be 78 next week..she too has macular degeneration and still quilts...the best thing we use for her is a 1/4" foot on her machine to help her to keep the line straigt..and use blue painters tape leading up to the feed dogs even with the 1/4" foot...use a good lighting system so there is no glare on your eyes or machine..we use an ott table lamp so she can move it to keep the glare off her work..as you know the macular works against light....if you use dark colors remember to use white thread...and go slow....you can do it...mom thought her life was over...she felt all she had left was her quilting and if she couldn't see to quilt what was she going to do..she is still going strong at 78..she is no longer allowed to drive but loves to go to fabric stores..she has always be great with color and that has been failing her in the last couple years as she can't make out the colors as well anymore but I have written the colors of her threads on the ends for her so when she appliques she won't put a purple on a blue...and I try be gentle when she looks at a color and says what an odd shade of grey when it is really a beautiful shade of blue...its ok....you have many years left of quilting and will find new inventive ways to make beautiful quilts...and hey today the new wave of quilting is off center or wavy blocks anyway...go with what you can do and have a great time doing it..blessings

  3. #28
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    Clare J. Rowley Greene, out of Phoenix, designed sewing feet for an acquaintance who is totally blind--Creative Feet. They have adjustable guides attached to aid in getting straight seams. Her feet are amazing. Just search Creative Feet on the web and her site will come up.

  4. #29
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    How about using an Ott light near your quilting?

  5. #30
    Super Member misseva's Avatar
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    i was recently diagnosed with a macular hole but after much prayer by several churches when i went back the swelling had gone down and there is no macular hole. ptl! dr doesn't know what caused my problem but he's having a new lens made for my glasses since i just got them in feb. right now i'm using an old pair of glasses for driving and a pair i got at the dollar store. i don't need magnification up close in my left eye so i just take the lens out of left side and do close up handwork using the right lens. like fabric_fancy i use the same kind of light/magnifier she uses. only trouble is finding a table that it will attach to w/o falling off. finally used a wooden tv table. i was using a magnifier before my eye acted up on my embroidery - i make my stitches approx 1/8" or less. my prayer for myself was for healing but if that wasn't god's plan then i asked for grace to accept what he had in store for me.

  6. #31
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    We do a ton of charity quilting and our beloved Ms. Judy can sew anyone of us around the block and then some. She too has macular degeneration and pre existing sight issues. I think the posts have covered most of what she has hit on to keep quilting. She did visit a specialist that suggested the automatic needle threader that is pretty cool. Additionally, it is my absolute pleasure to cut for her. I wish she would let me cut out more of her projects as it really makes a difference too. So my additional suggestion is to find a quilting buddy who can cutout your projects.

    Infila Auto Needle Threader
    Automatically threads large or thin needles. www.independentliving.com

  7. #32
    Super Member goldendog55's Avatar
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    I have some sight problems, and have worked with teaching other people who do. One of the biggest helpers for me is buying a 1/4" sewing foot with a groove on it. It makes a very straight line, without having to see it. It kind of does it automatically.
    Another idea for cutting fabrics with a ruler: Get some of that lightly colored flourescent tape that you or someone else can put on the measuring line that you will need to cut. Very helpful!

  8. #33
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    There are many things like magnifying devices out there. I am legally blind in left eye and have limited side vision in rt eye but I still keep goiing. The proper light and sewing machine foot can help. the hint about threading the needle with white paper behind the needle works for me. Don't give up. Don't sit too long at the sewing. Best advice I can give s pray before you start during and after.Genny

  9. #34
    Junior Member QuiltingQueen's Avatar
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    My dad had macular degeneration and his eye glass lenses were tinted yellow. They really helped him.

  10. #35
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    I've had cataract surgery on both eyes 6 months ago and today my Dr tells me I have Macular Degeneration in my right eye.. It's so blury that I can't hardly tell what's what and my left eye is blury also.. I feel for each of you, but I must say that all these helpful hints from all of you gives me courage to keep on quilting! Quilting is the Third love of my life, God's first, Family's Second, and Quilting is Third. Oh, Please forgive my typing mistakes :)
    Connie

