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Sewing from the soul: one woman's determination to conquer her blindness

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WALLA WALLA, WA - Sewing a quilt is hard enough as it is...but imagine doing it with your eyes closed.

That's what it's like for one Walla Walla woman who has been blind for her entire life. But instead of shying away from the challenge, she went out and won "Best Quilt" in a local competition. 

"I've never made a quilt," said Joleen Ferguson. For her, it was uncharted territory.

"Well I've always been blind."

Not only did she recently finish her first quilt, she went on to win Walla Walla Sew & Vac's quilting competition...beating out eight other contestants.

"People think they need to use their eyes to do everything, but there's just an awful lot of things that use your hands," said Ferguson.

She says she couldn't have done it without owner Tara Redberg's help.

"They never gave up," Ferguson said. "They just kept working with me until I eventually figured it out."

She adds that Redberg went above and beyond.

"I laid awake one night trying to figure out how to solve this problem," Redberg admitted.

So she improvised; knowing that sewing an intricate quilt without your vision can't be easy.

"The next morning I got some puffy paint and I looked up braille online and got the numbers so it could correlate, and I actually drew out each stitch so she could feel it," said Redberg.

Going the extra mile inspired Ferguson to nominate the local sewing shop for Best Business of the Year...and they won.

"It was really fun to be able to give them that," Ferguson said. "That nice 'thank you.'"

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