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Thread: Trembling Hands

  1. #1
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    Trembling Hands

    I have a disease called Essential Tremors, the symptoms resemble Parkinsons Disease. My hands tremble uncontrollably only when I am trying to eat, cut veggies, cook, etc. When I am at rest, they are fine. I am finding it increasingly harder to cut my fabric using the rotary cutter. I am so afraid of cutting myself, and plan on purchasing a pair of Klutz Gloves to protect my hands. I know that eventually the tremors will become worse as it is a progressive disease.

    My question: Is there anyone else on this board who has similar issues, and how do you get around the process of cutting your fabric. Hubby has eyesight issues, so he really can't help.

  2. #2
    Super Member trif's Avatar
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    The accuquilt is helpful. Make sure to speak with your doctor and verify that you are on the best treatment. I wish you well and definitely be careful.

  3. #3
    Super Member deanneellen's Avatar
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    Maybe try buy some of the pre-cuts so that you don't have to do as much cutting yourself. I think the Accuquilt might be just what you need for sure. I have a brother-in-law who has the same thing and he says drinking a glass of wine helps him but maybe that is not a good thing to do before picking up a rotary cutter!
    Deanne Ellen

    Quilts,Books,and Wine,Oh My!

  4. #4
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I second all the ideas others have suggested. Also Friskars is putting out a new updated ruler with an attached rotary cutter. It might be safer to use. Keep quilting. Maybe there is some one that is willing to precut for you. Prayers and hugs.
    Anna Quilts

  5. #5
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    My mom has that. The OT recommended we buy her weights for her wrists . when she wears them she can hold eating utensils/cups without shaking and spilling. I don't know if it would make a difference for you but it might be worth a try. We found them at Walmart- fairly inexpensive- in the sporting goods area

  6. #6
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    What about the rotary cutter that fits into the slot on a special ruler forgot name . Also look at westlee tools they may be useful. My problem slightly different . Have to cut right handed but my left hand is weak and I have difficulty keeping ruler still. Westlee have a piece to hold fabric which means I can use a handle and hold in one place. No walking up the ruler. Unfortunately left hand too weak to cut fabric. Personall the name unable to remember may help you. The rotary is specially designed I have found I tend to push it with the palm. The blade fit snuggle in the slot on ruler and slide up. New blades on a more regular basis than normal also help.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  7. #7
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    A friend has arthritis so bad she can't cut for long. When she has a lot to cut, she brings it here & I cut for her. She made some thread trees for me. Another friend has asked me to help her cut out a quilt. It's just the give and take of friendship

  8. #8
    Senior Member bigredharley's Avatar
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    I agree that the accuquilt is awesome. I have a hard time getting straight lines cut (I have got to be learning disabled LOL) and this solved my problem.

    And the suggestion of a friend is a great one, perhaps you can instill a love of quilting in someone new.
    ​Nancy

  9. #9
    Super Member sew_Tracy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petthefabric View Post
    A friend has arthritis so bad she can't cut for long. When she has a lot to cut, she brings it here & I cut for her. She made some thread trees for me. Another friend has asked me to help her cut out a quilt. It's just the give and take of friendship
    That's lovely!

    I had a friend with essential tremor, was not fun for her either. The wrist weights and Klutz gloves sound like a great idea.
    From the artist formerly known as Missus Fear...Hi, my name is Tracy and I am a hobbyaholic.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/blogs/m...ear-79671.html

  10. #10
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    If you don't mind paying postage, I'd be willing to help you out by cutting.
    Laurie in NYC

  11. #11
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    You can try to go back to scissors, which might not be too much better but at least it's a bit less risky.

    Quote Originally Posted by nycquilter View Post
    If you don't mind paying postage, I'd be willing to help you out by cutting.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    John Flynn sells kits that are pre cut to shape. They are very nice. You can customize your cuts too if you want. Also Edyta Sitar now has pre cut shapes for quilting.


    http://flynnquilt.danemcoweb.com/sho.../pre-cut-kits/

    http://laundrybasketquilts.com/Shop/shopindex.htm
    Got fabric?

  13. #13
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    I second JulieR's suggestion of scissors. I am too much of a klutz to use the rotary cutters. I do use templates for things that aren't easy to "eyeball" match -- I'll make one template the size of my piece, and one the size of the piece plus seam allowance. For cutting, I can draw around the edge of my cutting template with a chalk pencil and just cut on the line; maybe a friend, spouse, older child would help you with that? Then for sewing, I butt the edge of my sewing template against the last seam sewn, and draw a chalk line where the new seam will go.

