Quilting is a wonderful hobby that can be started at any age. The right tools now enhance this rewarding hobby for seniors. If you’ve waited until your later years to explore quilting, here are some tips and advice for having an enjoyable and productive time quilting through your senior years…
Seniors frequently have physical limitations. You might think that these would be incompatible with quilting, but with a few special tools, seniors with arthritis, low vision, and even back problems, can still enjoy this hobby.
Even younger quilters sometimes feel back fatigue when leaning over normal-height tables during cutting and piecing procedures, so don’t feel bad if all that leaning over makes you ache! You can avoid that ache by raising your work surface with table-leg risers.
Table-leg risers are plastic stands that g under the leg of your table, They’re shaped similar to traffic cones, but with flatter tops. A slightly recessed well in the top keeps your table leg from scooting off the cone if you bump it. Simply place one riser under each table leg, and you’ll avoid needing to lean over the cutting table, and take the strain out of an otherwise relaxing hobby.
If low vision begins to interfere with your senior activities, you can take advantage of a number of assistive tools. Needle threaders with a magnifying lens built in will keep you from needing to focus on that tiny hole. Some sewing machines even come with automatic threaders, reliving you of this intricate chore altogether.
Special magnifying lenses meant for close work are available for crafters. These lens are mounted on a necklace, and angled so that they lean against the wearer’s chest. When you look down towards your stitch work, you’re actually looking through the magnifying lens.
Once you have your quilt-to pieced, you’ll find that you have several options to manage the actual work of quilting it. Seniors that have difficulty using their hands for extended fine-detail work may choose instead to use the tying method on their quilt-top. This traditional method consists of widely-spaced yarn ties across the quilt, instead of thousands of tiny thread stitches. It also uses a larger needle, which is easier to manipulate.
Another alternative for seniors is to machine-quilt their quilt-tops. Using an electric sewing machine for the final steps greatly speeds up the process, and sidesteps the problems of arthritic hands having to guide a needle. Seniors who want to participate in the piecing, and then commit their project to another for the quilting can also find very affordable machine-owners willing to quilt for them. These, frequently home-based entrepreneurs, charge a modest fee to run a quilt through a long-arm quilting machine. Often they will include backing and/or binding materials and service as well.
With these few extra tools, senior can enjoy all the camaraderie of their local quilting groups, and produce beautiful quilts throughout their retirement years.