Follow
Share

My father told my mother from the day they got married, besides being a very hard worker at his job, that he would help her keep house if she would cook for him. She was a wonderful cook, baker & seamstress. And I think he did enjoy dusting and sweeping. He gave her everything she ever wanted. He never asked for anything but worked extra hours for extra cash so she could have what she wanted. 67 yrs together she knows no other way of life. She had a rude awakening almost 6 yrs ago when my father passed away. I moved in with her as dementia had already started and she couldn’t be left alone.


Long story short, she started making Sun Bonnet Sue quilts for her children. 15 yrs ago!! That should have been a clue that she was having problems sewing. The problem is she wants to finish these quilts before she passes. She can’t see to thread the sewing machine. She has a great machine that has a threader, but she is now needing the threader replaced, for the 3rd time, at $125.00 each time! If you know anything about these quilts, there is a lot of sewing and embroidery work involved. Years ago she did beautiful work. Now, she can mend worn socks, dishcloths, towels, but has trouble with everything else. After I set the machine up. She can’t follow directions, can’t thread the needle or even put the thread thru the machine. Can’t embroidery anymore, starts, then rips it out, sews it again, then rips it out again, over and over. I have tried to explain that her eyesight has failed her, that it’s not her fault, but she can’t see well enough to do the tedious work. That’s when the excuses start, why she is having trouble. Never her fault. When she told me today that she is taking her machine in for work again so she can “get sewing on those quilts and get them done”, I about lost it. After the last replacement of the needle threader 9 mos ago, she broke it again 1st time using it. She needs to quit sewing. I have tried over and over to get her to give it up. My sister and I have told her we would sew the squares together and what squares she has finished we will put the quilt together. Nope. She wants to make a certain size and what she has done will not make that size. I know this sounds trivial to all, but this has been going on 10 hrs a day for going on 6 yrs, off and on. She doesn’t have the money to keep replacing it, and I have explained that to her. But like I said, she has no reasoning skills. If it’s not what she wants. She thinks she can still do whatever she wants. She paid a lot for her machine and she “ is not going to quit sewing until those quilts are done”. And like I said, she wants them a certain size and I for one do not have the time or patience to make a bunch of new squares. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do, or tell her? It will not do any good to have the repair person tell her that her machine is not repairable, as she would call around and find another place to take it. Or call the manufacturer, or anyone else who might be able to tell her what she wants to hear.


Any help would be appreciated, I am just so over these quilts.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
As a quilter, I can understand your mother wanting to finish her projects her self. I can also understand the frustration of not being able to thread a machine. Until I got progressive lenses, I had to remove the needle to thread it, then put it into the machine, without twisting the thread around it.

There are sewing machine needle threaders that work quite well and are not attached to the machine. I use one on my old machine that does not have a build in needle threader. It does sound like Mum, need someone to thread the machine as well as the needle. Does her machine have speed control? I guessing that if it has a needled threader it will.

I second the suggestion to see if there is a quilt guild nearby where a member may be able to help Mum out. Especially if it can be introduced to Mum as her sharing her experience and mentoring a younger quilter.

Good luck. We are trying to convince Dad that he does not need to build more raised beds in the garden. Only 4 of the 12 that are there were planted this year. But he insists he needs more garden space. It is like these projects will keep them alive.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

She needs those quilts finished or she cannot rest (and neither can you!). Go online and find your nearest quilting circle. Appeal for help. Get them done (we can figure out how to get them past your mother and through the door with minimal trauma when the time comes). You could consider "lending" her machine to those workers, while you're about it. Then in due course she can be shown the finished product: if she's pleased, great, display them; if she isn't (which you will have to take on the chin) then discreetly tidy or give them away.

For keeping her mind and hands busy - there are ridiculously simple embroidery kits which she might find insultingly easy, but on the other hand you really can't go wrong - it's stitching by numbers, essentially. Those for children are of course designed to give quick but satisfying results.

She already has a really good craft lamp, has she, I expect? You can also get magnifiers which attach to them, or to an embroidery or quilting frame, which makes it easier to see your work.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Are you in charge of her fiances? Is there any way that she can make the purchases for the new needles without your consent? If she really can't afford to keep purchasing them, then, I'd just see to it that she doesn't. I'd also be concerned with her using a needle, since she has dementia. She may easily misjudge the location of her finger and get injured. I'd likely say that things would be coming soon and let it go. She likely won't like it, but, sometimes, people who have dementia do not listen to reason, because that part of the brain is not working. It may be that she will eventually will forget about it, if the items are removed from her view. I know it can be very stressful to hear repeated comments over and over about things that really are not real or are nonsensical, but, I think that is part of the condition that is one of the hardest to deal with.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I can see why you're frustrated with this situation! This is a tough one. I agree to send the machine out for repair, put everything away where she can not see it or get to it (maybe it "had to go with the machine"??). I don't know why, that's what the repair shop said.

Get ready with a much simpler project for her to work on since she will have a lot of free time on her hands with her quilting project gone. Plan ahead with lots of distractions when the questions come and come and come.

I'm surprised that she has been so stuck on making them a certain size, etc. You'd think with her level of dementia that she'd change her mind from time to time on it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think you need to send the machine away for "repairs" and pack anything related to the quilts and sewing away in storage "for the time being", and then focus on other activities to fill your mother's day (that, IMO, will be the hardest part). Of course she will obsess over it, but if you firmly remind her that "it is getting fixed" and you will personally call about it "tomorrow" and then provide a distraction her compulsion will hopefully lessen over time. You might need to limit her access to the phone as well.


(I also like the idea of getting the quilts finished by someone else, that would take away the motivation and you could pull them out when she gets stuck in a loop)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Do you or your mother belong to a church where there might be a ladies group? Or find out if there are any women's groups in the area that might be interested in helping out with sewing/making the squares? Or a senior center where there are people who like to sew? Maybe a few volunteers could come to the house and have a sewing bee with your mom to make the number of squares needed to finish the quilts. She could be "in charge" of the project but let the volunteers know her limitations. There are also "senior companion" programs in some places, sponsored by AARP, and you might be able to get a volunteer who's a good seamstress to come work with your mom. It would have the added benefit of having some company for your mom.

All this of course doesn't address the underlying issue of your mom's dementia, decline, etc. but it might make her feel better if progress is being made toward completing the quilts. In her mind, the quilts are part of her legacy, and I think the recipients would be very happy to have them.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
NeedHelpWithMom Sep 26, 2019
Sweet answer. Worth a try.
(0)
Report
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter