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Thread: does anyone get stiff hand from quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member EagarBeez's Avatar
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    Do any of you get stiff fingers or pain in the palms of your hands when you do hand stitching/quilting. If so what do you do for this?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    Yes That is why I have to take a breakEvery 15 to20 min.

  3. #3
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    I do a little bit, but I think it is because I am 55 and the Arthritis is setting in. I stop for a bit and go to the kitchen or play here on the computer or even watch a little telelvision, then I start back up again. Sometimes I do something else quilt related, like look up patterns or look at my fabric and think about the next quilt I want to do. Anything to give the hand a rest. I only have two and I must take care of them.

  4. #4
    Super Member EagarBeez's Avatar
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    well I am 54 and today, my hand hurts. The palm up one finger. Hurts to bend my fingers and I was not quilting long.

  5. #5
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    do some hand exercises, get a squishy ball from the dollar store and squeeze it while watching tv I I sometimes flap my hands at the wrist to loosen them up when I quilt for too long.

  6. #6
    Super Member justwannaquilt's Avatar
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    I am 26 and get this way! I find that if I stitch for to long I will get a cramp/swelling in the thumb area of my left hand (the hand I hold my project with) and in my right hand fingers! I find that it is worse when I have not stitched in a long time! What I do to releave the ache is I soak my hands in the hottest water I can handle, and then hold some heated rice packs. Sometimes the swelling gets so bag I can't make a fist the heat helps SO MUCH!!

    I also get this way when I decide to crochet something. Since I don't crochet very often it takes a while for my hands/wrist to get use to it.

    The advice that Up North gave is great, here is a website that also lists some exersised for sewing! http://www.its-sew-karren.com/hand-exercises.html

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I have to do make sure my hands are good and warm and then do hand stretches, take frequent breaks, and change hand positions frequently. I have a tennis ball that I roll around in my hand like a massager, especially around my thumb area, or massage the sore areas with my opposite hand. I also will use rubber finger tips, they help to grip the needle and you don't have to pull as hard/or grip as hard with them on. It really is a trial and error to find out what works best for you. Keeping your wrists as straight as you can may help also...

  8. #8
    thismomquilts's Avatar
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    I have RA and have to be very careful when quilting - if I sit too long my hips get stiff, my left hand thumb hurts often. Warmth is what is needed... also if I know I'm going to be quilting for awhile - I will take an Aleve prior to starting - that helps alot.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    Last year, I had a quilt to finish for Christmas, and was hand quilting all day. I kept a heating pad turned on, and would take that and wrap around my hand every so often. Soaking your hand in hot epsom salt water will help tremendously also

  10. #10
    Super Member EagarBeez's Avatar
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    thank you all for the great tips. I will use them

  11. #11
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    I tend to get stiff fingers, stiff wrist, stiff back, and lots of little needle pricks on my left finger. I have to force myself to take breaks or the next day I'm so stiff I can't walk!! (Doesn't stop me from doing more quilting though...) :D

  12. #12
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    a moist heat is better than a dry heat. go to a beauty supply store and buy a big piece of that scented wax, you can use a cheap crock pot to melt it in, get it to the hottest temp your hands can take. dip a hand in the melted wax, withdraw it, wait few seconds and dip it again. then put on a pairt of gloves to keep the heat in, leave for about 20 minutes, take the glove off and just peel the wax off (it comes off easily), put it back in the crockpot so u don't waste the wax. you can unplug the crockpot and store with lid on and re-use any time. this not only helps the arthritis but conditions the skin as well. you can purchase a whole set at the beauty supply store that includes the heating pot and wax & hand cream etc but
    it's more expensive that way. hope this helps yall.
    donna - barber/hairdresser

  13. #13
    Super Member wendiq's Avatar
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    I think it comes with age......I started having pain a year ago.......I have given up hand quilting, but I still enjoy embroidery so if my hand starts to ache, I use a cream called Mobisyl. It is OTC. No odor, not greasy. It is a bit pricey, but goes a very long way. A friend told me about it....and it does seem to work. Good Luck!

