Sewing with the Seniors

Monday was my first day back “sewing with the seniors” at the assisted living facility. I have not been there on a regular basis since last fall due to physical limitations on my part.

I have to say, I could not have managed without the participation of my husband. He was my “saving grace” getting the ladies machines plugged in; machines “reassembled” etc. Honestly; only one lady had the ability to thread her machine and needle on her own. The rest needed assistance with getting the thread through the guides and tension discs; and through the needle; winding bobbins etc.  Two ladies “brought” their machines to our workshop. The other two ladies were using machines that were “donated” to the facility.  Sadly the facility did not set up enough machines, so some ladies just got to “watch” and talk.  I know there are other machines in a closet somewhere, but…..no staff to go find them.  (This is a $15K/month facility and some things just make me scratch my head.)

I decided the project for the next few sessions will be “Quilt as you go” placemats. I chose this project because our local quilt shop has a charity drive going on. Here are the details from Serendipity Quilt Shop, https://www.serendipityquiltshop.com/ Dagsboro DE website —” Studies have shown that persons receiving home bound meals (similar to Meals on Wheel) feel motivated to eat meals on a more regular basis if they have an attractive place setting.

CHEER has been serving Sussex County since 1971 and provides over 230,000 meals annually to eligible home bound seniors in Sussex County. This vital service ensures that no senior in Sussex County goes hungry. 

As quilters, we can support the meal program and these seniors. Use up your scraps or other fabrics that you often wondered why you purchased and make placemats!   Perhaps you’d like to attend a free Sit & Sew and make placemats!  60% of home bound meals are delivered to men so please keep this in mind while sewing the placemats.

Our goal is to provide 1200 placemats this year. Please join us in our effort to make our seniors feel remembered and cared for by making placemats that are approximately 12” x 16” or 14” x 18”.  

To prep for the day of sewing with the seniors, I cut backing fabric 15″ x 19″ and prepared batting of the same size. My batting was what I called “Frankenbatting”….scraps of batting cut and fused together with Pellon easy-knit tape (EK150), looking a bit like a mad scientist creation when done, but highly functional. I use this often and had to order a new  package this week.

I really like this product; quick and easy to use. Just straighten the edge and butt the join together and press the tape down. I have BAGS of cut-off scraps of batting that are just “too big” to cut up for dog bed filler!  This is a great way to use them.  Anyway….once I had my fabric and batting ready; I used a bit of ODIF 505 spray baste and affixed the backing to the batting.  I gave it a little press with the iron and in no time had 10 placemat sets ready for sewing.

The ladies were given direction and assistance as they sewed the precut strips I provided to the batting and backing.  We assisted with finger pressing in between strips.

Working on placemats

 

Over the course of an hour and 1/2 we played with a lot of strips.  Trish got one finished and started a second one.  The other ladies will no doubt finish next week!

I trimmed down the only finished placemat when I got home and added the binding.  Trish had picked the placemat intended for a man. It has bold colorful stripes on the back and she worked with “non” floral fabrics.

Quilt as you go placemat by Trish

Off & on all week I have been trimming my friend June’s stash of blue & green fabric and setting aside “more strips” for next week; and selecting other fabrics that will make pretty placemat backs.  Since I have all her fabric, and she is part of the group, I thought it was a great way to use her fabric. She enjoyed seeing “familiar” pieces. I enjoy that she is back to sewing after almost 2 years.

The ladies seemed to enjoy the project, doing something for someone else.  They just “want to sew” and I hope that sewing for someone else will give them some personal satisfaction too.  Honestly, the residents at this facility live in 1 or 2 room apartments and don’t have room for any “stuff”; so anything they make gets given away.

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Sewing at the Assisted Living facility etc

On Thursdays, I often go sew with the residents at Brandywine Assisted Living.  I started this project after my friend June moved into the facility.  June has been out of commission for over 2 months due to a fall, breaking her back, being in hospital and rehab and unable to get around very much.  I saw her last in early June, and found out recently she had gone back to the hospital.  Turns out what was really giving her pain were two broken ribs, besides the injury to her back.  Well, I like to report I saw her this week, up and walking, with a smile on her face!  She wasn’t up to sewing yet, but she is in much better state. I was so glad to see her!  Apparently she had been “out for a walk”, with an aide, while we were sewing.  We all got to visit for a few minutes, and even her hubby is in better spirits since she is doing so much better.  My hubby was very pleased to see both June and her hubby.  So, thanks to my readers who have kept dear June in thought and prayer!

