ANNOUNCEMENT: We have an introductory workshop to the Mitsy Kit on May 16, 2015, 1-5pm in the MIT International Design Center!  Click on this link to find out more and register: https://www.eventjoy.com/e/mitsy-kit-touch-based-quilting-introductory-workshop-2514540

The Mitsy Kit Story

It all started with Tammy’s mother — Mitsy.

Mitsy was a seamstress in her younger years; however, due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Mitsy lost her sight and was forced to give up on the sewing projects she loved. But challenges do have a great way of sparking creativity, and mother and daughter worked together to come up with a new way to “see” where to stitch through touch.

Our inspiration: Mitsy herself happy to be sewing her first quilt by touch.

Grace met Tammy and invited her to tell us more about her idea. This is how we started working together to make this material available to others inspired by the way her mother used it and found joy and purpose in sewing quilts.

Stephanie and Samantha working with Tammy in OSL lab to create the kit packaging and prototypes.

The Goal

A kit and training program to provide the opportunity for people of all visual abilities to enjoy creating beautiful, hand sewn quilts with both visual and tactile appeal for both the sighted and non-sighted.

The Mitsy Kit sewing pieces are designed with a tactile border that enables people of all visual abilities to stitch in the correct area, guided by touch.The Mitsy Kit also provides tactile and packaging cues to inform the quilter of the correct ordering of pieces to achieve the desired quilt pattern.

 An example of the Mitsy Kit pillow and placemat quilt products

Going Live

We decided that it was time to test what we were doing at the Lab and we had the great opportunity to present our touch based quilting program at the Carroll Center for the blind (Newton,MA).  Six women and a man participated in the workshop — out of them, only 3 had previous sewing experience.

During the workshop, all  attendees explored the sewing tools and bordered quilt pieces, while some also tried out threading a needle and sewing by touch. All enjoyed learning how they could use the Mitsy Kit to sew and quilt a placemat and a pillow, using touchable cues.

One of the Carroll Center attendees, Jennifer, exploring and sewing quilt pieces by touch.

Tammy – Mitsy’s daughter, and leader of the Mitsy kit project- brought an amazing and useful way to thread the needle, and it was successfully tested by the only man in the room, and he didn’t even have previous sewing experience!

One of the attendees testing the Mitsy Kit organizer, threading the needleMitsy kit organizer prototype, to help keep sewing tools easily accessible by touch

Shortly after the workshop we received a great comment on facebook from Jennifer, one of the attendees.   We were so happy to know she enjoyed learning how to sew a straight line of stitches using the kit.  She wrote a nice facebook post that made our day.

Did some touch quilting today; followed the velcro/ribbon border to make a straight line of stitches. Clipped my squares together using barettes. A fast and easy way to sew. Soon there will be touch sewing kits so that you can choose your own tactile quilting material and make all sorts of quilt things.

We want to share with you what is possible beyond the initial learning stages, like this full size quilt Mitsy sewed:

Contact us, Get involved!

Want to attend a workshop or volunteer at one? There are many ways you can get involved with the Mitsy project! Email us at mitsykit@openstylelab.org or click here!