Can the walker bag be used on wheelchairs, scooters, or armchairs?
Sometimes, yes. It largely depends on the situation.
For armchairs, if there are not any wood or metal arms or legs to tie the bag to, corkscrew-shaped upholstery pins can be used to hold the bag in place.
For scooters and wheelchairs, measure and compare to the measurements mentioned in the walker bag listings. Though the top flap won't be useful, the four side ties could be used to fasten the bag securely and firmly, as long as there is some tubing in the right place to hold it.
For wheelchairs or scooters, there might be places in front of the user's knees to hang the bag; this is a very secure spot, and relatively easy to reach.
Some users might be able to tie the bag to the inside of the armrests, if there's room. This is also secure.
Power chair and scooter users might also be able to fasten it to the outside of the armrest, though this is a little less secure, but still easy to reach.
Another place to hang them is across the back, though this is really only convenient or secure for someone who is pushing the chair.
For that matter, they might fit on strollers, too!
Always take the measurements where you want to hang the bag and compare to the listing to be certain.
What crafts do you do?
I have been sewing since I was about 7 or so. Sewing is the only skill I received any instruction for -- from home ec classes in school. I learned most of what I know about sewing on-the-job as a theater costumer and then by having my own alterations and home dec business.
I started embroidery when I was 8 or 9 and added other similar skills like needlepoint later.
I taught myself to knit from a book when I was 10. My favorite knitting is textured, like aran styles; next favorite is intarsia, then lace.
I taught myself crochet from a book when I was about 12. I've made well over 100 lap-size afghans for people in nursing homes, and even more 'pet mats' to be used in animal shelters for pets waiting for adoption.
I also taught myself tatting, needle tatting, hairpin and broomstick lace, smocking, machine knitting, lap weaving, knitting boards, quilting, and more I can't recall at the moment.
What is MS (multiple sclerosis)?
MS is a chronic, progressive, debilitating illness of the brain and spinal cord. The cause is not yet known, and treatments are still not very effective. They believe the problem is that the body is attacking and damaging itself.
MS is the most common neurological disease among young people. Diagnosis occurs among those of almost any age, but is most frequent between ages 20-40, 2/3 of whom are women and 1/3 of whom are men. It is more common in areas that are temperate in climate, less common in tropical climates, and more common in people with greater European ancestry. There appear to be some genetic components as well as environmental factors.
I call MS the ultimate American disease because no one person's experience of MS will be exactly like another's. Because the disease can attack different places in the brain or spinal cord, the symptoms will differ from person to person. Symptoms can include sensory changes like numbness or tingling, paralysis, visual problems or blindness, muscle spasticity, pain, cognitive changes, swallowing problems, vertigo, dizziness, bladder or bowel problems, mobility problems, and others.
They think the problems are caused by the immune system attacking the insulation on nerves. When the insulating coating on nerves is damaged, it's like having an electrical cord damaged. The nerves start to short out and have problems, and if the body can't repair the damage the nerves will die.
There are few treatments for MS, with limited effectiveness. Most of them can only slow down the disease progression by about 30% in the lucky proportion for whom the drugs work. These drugs are mostly injected or offered by an IV infusion, and may have serious side effects. A number of the symptoms caused by the disease can be helped by other drugs.
Most people are diagnosed with the Relapsing-Remitting form of MS. This means that they will experience attacks of symptoms that will subside in time either partially or completely. Some people progress to Secondary Progressive, in which they might still experience attacks but continue to slowly progress without remissions. A small number are diagnosed as Primary Progressive from the start, and do not experience attacks but instead have disease that progresses steadily as time goes on.
Some people have mild cases that don't affect their everyday lives much. Others have severe attacks and progression. People with MS have a normal life expectancy.
Celebrities with MS include: Leeza Gibbons, Montel Williams, Terri Garr, Annette Funicello, Richard Pryor; David "Squiggy" Lander, Kelly "Girl" Sutton, & Clay Walker.
What is that in the photo at the top of your store?
That is a motif from a crochet tablecloth made by my great grandmother.
My grandparents' house burned to the ground in 1977, and though they were able to save many family heirlooms before the house was lost most of them sustained at least some damage. The tablecloth had several holes burned in it.
My mother asked me whether I thought I might be able to restore it. I spent several months working on it and was able to repair it so that it looked almost like new. This picture was taken during the process of restoring it.
What kinds of alterations and home dec do you do?
A lot of hems, and sometimes things like shortening or adding straps, taking side seams in or out, replacing zippers, replacing buttons, and the like. Most of it is on women's clothing or formal wear, with occasional costumes or specialty items like cheerleading or dance wear.
Most home dec projects are window treatments, though I also recover dining chairs, make cushion covers or slipcovers, pillows, table linens, and restore heirlooms.
Do you do custom work?
I can provide quotes on custom work. My studio rate for custom work usually runs between $20 to $35 per hour, depending on the specific skills needed in the project. Since custom items are individually hand made to customer specs, I cannot compete with outsourced overseas mass-produced pricing or the clearance pricing on my remaining craft show inventory. Materials costs depend on the project.
Sample pricing: Custom standard walker bags, $25; Custom deluxe walker bags, $35; Standard pillows, $10 and up; Lined totes, $20 and up; Cushion covers, $25 each and up.
How is shipping handled?
Most items are shipped within one day of payments clearing.