    I hate to admit it among such accomplished quilters, but I also sometimes use a larger seam allowance than 1/4" when cutting, especially for things I haven't done before. An extra 1/8" or even 1/4" can hide a lot of boogers.

  14. #14
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    I am in Dothan (lower Alabama) if I can help I will be glad to!

  15. #15
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    I wish you lived closer. I would love to help you cut. Sounds like some great ideas on here. I hope you find something that works for you. Isn't this community just the best?

  16. #16
    Super Member Gail B's Avatar
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    I have Essential Tremor as well only it's my head that bobs all over the place. I guess I'm fortunate it's not my hands. I use the Klutz glove for all my cutting.

  17. #17
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    Sharon Schamber has tremors too. You might just send her an email asking her what she does to keep quilting.

  18. #18
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your responses and offers for help. I had heard about the wrist weights and alcohol being a help and will try both. One drink should be ok, any more than that tends to make the tremors worse the day after. I will look into the other suggestions for the special rulers & the accuquilt. Trying out the cheapest options first as we are on a fixed income.

    I have a friend who has the head bobbing and her hands shake much worse than mine. She is a non quilter. Last time I spoke with her she said she is going to give up eating out as it is too stressful for her to deal with trying to eat or drink (she drinks her coffee through a straw to prevent spillage) in a room full of strangers. The anxiety that goes along with this disease is the worst feeling.

    Please keep the suggestions coming, willing to try almost anything. I am left handed, so the left hand shakes the most. Thank goodness I have always used my right hand for scissors, but now my right hand is starting to tremble more. I refuse to give up on quilting, where there's a will, there's a way.

  19. #19
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike'sgirl View Post
    Sharon Schamber has tremors too. You might just send her an email asking her what she does to keep quilting.
    Thank you Mike's girl, I will do that.

  20. #20
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    besides slotted rulers with rotary cutters attached, you might check with your Church or Senior Center for fellow quilters to help you out. There are many quilters out there and I know they would be most willing to jump in.good luck. Katherine Hepburn had tremors of some kind and she drank!! helped her but I wouldn't suggest that and cutting!

  21. #21
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    Katherine Hepburn had tremors of some kind and she drank!! helped her but I wouldn't suggest that and cutting!

    She had Essential Tremors, my friends symptoms are as advanced as Katherine's.

  22. #22
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    I, too, suffer from essential tremors. I am taking Tremadone, an herb supplement which includes skullcap, passion flower, folic acid and vitamin B-2. After taking two tablets a day for about 2 weeks, I saw an amazing change coming over me! My tremors were noticabley diminished! Tremadone can be researched at [email protected]. I hope it helps everyone out there willing to give it a try.

  23. #23
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    Debbie, I will definitely research it and possibly give it a try. I had heard that magnesium might help and have been taking it for about a month, but haven't noticed a difference. Thank you!

  24. #24
    Junior Member Newby0709's Avatar
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    I do not have ET myself; however, my hubby does. He tried every medication available that he could take, with no improvement. In Nov. 2012 he had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery to improve his right hand. It worked. The neurologist, R. Pahwa, MD, was amazed that it also improved his head bobbing and voice since it does not always improve those areas. Now he is beginning the process of working to improve his left hand issues. The same surgery is used for some Parkinson's patients. http://www.neurology.org/content/53/7/1447.abstract R. Pahwa, MD is mentioned in the link. Do research, talk to your Dr. You don't have to settle without checking all avenues. I wish you the best.

  25. #25
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    I didn't know there was an official diagnosis for this. My hands started doing this intermittently about 6 months ago. I thought it was because of some meds I'm on but I am taking nothing new. At times it is worse than others. I can take a Xanax and it works sometimes. It even affects my typing on the computer. I was at dinner one night with my son and his family and my DGD said "Nana, why is your hand shaking?" I wasn't even aware of it shaking but she saw it. Some days they do not shake at all and then another day, I'll pick up something and drop it because my hands are shaking so badly. It has also affected my handwriting and I found printing is easier than cursive.

    I guess I better ask my rheumatologist)sp) next week when I see him.

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