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

  1. #1
    mawcarol's Avatar
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    I am new to quilting and I have macular degeneration and am finding it difficult to get things lined up straight. I am legally blind in my right eye and my left eye ranges between 20-40 and 20-50. I would appreciate any suggestions. I am 57 and want to quilt while I still have vision in my left eye. Thanks mawcarol

  2. #2
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
    Super Member GrammaNan's Avatar
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    Have you tried using a magnifying glass that is page sized and hangs around your neck? My husband is legally blind in one eye and has low vision in the other. He has used this item in the past. I feel badly for you, having limited sight is so frustrating. Have you tried red work? Using dark red thread on white fabric may be easier on your eyes. Don't give up! Keep looking and you will find something that will work for you.

  4. #4
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i use a magnifying swing arm lamp similar to this one

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/ELECTRIX-I...i_sku=13136434

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    There are also magnifying glasses made to attach to your sewing machine.

  6. #6
    Super Member bjnicholson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    There are also magnifying glasses made to attach to your sewing machine.
    Or to your glasses.

  7. #7
    Super Member OKLAHOMA PEACH's Avatar
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    I also use a magnifying glass, it makes it easier for me to make small stitches for my hand work. There are all kinds of magnifying glasses on the market.

  8. #8
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    I don't like to do quilts with a lot of matching corners so I choose quilts like the coin strips or panels etc. They look nice without all the points to worry about.

  9. #9
    mawcarol's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. I will let you know which ones work for me. Please don't feel sorry for me. God is good all the time. He won't give me anything that He doesn't give me the strength to handle. Thanks,Mawcarol

  10. #10
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    I agree, god has been great to all of us who r visually impaired and quilt or anything else in life! Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Check with your dr there is a new treatment and you are young enough you might be eligible. I think it is in the experimental stage but you still might qualify.

  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I use a metallic needle most of the time. The eye is bigger and I can thread it more easliy.

  13. #13
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    I have cataracts also and until I recover sufficiently from 2 other surgeries I have to make do in the sewing room. I use a swing arm lamp for general sewing. When I need to thread a needle I use a strip of white paper behind the needle and a flashlight to see with. Guide my quilt blocks along the 1/4 inch edge of my machines sewing foot. Use a large lamp by my easy chair where I do hand sewing and pressing. Stitch in the ditch by directing the seam exactly in the center of a marked foot. So far, so good! Takes extra time and care but it works for me.

  14. #14
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    Hello. I am totally blind in my right eye except for just a tiny bit of light that gets thru. Over the last two years My left eye has strengthened but sill has vision like yours so I Tend to close my right eye when quilting or lining things up. Makes it so much better. Funny how just a little is too much. Hope this helps.

  15. #15
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I remember reading an article about a blind quilter. Googling, I came across a link to a newsletter where a blind quilter is supposed to have given some ideas:

    [You’ll find these tips in the Oct. 31 issue of Kaye Wood’s Quilting Newsletter at http://www.kayewood.com/newsletter.pdf ]

    Don't feel like signing up myself, but you may want to.

    I know the the Society for the Blind has many aids to assist a visually challended person INCLUDING sewing supplies. Do you have a chapter in your neighborhood?

  16. #16
    Super Member grandme26's Avatar
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    I have eye muscle paralysis so can not focus with both eyes. My right eye is for readying a close up work in quilting etc. I use a bright light and a magnifying glass to thread a needle. For me it is important to have a bright light. Also you might want to trust your sense of feel. You can do anything you want to do, it takes practice.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by martha jo
    Check with your dr there is a new treatment and you are young enough you might be eligible. I think it is in the experimental stage but you still might qualify.
    I've heard about it to. We have a friend with it but he's to blind to qualify. If you haven't heard about it, do a search and see what you come up with or call around to spec to see if any are familiar with it.
    Good luck with your quilting. I'm sure you're quilts will be cherished by those that get them.