In some instances the shipping total on multiple items may be too high; I will refund the overcharge in those cases.
Shipping may be delayed for: FPO/APO addresses; international shipments; items purchased while I am away from home.
Most shipping is done through the US Postal Service via First Class, Parcel Post, or Priority Mail. The best choice for delivery often depends on the weight of the item.
International: Customs information on the forms is accurate to the invoice and packing list. I do not use the "gift" designation.
I inspect items before shipping for any damage that might have occurred during storage; if I find any damage, I will contact you.
I suggest insurance; almost all my items are one-of-a-kind and can't be replaced if lost or damaged in shipment.
To keep shipping and handling low I re-use good-quality boxes, but all envelopes, padding, tissue, peanuts, and bubble wrap are new and covered within the S&H cost.
Do you charge sales tax?
I have a business license for Ohio and do charge (and report!) 6.25% sales tax for purchases made by Ohio residents. I also report my online earnings to the IRS and State of Ohio.
How do you select fabrics for walker bags?
When I get the chance I look through the remnants at my local fabric store. That is the best way for me to find a variety of fabrics at the lowest cost possible. I search for fabrics of the right size, for a mix of fabrics that are washable for easy care or decorator fabrics that have built-in stain resistance so people have a choice, and for fabrics that will look good on a walker.
People seem to be afraid to choose prints often, probably worried that it might seem too garish. I'm always conscious of that concern and choose fabrics that I really believe people will like.
I choose fabrics that will match a variety of personalities. I choose fabrics that will be bright and cheerful, or dignified and elegant. I choose theme fabrics that are seasonal and bring a smile.
I find that tiny prints are either too busy looking in person, or they end up looking drab. And the solid colors often look very drab. Not to mention it is a lot easier to tell someone "put that in the striped walker bag" rather than try to explain WHICH black walker bag it is among the crowd.
Believe me, you get many more compliments with the prints I choose than the plain ones offered by discounters that were made by the thousands overseas. Don't be afraid of patterns and prints!
How did you design the walker bag?
A few years ago I spent some time in the hospital thanks to an MS related illness. When I came home I needed to use a walker to get around the house. I found that since I needed both hands and a lot of concentration to get around, I couldn't carry things like TV remotes, pens and paper, telephones in case of emergency, or food and drinks. There had to be a better way!
I dug out a sample walker bag I had made while trying to come up with charity projects for myself. It was of the common type that is essentially a small tote that ties at the top to a walker bar. I was not terribly impressed with the performance of this design. It was too small for a lot of things; it was too deep to find small things; it wasn't lined so the inside was a mess of seam allowances that collect dirt and ravel; it was too dark to see into; and it flopped around all over the place. I knew there had to be a better way.
When I felt better I started designing. My first attempt was pretty functional. It had a light colored lining that made it easy to see into and kept the bag neat. It didn't flop around because it was fastened quite well. It also had lots of room for big things yet small pockets as well to contain the little bits I needed.
At the same time, it wasn't as good as it could be. The pocket flaps and the anchors were all attached with tiny snaps. It kept things in place, but I think it took longer to prepare than astronauts going on a space walk. So back to the drawing board I went.
In two more tries I came up with what I think is a very good design, both in form and in function. There are minimal parts so it isn't complicated. Seams are almost entirely enclosed so the inside looks as good as the outside. It's secure, it's attractive, it's easy to use. What more could you ask?
Can we get a free copy of the pattern for our charity efforts?
I do not provide free copies. The money I make from my sales of both patterns and bags helps support the disability-related needs I have.
As the cost is minimal and the design is excellent for either individual or group projects, it really isn't much to invest for the value you can derive from it.
Are there restrictions on my use of the walker bag pattern?
Many pattern companies and designers have very strict conditions for use of their patterns. Some go so far as to insist a person should purchase a new copy of the pattern for each item they make for themselves, never mind charitable or profitable items.
I don't see much point in trying to be so rigid.
Anyone who purchases a pattern is free to:
a) make as many as they want for themselves, family members, and friends -- make them for holidays, for gifts, to match every outfit!
b) make as many as they want for charitable purposes, such as church groups or Girl Scouts making them for nursing home residents; I would appreciate acknowledgment if it is appropriate, such as if the event is publicized in a newsletter; that way, if others are interested in the pattern they would be able to contact me.
c) purchasers are also free to sell up to a thousand walker bags that they make from the pattern -- provided that they follow two conditions: I am acknowledged as the designer in some fashion such as a small footnote, once again so that if others are interested they could purchase a pattern; and that the makers charge at least as much as I do for their finished products. I can't compete with outsourcing, and with the amount of labor and materials involved I doubt anyone else could reasonably charge much less.
I specifically do NOT give permission for anyone to develop and use mass production to make these walker bags or a design that is based on mine. These bags are more attractive and meaningful when individually made, and I don't want these incredibly useful items that can be so helpful for those who need it most to become just another industrial commodity.
How much can a walker bag carry?
Quite a bit, especially the deluxe version with the outside pockets.
However, a walker is a medical device designed to keep a person safe as well as mobile. I've learned the hard way that if you put too much weight in the bag the walker will topple right over. So much for that!
So please be careful and use good judgment -- don't overload the bag.
Can I order several of the same item?
My items are almost entirely individually hand made, and in many cases the materials have been discontinued. It is very rare for me to be able to make any more. If an item is no longer available there is a full refund.