August 27, 2012

Ergo appliqué

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Quite awhile ago I got the following question from Diane C.

I love your site, but have been looking for some tip on avoiding neck pain while appliquéing by hand. Am I the only one who has this problem?

Diane, I feel certain that you’re not! I’ve been on the lookout for some good information from you. First I’ll chime in with my own very non-expert two cents worth.

• Make sure you can see well. If you wear glasses, get your prescription up to date.
• Good lighting goes hand-in-hand with good vision. Make sure you can directly illuminate your appliqué.
• Support your work. I use the cushioned side of 12″ quilter’s pressing/cutting mat. I also put my feet up on a footstool.
• Warm up your neck, shoulders, and arms with standard stretching and rotating exercises.
• Break your appliqué up into shorter stints. Sew a little, get up and do something else. Sew and little, get up and do something else.
• Stop stitching the minute you feel strain. Get up and do some gentle reverse stretching.

So that’s what comes to my mind. Now let me direct you to a great post over at Stitch This!, the Martingale blog. It’s written for the knitter, but the information will work for any type of stitching ergonomics.

Tips for Ergonomic Knitting

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie


8 Responses to “Ergo appliqué”

  1. Deb on August 28th, 2012 2:09 am

    good tips Kay. I hope I can add

    Chairs with arms I find when some people applique they rest their arms on the chairs and the arms may be to high. This crunches up the shoulder blades. it is better to relax the arms by the side when appliquing.

    applique can be a relaxing technique of quilting. some do not relax when they are adding their stitches to the applique piece. be concious of how you are holding your work, enjoy each stitch

  2. admin on August 28th, 2012 7:38 am

    Excellent, Deb. Thank you. Anybody else with some advice, please chime in! K.

  3. Carrie P. on August 28th, 2012 11:45 am

    good tips. I like to use a big pillow in my lap to support my arms.

  4. Nita on August 28th, 2012 1:21 pm

    I wear reading glasses when I applique. Otherwise I find I poke my neck forward like a turtle. Reading glasses allows me to hold my hands at a comfortable distance from my face. After that, remember to relax your elbows and not try to hold them out in front of you.

  5. Sharon on August 28th, 2012 6:26 pm

    I had the worst time finding a light that was intense enough and I’ve bought several that didn’t work because they weren’t strong enough. I finally bought (don’t laugh and don’t tell your husbands) A GRILL LIGHT! It has a clamp on it with a long, long neck that moves around so that I can actually put the strong light right where I need it. Grill light’s have a clamp that supposedly is to be clamped to the grill. I find it will clamp to anything I need it to with the screw clamp. It’s not very pretty but it sure works well!

  6. Pat Pollock on August 29th, 2012 1:06 pm

    Don’t forget the value of an ice pack. Also, I took my applique right into the eye doctor’s office. My sewing glasses have a different prescription that puts the strongest correction at the number of inches away from my eyeball that I hold the fabric. That has been the best money I ever spent–even if the eye doctor thought I was a little nuts.

  7. admin on August 29th, 2012 1:11 pm

    Great idea Pat. In the same vein I finally got my DH to get computer glasses and it’s made a big difference to his neck. K.

  8. kathy in nc on September 2nd, 2012 11:25 am

    ❤❤True I told my eye dr the same thing that I do alot of `close up’ sewing & needle work..& he said “oh I can make a special prescription for just that” ?? & he did..
    What ever they are I don’t question. They may he thicker or at a different angle-he explained it to my husband & myself. Went ~over my head~ or I forgot :O) but really helped dial things in better❤❤
    Oh I also like to have a pillow or something under my arms for my elbows or if in a recliner under my knees also ❤❤
    I would LOVE this book❤❤