  14. #14
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    I'LL LOOK FOR THAT AND TRY IT. DOES WAL MART CARRY IT?

  15. #15

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    I have same problem and have to quilt short periods at a time. However, I'm thrilled to see responses to this problem, as it assures me that I'm not the only one doing hand quilting. It seems that machine stitching is so popular, but I like the softness that hand quilting achieves. Besides, I don't want to see it being a lost art.

  16. #16
    Senior Member OraLee's Avatar
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    Hi I am from Florida and believe it or not my hands are always cold, so I wear fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm and keep them from cramping and getting stiff. This works for me I hope it works for you.

  17. #17
    Super Member Pzazz's Avatar
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    I have OA and also do the hotwax bath. My step-daughter got me a hot wax bath for C-mas last year, (from Walmart)...I love it!!!! If you dont' want to reuse the wax in the unit, (there will be some skin cells that come off with the wax) remelt it and make candles. Old bread bags work great for putting your hands in...then wrap in a towel to keep the heat in. If you are lucky enough to have someone around when you are doing this, a little massage after the wax comes off feels heavenly!!!

  18. #18
    Super Member Pzazz's Avatar
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    oh....another thing that helps, (again from Walmart LOL) splints for carpel tunnel. they will keep your wrist aligned, (helps with the tingly fingers), but still leaves your thumb and fingers free. I can even knit with them on!!

  19. #19
    Junior Member nantucketsue's Avatar
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    I have always quilted much the same way as one sews, but having watched people like Ami Simms, who seem to have such effortless neat and tiny stitches, I decided to master the rocking beteen middle finger and thumb method, only to get an awful joint pain and in my wrist. Does it matter how one hand quilts? It would be interesting to hear of other unorthodox methods.

  20. #20
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    i use rice bags i made them narrow and long when my hands bother me which is often i pop them in the microwave for about 2 minutes then wrap them around my hands. i put cinncmon and cloves in the bags so they have a nice scent that is relaxing.

  21. #21
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nantucketsue
    I have always quilted much the same way as one sews, but having watched people like Ami Simms, who seem to have such effortless neat and tiny stitches, I decided to master the rocking beteen middle finger and thumb method, only to get an awful joint pain and in my wrist. Does it matter how one hand quilts? It would be interesting to hear of other unorthodox methods.
    Personally, I don't think it makes any difference how one quilts -- it's how it looks when finished! I quilt like I sew also and I think mine look pretty darn good :oops: :oops:


  22. #22
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    AFter reading all of the "torture" we quilters go through to make these lovely quilts, I realize how much they are truly treasures.

  23. #23
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    you bet my hands get stiff!! I am 55, same as lots of you. I very seldom do hand quilting, and then when I do, I allow lots and lots of time for the project to be in the works. No rush for me. I wore out my Right thumb joint and had a replacement a year ago. I have pretty good strength back, but don't want to put pressure on it. So I'm just making the tops now, and will decide about the quilting another time.

  24. #24
    Super Member Pzazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaraSewing
    you bet my hands get stiff!! I am 55, same as lots of you. I very seldom do hand quilting, and then when I do, I allow lots and lots of time for the project to be in the works. No rush for me. I wore out my Right thumb joint and had a replacement a year ago. I have pretty good strength back, but don't want to put pressure on it. So I'm just making the tops now, and will decide about the quilting another time.
    I am about to schedule replacement surgery on my thumbjoint. May I ask how yours was done?

  25. #25
    Super Member SaraSewing's Avatar
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    Sorry for the late reply. This message got lost in a bunch Halloween emails.

    About the thumb joint. The doc took tendon from the wrist to part way up the arm. Then opened up the joint, cleaned it out. Wrapped the tendon for a cushion. I was in a cast for 4 weeks. Then was weak as a kitten, but have excellent strength a year later, and NO PAIN! I would tell anyone to not hesitate to get 'er done! Hope yours goes well.

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