  18. #18
    Super Member applique's Avatar
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    I was lucky enough to save the sight in one eye with a cornea transplant. I use two industrial machines one set up for satin stitch the other for straight stitch. Both have very bright hallogen lights and magnifiers and I have no problems. Black on black can be tough but with the white markers I can mark the edges before stitching.

    I tie into the previous color and put through so I only have to rethread.
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  19. #19
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    I use a bright light, like an Ott light. It really makes a difference!

  20. #20
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    I , too, am legally blind, and struggle with lining up seams, and such.. I decided when I began to quilt a few years ago, that just because my eyesight might be extremely poor, that I could see beauty in what I create, because everything in my old line of sight ( before becoming legally blind ) was beautiful.. I might not see other things clearly, or have perfect or even semi perfect looks to my quilts, but I do see perfection in the joy I have creating them.. Usually, and I say Usually, noone makes rude comments about why a seam isn't lining up , or why color matches don't always go.. just because they don't like it, doesnt mean I don't love making them..
    So just hang in there, and be VERY proud of your accomplishments, because I know how hard it is sometimes when our vision doesn't line up with our abilities to create..

  21. #21
    PEP
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    I am sorry to hear of your disability. Don't know if this will be of any use to you, but I purchased a pair of 4X magnifier glasses and put them on over my regular glasses, I look silly, but then no one sees me in my sewing room.

  22. #22
    Marianna48's Avatar
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    My friend is blind in one eye and has difficulty similar to what you have. She bought a sewing machine that has all those new features on it so make life easier for her and it helped her great. But if that is financially a problem I would advise to buy a Daylight lamp. It makes such a difference if you have good lightning with your machine or for hand work. I bought it myself too as I was diagnosed to become totally blind due to diabetes, but it didn't happen to be correct at this time. It still can happen, but not now. But I didn buy myself some extra supplies as magnifing glasses and a daylight lamp. I still use those to my pleasure although I can see better. My eye sight was still correctable with new glasses for this time.

  23. #23
    Marianna48's Avatar
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    waht also helped is to buy a feet that has a 1/4 "seam guide. That way you can tough it before you start sewing with yoru fingers to se if it lined up correctly and the guide helps to keep the fabric in place. It needs to have an attached edge that stand up a little. there is a lot on the market for bad vision, you just need to find out what works bast for you. Good luck and keep us posted on what you did finally! We can all learn form it again!

  24. #24
    Super Member OmaForFour's Avatar
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    I just had cataract surgery on both eyes and a trifocal lens was inserted. This was 6 weeks ago and I am seeing extremely well already. Dr. says it will take til the end of the year to be completely healed. I am so pleased. GOD IS GOOD!
    I would suggest to you to have another Dr. look at the situation. Maybe someone who is a specialist and has more up to date training than you Dr.?
    I went to a Dr. who has a clinic that does only these kinds of eye surgery and glaucoma cases. Things of that nature, out of the ordinary realm of treatment.
    You do deserve the best. Prayers coming your way!

  25. #25
    Junior Member Corry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mawcarol
    I am new to quilting and I have macular degeneration and am finding it difficult to get things lined up straight. I am legally blind in my right eye and my left eye ranges between 20-40 and 20-50. I would appreciate any suggestions. I am 57 and want to quilt while I still have vision in my left eye. Thanks mawcarol
    I am your age and have cateracts. I am sewing while I can till I can have surgery. I don't have insurance so not sure when that will be. BUT....I enjoy quilting and sewing for now. Hubby put a shop light up attached to the cieling of my sewing room and I have a floor ott light sitting next to my little cutting table. I have one of those plastic shelves on wheels with the 4 drawers sitting next to my chair so I can swivel around and do any pressing or cutting I need to do. My cut and press mat fits just perfect on the top of the drawers and with it on wheels i can scoot it to me or away when I go back to the sewing machine. With the ott lamp next to the drawers and with the shop light from the ceiling I can see pretty well to sew for now.

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