Sightseeing. A periodic tour of CVI news, views and events.

Tactile Quilts are Great for Babies Who Are Visually Impaired

Tactile quilts are a great gift idea for babies who have a visual impairment. CVI gives one to families that are new to the BEGIN program. Tactile quilts teach babies to explore a variety of textures, and when appropriate, colors and sounds. The quilts can be made with different textures in the squares on the front including lace, fringe, tulle, rickrack, elastic, and anything that is interesting and is washable. Some quilters will also add pockets on the quilt for a searching activity as the child gets older.

CVI recently received a donation of 21 tactile quilts from the Chamblee Star Quilt Guild. Members of the Guild make quilts to donate as part of their community outreach according to Shirley Dobson, a guild member. “We use everything on our quilts including items that make noise like a squeaky toy,” said Dobson.

Here are a few of the ones guild members made this year.

This quilt is for helping a child learn to count in Braille. Has the number and the braille version that they can touch. Colors are browns, yellows and orange.

This quilt has square with a theme of homes. There is a house boat, a castle and other types of homes with many colors including blue, pink, yellow, red and more with flowers, plaids and some strips.

This quilt includes a mitten and socks with fluffy cuffs that the child can feel. There is also a bear face with a raised purple bow. Other items include a square with a moon and a star, and x and o, a sail boat and fish under water.

Are you interested in making a quilt for a BEGIN baby? Below are a few instructions, and for the beginner, here’s a link to quilt making 101 that might be helpful.


The quilt is made of nine 12 ½ inch squares set 3 by 3 to give a finished quilt approximately 36 inches square. A 12 ½ inch square could be made of joined smaller squares of different fabrics or colors. You can also make themed quilts, with each square having a tactual picture of things associated with the beach, clowns, airplanes, camping, food, animals, flowers, balloons, etc. The top batting and back are then all put together, stitched and turned right side out. You can finish the inner seams with stitching or ties.