Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quilting Tips for the Disabled...

It's been a good four days for quilting lately, despite not being able to get to my Quilting Guild tonight because I couldn't park near enough for my lame self to get there. I've got my mammoth Serengeti Plain quilt, with faces of jungle animals, African plains grasses, very fine leopard print, pale elephant skin grey etc. etc. off to get "stuffed" (quilted). I've nearly finished Chapter Five of our quilting bees mystery quilt, in the colors of our bedroom drapes. I've made progress on my daughter-in-laws, television watching lap quilt, in antique fabrics. And made a good beginning on another grand-daughter's "stack the deck" quilt. Love designing and piecing. But still, quilting can be tough on those with disabilities.

I suppose there's already a book of hints on quilting for the disabled, if anyone knows of it, let me know! Just in case there's not -- here's what I've discovered.

You can cut anything sitting down. Even if you have to cut clear across whole widths of fabric. You just have to fold the fabric differently. Depending on the length this can be pretty easy to do. Just fold from side to selvage (usually it comes like this), but then, do it again. Now you've got four-fold (easy for rotary cutters) and not a long distance to traverse. I've found the simple dining room table makes a great surface (with mat, of course), and the dining room chair height is just fine for this.

Ironing, another bugbear if you've got disabilities. I've tried a little ironing board and mini-iron right by my side at the machine. That's just about OK for little seam pressing, but the better the fabric, the less successful it is. Missing the steam, don't you know. Luckily most ironing boards can be set to a seated height, and man, I can go all day that way.

But my main complaint is the dratted pedal. There is no way my knee wants to go up into the air in order to get enough pressure on my toes to push the pedal down. What works? Having the pedal backwards!! So all I have to do is lower my toes and off we go, no knee involvement at all. Now if the machine manufacturers would just take this to heart, and make a pedal where the cord can be inserted either side, what a treat that would be!

If you know any other good tips, please leave them here in the comments section!

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