The road ends, but the journey continues...

Specialty Feet

Soon after the first two weeks of my convalescence I set up what my sorella-amica Lisa called a ‘sewing sanctuary’ – a working layout that is user friendly for one such as I with ‘Specialty Feet’. I scrunched down the ironing board, placed it in between my desk and sewing machine and scooter around from station to station on my desk chair. Using the desk as my cutting table area, everything is amazingly manageable – at least in context of smaller projects. While I can (and do with blessings from the Doc) clomp happily around from place to place while in the boot, merely standing on my foot for no good reason is a no-no.

sewing sanctuary set up

My sewing sanctuary set up. Yeah, it’s a mess, but it works!

That same aforementioned sorella-amica challenged me to dig out the 2018 Row-by-Row quilt block kit we each purchased while visiting the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum last summer. Well, she didn’t out and out challenge me, but she texted me a photo of her completed block a few days before my surgery saying it was easy-peasy…except that the tiny flying geese border strips were a bit of a pain.
Who could resist that passive challenge? Not me.
Well, I stalled out at the sewing of the second half of those tiny flying geese blocks…ick, Too tedious and yes, tiny.
Tiny Flying Geese Construction

My ‘Specialty Feet’ resting while working on those tiny flying geese!

sewing machine accessory bible book coverNo matter, those circumstances pushed me to ferret out an excellent book I bought recently on specialty feet for the sewing machine and how to use them in various contexts.
(I bet you thought this post was only about my literal foot situation…HA! Fooled you.)
The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible by Wendy Gardiner & Lorna Knight is packed with information and advice on types of needles to use, size of thread, fabric idiosyncrasies and creative exploration of the assorted ‘Specialty Feet’.
This hands-on application on my Bernina is something I’ve dabbled in from time to time but never really got into as it took time away from my regular piecing and quilting projects. Now that I’m stuck at home* flittering between seated diversions**, I figured, why not go through this ‘get the most out of your machine – from using basic feet to mastering specialty feet’ book now?
wounded warriors specialty feetI can’t help but end this post with a slice of perspective…I will get out of the boot, I will resume my vigorous hiking in the mountains when we get back to where there are such places to hike, I will be able to wear sandals with my woman’s feet showing (even though I still maintain feet are pretty ugly under all circumstances!)…but for the many Wounded Warriors among us, their ‘Specialty Feet’ are permanent. Yes, enabling them more normal physical activities, but still composed of foreign materials and requiring new ways of thinking in their everyday usage.

“The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:19

* not entirely true, I get out and about, just can’t drive myself yet – plus I tire easily!
**I am currently in the middle of season 3 of Call the Midwife (I so love this series, especially as it’s based upon the true-life stories of the main character), season 7 part two of Dr. Who (after a so-so season 6, I am sooooo into The Doctor once again!) I am also going through stacks of reading material – some books by indie-authors, some craft, some contemporary novels, assorted magazines and ‘comfort’ novels I re-read on a regular basis. Then there’s the more business-like stuff I can’t escape because I am supposed to remain more sedentary than active: transferring files to my new computer, reinstalling NOTION sound bundles and the seemingly never ending edits, layout issues, etc for my Swimming with Swans project.


  1. Marty

    Call me fooled; I was only focusing on feet placement. 🙂 We really enjoyed “Call the Midwife.” I had to walk away from nearly every birth until my wife said I could return, but I really enjoyed the time capsule of each period. Fortunately the show is still current, so you have lots more to still view. Enjoy! And also heal well.

    • laura bruno lilly

      LOL – I understand about the walking away from the birthing scenes!
      For myself, even though I am well beyond childbearing age, each birth scene brings me back to my own experiences in childbirth.
      Had my latest doc appt yesterday, and I’m well on-track. I even graduated to transitioning into the next stage of foot wear: surgical shoe!

  2. Lisa

    I’m still smiling over all your amazing “feats” ! You always take on your projects with such heart and I have yet to see you ‘de-feeted” by anything!
    Keep healing and give those geese the boot !
    Lots of love to you and totally proud and priveldged to be your sorella-amica!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Too Punny! Great way to start my day!
      Hysterical hugs sent your way.

  3. Deborah Brasket

    It sounds like you are making super good use of your time in the boot. Enjoy this downtime and get well soon, my friend.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Deborah!

  4. Marie Ann Bailey

    I love your play on “specialty feet.” Nicely done! Good luck with your quilting and the rest of your recovery. I hear you about having perspective. I had a very serious accident many years ago, injuring my right leg. The doctors had been tempted to amputate but fortunately they did not. I was only 23 at the time. I was left with a slight limp which would have been worse if I hadn’t propelled myself to overcome the insult of the injury by becoming more physically active than I was previously. About ten years later I enrolled in college and walking the halls to my class when I spotted a young woman, probably early twenties, on crutches talking to a professor. She was wearing denim cutoffs and her left leg had been amputated at mid-thigh. I looked away, not wanting to stare yet wanting to stare, to take in this woman, standing straight and confident. I shrunk at the memory of how sorry I had felt for myself during my recovery and beyond. Perspective is very important. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh, gee…I get it. But it still doesn’t diminish the severity of your own situation…
      Glad you enjoyed the myriad uses of the term ‘specialty feet’.