  11. #36
    Senior Member renee765's Avatar
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    Reading this thread leads me to think about the beautiful spirits so many of our quilters have. Although they may have challenges, they don't let those challenges take away from their love of quilting. Kudos to all of you.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Cheshirecatquilter's Avatar
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    My mom had macular degeneration and laser surgery which destroyed the central part of her vision for seeing fine detail. We were able to get her a device called a Video Eye, expensive, but what a lifesaver. It helped her to do some reading, thread a needle, see her meds, etc. When the central vision is gone, peripheral vision, which can sense motion is still useful for many. To take advantage of it try not to focus on the thing you want to see, but scan from side to side as if it was "moving". As for sewing, I would suggest sticking to designs that made up of squares and strips rather than triangles and complex shapes. Your fingertips will become sensitive to sensing 1/4" seam allowances if you hand sew. If someone can bond applique pieces on to fabric for you, you might be able to overcast or buttonhole stitch around the edges by feel. Keep trying. Even if someone has to do some minor adjustments after you are done, they will treasure the time and effort you have put into your quilts. Don't hesitate to accept help from friends or relatives or a quilt group who can help you with some preparation work so you can continue with your sewing. Love, and good luck.

  13. #38
    Super Member GrammaNan's Avatar
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    There is a store in our area that states, in part, that they are "the largest retail store of blind and low-vision products in the country." My DH has vision problems so we have been there and they are great. They have a good web site. It is http://www.beyondsight.com/

  14. #39
    pookie ookie's Avatar
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    Lots of great advice here. I'll skip my magnifier advice as that's been well covered.

    Clover Fork Pins. I would never match up seams without them.

    I have a very hard time with dark fabrics. I can't see anything well if a dark fabric is involved. Contrasting thread and pencil-thick markings vanish.

    I use a pounce pad for outlining templates and stencils on dark fabrics.

    I haven't found a decent marker for dark fabrics and white/silver pencils don't work for me at all. Need a thick marker.

  15. #40
    Mumzbear's Avatar
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    My friend has your problem She used to do all my hand work on things. She has a light that goes somehow on her head that is like a miner's light. She got it from the society for the blind and says it really helps.

  16. #41
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raptureready
    I have cataracts and the doctor can't find a lens that will allow my left eye to focus properly. I go slowly and do a lot by feel. Stay away from dark colors, and work in a well lit area. Will it be perfect? No. Is anyone else's perfect? No. Just enjoy it while you can and don't worry about any imperfections. Your loved ones will appreciate and cherish anything that you're able to make.
    Well Said! Line up fabrics against a contrasting background, then pin. Make a pile, sew. :thumbup: :-D

  17. #42
    dungeonquilts's Avatar
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    So many good advice here...wonderful helpers :)

  18. #43
    Super Member ania755's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pookie ookie
    Lots of great advice here. I'll skip my magnifier advice as that's been well covered.

    Clover Fork Pins. I would never match up seams without them.

    I have a very hard time with dark fabrics. I can't see anything well if a dark fabric is involved. Contrasting thread and pencil-thick markings vanish.

    I use a pounce pad for outlining templates and stencils on dark fabrics.

    I haven't found a decent marker for dark fabrics and white/silver pencils don't work for me at all. Need a thick marker.
    When I cannot find the right pencil to mark on dark fabric...I jusr stitch big white stitches over the pins as if big basting so I can sew over them.....
    Be careful with the bright white artificial light....It can actually be very harmful for your sight.....I cannot live without the automatic needle threader and evoiding dark fabric is another good advice.....
    I had sent you a PM too.....
    Have fun and good luck

  19. #44
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    Hello from another fellow blind person. It sounds like most of the assistive devices have been covered. As a blind person the best advise I can give you is to go slow and learn how to "feel" what you are doing. I have bright lights and magnifiers and needle threaders, but nothing works better than "feeling" what I'm doing. If you need a good website for assistive devices for the visually impaired I use www.MaxiAids.com. They have a ton of different assistive devices for different tasks. Check it out and see what works best for you. Oh, I also have a CCTV which has a movable platform (can't think of the right word for it) where I can set my work and blow it up (magnify it) to HUGE and focus to see what I'm doing on what looks like a computer monitor screen. They are expensive ($4G range) but you can probably get assistance paying for one or find an organization that will donate one to you. It's been my saving grace. And it doesn't limit me. I do points or whatever I want and although not perfect it's darn near close. (And it had better be 'cause I'm a perfectionist, lol)! As for marking dark fabric, I just use regular white school chalk. It's easy to see and it washes right out. It's perfect for marking quilting lines. I also have a hard time seeing blue (most of the quilting pens are washout blue and it's too lite) so I bought childrens crayola washable markers. Just pick the color that works best for you on the fabric you are working with. I always cut off a piece of fabric and mark all over it first with the marker and let it dry. Then wash it out to make sure it will wash out before I mark all over my quilt. I hope this helps. GOOD LUCK!!! Oh, also, I got some VERY POWERFUL magnifying glasses I got from my Dr. You can't buy them at your local pharmacy or WM. They are made in Germany. They are 6X. They also make a huge difference. Also very expensive, but with the right dr. you can get assistance paying for them or with the right organization you can get them donated for free. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to make sure I covered everything. There is so much to cover and I didn't cover it all so if you have any questions, feel free to PM me. And again, Good luck!
    Check out my avatar, it's my seeing eye dog. Handsome, isn't he!!!