I have 2 “regulars” , besides June, who like to work on projects,  Trish and Dee.  Trish is the “seamstress” at Brandywine.  Everybody brings Trish things to hem, fix etc.  She often gets asked to make things for people and is generous with her time.  She “travels” to the room where we sew with her machine in the box, on the seat of her rolling walker.  She is a very independent woman, who still drives, and goes to classes at the local quilt shop about 10 miles away. Trish brought a lovely bag she had just made for “show & tell”.  Trish is not a quilter, but since I am, that is the direction I am taking the sewing group. The other “regular” is Dee.  She IS a quilter, and enjoys working with the fabric and is a power sewer.  No instruction needed about 1/4 ” seam allowances or “right sides together” or “chain piecing”.

I was given a bankers box of 4.5″ squares several months ago, and thought they would be a perfect start for these ladies.  I never know how many people are coming, and this gave me a huge variety of fabric to have ready to sew.  Dee and Trish started their quilts in May, laying out blocks they liked, etc.  Dee wanted to make a lap quilt, and Trish a baby quilt.  This box of squares had a wide variety, and made a good jumping off point.  They enjoyed going through stacks of squares looking for fabrics that met their personal requirements!  Last month I suggested to Trish that she order 2 yards of white fabric for use as sashing.

Trish called me early in the week and let me know her fabric had arrived.  When I arrived this week, she had her fabric ready to cut. My quilter’s assistant (aka husband) helped Trish, handing her blocks and replacing them on the design “wall”.  (Our design wall is a plastic table cloth with flannel back!)  I cut sashing strips and posts, while Trish sewed.  With that extra pair of hands, we cut just the right amount of strips, and Trish was able to get them sewn on one side of the block, and all the posts sewn on the remaining strips.  She was so happy with how the scrappy blocks were setting with the sashing!  Trish was also very appreciative of my “Quilter’s helper”, keeping her pieces straight on the the design space!  I have several yards of a very pretty fabric (from June’s fabric stash) that will get used for the backing.

Quilting at Brandywine Assisted Living

Quilters assistant Bill with Trish!  They both were having a good time.  I think they will be disappointed if Bill doesn’t come “next time”!  

Next time I go to sew, I will get a picture of Dee hard at work.  This week wasn’t a good time for a photo of her.  She had taken a bad fall and her face is still severely bruised. She had an interesting story to share to accompany the bruises, and let’s just say, be careful when you are in a hurry!

While I was cutting fabric, and pressing parts for the ladies, my phone was buzzing and ringing.  I had 2 friends reaching out to check on “my” well being. While we were away from home, there was an accident on our busy road, right in front of our house. We came home to find the roadway covered in sand (to absorb the oil/fuel spills I suppose) and orange markings all over the road and in our lawn.

Lucky we have a fence!

We could not figure out what had happened, but were thankful our fence was still in place. (I know, time for power washing and painting again! It’s been 8 years…)

I posted the picture above on Facebook and asked if anyone knew what had happened.  Another friend sent me a link to the local fire company photo’s of the accident.  Now the orange paint makes sense. The marks in our grass were LR (Left Rear) and RR (Right rear).

I am guessing the red car crossed the center lane and hit the white car head on, pushing the white car back into our yard and narrowly missing our fence.  I just don’t understand how this can happen at 35 mph!  Big, wide shoulders on both sides of the road.  I’m still shaking my head.  (Not that everyone really drives the speed limit……) Neighbors who have to turn into the development across the street from us often talk about how risky making the turn is, with people passing on the right shoulder, rather than waiting for them to make the turn.  Completely illegal in Delaware to pass on the shoulder.  Getting out of our driveway during “commute times” is challenging, and we often have to wait 2 or 3 minutes for traffic.  The speed limit changes to 25 mph just north of our house, so everyone going south is “speeding up” to the 35 mph (or higher) and traffic going north into town is (should be) slowing from 45 to 35 to 25….but that doesn’t happen.  I guess we won’t know the “rest of the story” about this accident, but we were grateful to find the mailbox and fence intact when we arrived home a couple of hours after the incident. Both of these vehicles were seriously damaged, and I pray the occupants were not seriously injured. I could see in other photo’s that the “side curtain” air bags had deployed on the white Kia.

I am thankful to, for those friends who cared enough to check on our well being. And, I am even more thankful that my husband decided to ride along with me to Brandywine to visit with June and Walt, instead of staying home to cut grass in the summer heat and humidity. Cutting that “strip” in front of the fence is always risky with the road traffic, but today is Saturday, much cooler and less traffic too!  I should be out weeding, but I have a sundress to make!

Stay safe on the roads this long holiday week, and slow down, give others a break, leave early and put down your phones while you are driving.