  5. Mariss Stevens

    What ingenuity, and so appropriate that you used this “foot bound” time to research the remarkable things one can do with sewing machine feet. And yes, those tiny flying geese look terrifying! Don’t forget to rest that foot

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for the subtly placed reminder to rest the foot…I’m kind of lax at times.
      I’m relieved to hear you, too, are taken aback by those tiny flying geese…

  6. Andy

    What is it you have done to your foot?
    As for the Doctor, not ‘your’ Doctor but ‘our’ Doctor: you’ve met Clara now?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Did nothing! I had routine bunion/hammer toe surgery done that the doctor deemed ‘medically necessary’ but wasn’t approved by insurance 5 years ago citing it as ‘elective/cosmetic’ unnecessary surgery regardless of the Doctors orders…Me, who wore Earth Shoes religiously back in the day and only wear pumps/2 inch heels at most during special occasions!!! Thankfully, our new insurance plan gave us full coverage with lowest deductible ever! (yep, I outlined this here because as a Brit, I know it’s a mystery to you about our dumb health coverage/lack of coverage – it’s a mystery to me, too…sigh…and I’m relatively healthy).
      Ya know even with the boot, I can walk better than before the surgery!
      As for ‘our’ Doctor – yes, where I’m at in the series, Clara is his current companion. Although I first met her in season 6 as the ‘human’ Dalek. The best episode from that season IMHO. I think the Ponds were getting bit stagnant (yep a purposeful pun) 😀

  7. Jill Weatherholt

    Sadly, I’m all thumbs when it comes to sewing, Laura. In fact, just yesterday I had Derek sew a button on a jacket for me. Sad, I know. It’s nice when we can stay productive despite dealing with an injury. I hope your foot is feeling good these days. Great verse!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hubby comes to the rescue…great!
      Yep, foot is right on track and I hope to hear more good news when I see Doc this week.
      Enjoy the rest of your Sunday afternoon.

  8. Roseanne

    Hi Laura! I am so glad you are convalescing well and keeping yourself mildly busy. You have figured out a workaround sewing style that seems just perfect. I have oodles of specialty feet for my machine that I’ve never used and possibly never will. Did you learn a lot? Keep up the good work healing – you’ll be hiking around in no time. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, I learned a lot on the sewing machine specialty feet front – well worth the dive into the book! What made this book better IMHO is that fact that it shows the ‘same’ feet in the various shapes that come with various machine brands. Because as we all know, all machines and their feet are not alike!

  9. Mary

    Glad to hear you can quilt! I, too, have specialty sewing machine feet I’ve never used

    • laura bruno lilly

      I’m thinking about using my ‘adaptive’ set up after I am out of the boot…the scrunched down ironing table is great. However, I know it wouldn’t work for large lengths of fabric/quilt tops. So I’ll be adapting the ‘adaptation’ at some point! Still love my regular cutting/layout table best.

  10. Ally Bean

    I need to get back to Dr. Who! In fact, I was thinking about that this morning shortly before I read your post about sewing. Which sounds much too complicated for me, but I did enjoy seeing your own speciality feet. Made my smile.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, the boot kinda looks cute in its way.
      As for the Doctor, I almost gave up during season 6…but glad his new companion Clara has joined him in season 7…In this day and age, it’s so easy to ‘catch up’ on series such as this. So, go for it and get your Dr. fix soon!

  11. L. Marie

    Great post, Laura! I love the specialty feet theme. (I’ve never seen that Wounded Warrior book. Looks great. Oh my those blocks look tiny. Good on you for pushing through that project! Love that verse!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Do you remember when the Hannah Hurnard book was popular? I had a hard time with the concept of ‘hinds’ feet on high places’ back in the day, but have grown in understanding it over the years.
      Hope your Sunday is filled with times of rest interspersed with work.

  12. Anne Copeland

    Hi Laura, When you make blocks like this, you can chain stitch them. So what you do is to put all the blocks together as you are going to stitch them into a pile, and then you pick up the first one , sew the seam, and instead of cutting the thread, pick up the next one and continue to stitch down thru it. Do this until you get them all stitched. Now don’t cut them apart just yet. Just leave as many together as you are going to need for one section, and cut between that and the next section. Now you can cut the individual blocks apart, and once again, line them all up, and this time you will pick up two blocks and sew the seam together to connect them and then pick up another block and stitch it to one of the blocks already made. Keep doing this until you get them all chain stitched together, and then you can do your trimming, etc. I make quilts, etc. too and this is a good and quick way to do it. Hope you can understand how I have written it. It helps make life easier. Anne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, it makes complete sense, you articulated it very well! Thanks for your input. Hope to see some of your fiber art creations posted on your blog sometime.

  13. Jane Chesebrough

    Your sorella-amica Lisa knows you well. When I got to the sewing type of specialty feet, I laughed out loud. This is full of puns and humorous notes. You are not wasting time, you are accomplishing a lot of things. I like how you use affirmations to keep your outlook open and positive. It is okay to sleep, too, as that is how we is good to hear how you are doing and you have a nice little working space going for you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ha, yes, she does!
      Glad you got a giggle out of the puns and humor…hope it adds to a great Sunday afternoon for you.
      Oh and BTW: you’re right about the sleep…I’m not the best at leaning into that part of healing, but hubby keeps me in line!

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