  20. #45
    Junior Member joey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilterguy27
    Hello from another fellow blind person. It sounds like most of the assistive devices have been covered. As a blind person the best advise I can give you is to go slow and learn how to "feel" what you are doing. I have bright lights and magnifiers and needle threaders, but nothing works better than "feeling" what I'm doing. If you need a good website for assistive devices for the visually impaired I use www.MaxiAids.com. They have a ton of different assistive devices for different tasks. Check it out and see what works best for you. Oh, I also have a CCTV which has a movable platform (can't think of the right word for it) where I can set my work and blow it up (magnify it) to HUGE and focus to see what I'm doing on what looks like a computer monitor screen. They are expensive ($4G range) but you can probably get assistance paying for one or find an organization that will donate one to you. It's been my saving grace. And it doesn't limit me. I do points or whatever I want and although not perfect it's darn near close. (And it had better be 'cause I'm a perfectionist, lol)! As for marking dark fabric, I just use regular white school chalk. It's easy to see and it washes right out. It's perfect for marking quilting lines. I also have a hard time seeing blue (most of the quilting pens are washout blue and it's too lite) so I bought childrens crayola washable markers. Just pick the color that works best for you on the fabric you are working with. I always cut off a piece of fabric and mark all over it first with the marker and let it dry. Then wash it out to make sure it will wash out before I mark all over my quilt. I hope this helps. GOOD LUCK!!! Oh, also, I got some VERY POWERFUL magnifying glasses I got from my Dr. You can't buy them at your local pharmacy or WM. They are made in Germany. They are 6X. They also make a huge difference. Also very expensive, but with the right dr. you can get assistance paying for them or with the right organization you can get them donated for free. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to make sure I covered everything. There is so much to cover and I didn't cover it all so if you have any questions, feel free to PM me. And again, Good luck!
    Check out my avatar, it's my seeing eye dog. Handsome, isn't he!!!
    Hey Quilteguy 27...bragging again....just kidding...you sure have a lot of information and good tips....good to know. Even though I have macular, I still can see well...just diagnosed last year + cataracts. I'm going to bookmark your comments. As we get older everything seems to fall apart. Vision problems seem to be a big issue when we get older. Good luck and God Bless all of the Quilting Board Members....we are a special group.

  21. #46
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    LOL Joey!!! If I don't blow my own horn who's gonna do it for me. Just hope I could help a little bit.

  22. #47
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    I can't thank you all for the advice you have given me and especialy the encouragement. I have had laser several times but now my retina specialist is giving me avastin injections in my left eye when it starts to bleed.(I have the wet form) So far it has been able to stop the bleeding in my left eye.My right eye is count fingers my center vision is gone in it.
    My mother had this and was legally blind in both eyes by my age. My sister has it as well as my brother and an aunt and an uncle. I am the only one who has the wet form everyone else has the dry form. Thank you all for the tips (some I already use) and encouragement. I am truly blessed and am so glad I found this great group of quilters.

  23. #48

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    I also have Macular Degeneration. I have been having Lucentis injections in my eye for about three years and they have taken away the dark spot I first saw in the beginning. I have some
    blurred vision in that eye, but I can see much better. Maybe you could find an Opthamologist that could help you. Good lighting and a magnifier for your machine would also help.
    Good luck.

  24. #49
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    I have double vision and have had to give up some crafts ... woodworking for instance (sometimes can't tell which is the 'real' finger and which is the 'real' saw blade.) Haven't tried painting yet, but sewing is the one thing that I can still manage. I'm with you ... keep doing what you can as long as you can. Good luck and hope you have many years of sight!!

  25. #50
    Super Member desertrose's Avatar
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    I have cateracts in my left eye and causes problems reading and doing any fine work. Some days magnifying glass around my neck helps, definately worjing with a daylight bulb and only during the day time. One last trick I use sometimes is closing my bad eye and only using my good eye. It does cause eye strain however if I have a project I want to complete for a deadline I'll use all the tricks I can think of.
    Andie

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