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It's Never Too Late to Quilt
Written By : SeniorsList 
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Quilting is for all times and all ages. In our retirement years, the craft seems to grow in its appeal and meaning. With innovative new tools, the hobby is even more accessible to seniors.  It’s the perfect way to relax, keep yourself occupied, and utilize your imagination in a meaningful way.

For ages, quilting has been a rich chapter in women’s history.  The quilt is like a canvas to paint our stories and memories.  Our needles are our brushes.  Quilting groups are quite popular and often meet once a week to socialize, snack, and create rich works of textile art.  The popular film, How To Make An American Quilt (1995), is a great example of this.

Although it seems like quilting would be nearly impossible for elders with certain difficulties like low vision, arthritis, or back problems to enjoy, in reality there are some simple tricks that can help a lot.

Try raising your work surface to relieve minor back and neck aches.  Table-leg raisers are shaped similarly to plastic cones and go right under the legs of your table.  This handy device will keep you from bending uncomfortably over your work space, keeping you relaxed and efficient for a longer period of time.

If you have trouble with your eyesight, quilting can seem like an impossible task. However, you can find at your local craft store a needle- threader with a magnifying lens built right in.  Also look out for sewing machines that have an automatic threader to relieve you of this task altogether.

There are magnifying lenses available that are mounted on the neckline and angled so that when you lean forward you look straight through the lens and onto your work.  Again, ask your local hobby store to assist you.

If you have difficulty using your hands for finely detailed stitching, use the more traditional method of “tying” on your quilt-top.  With this method, use widely-spaced yarn ties to join the quilt, instead of countless smaller stitches.  You can also use a larger needle for this method, which is very helpful.

You may choose to machine-quilt your quilt-tops.  Using an electric sewing machine will speed up the process, and makes it easier for arthritic hands. You might think about having an affordable machine-owner do the quilt top for you after you do the piecing.  At-home entrepreneurs will run a quilt through a long-art quilting machine and charge only a modest fee.  They might also provide binding materials and backing as well.

With these simple tools and techniques, seniors can continue to quilt well into their retirement years with ease and enjoyment.

Check out these sites online for quilting tools, or go to your local Michaels’s or JoAnn’s craft store:

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