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Thread: What measures do you take...

  1. #1
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012

    What measures do you take...

    to help you quilt with pain and/or arthritis issues? I have arthritis in my hands, back and hips, so I have to pace myself when I quilt. I was wondering if anyone has any tips for me and the rest of us who have chronic pain issues.

  2. #2
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    South central Nebraska, US
    I have the same issues and I'm only 62 so it is going to be ongoing for me also. I get up and move around alot. I usually don't sit for longer than 30-40 minutes. I also make sure that my chair is at the right height, my cutting and ironing stations are sized for me.
    Have a great day sewing and remember to "not sweat the small stuff"!!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    I,too, have chronic pain issues. One of the things I did,I bought bed risers for my dining room table. I use the table for cutting and lifting the table 5 inches has helped. Another thing, don't sit for longer than 20 minutes at a time. My chiropractor suggests sitting a short time then get up and move around. I have my sewing setup like this, I have my cutting table in one room, then walk to the sewing machine which is in another room. I have my ironing board next to the wall, so that I have to get up and walk a few steps to do the tasks needed to make a quilt. Quilting is very painful for me to do, but, I don't want to give quilting up. So, I have to make adjustments. I also have a timer, I set it and work on my quilt for 15-20 minutes, then go and walk for a few minutes. It takes time away from sewing, but, you can get quite a lot done. Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Peotone IL
    Like the others have said, make sure your machine is the right height. And get up and MOVE on a regular basis. It helps a lot with pain and stiffness. If you have problems with your hands, I use tweezers for a lot of things. I have a hard time grasping threads and small items.

  5. #5
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Michigan. . .FINALLY!!!!
    Blog Entries
    I also have joint issues (Psoriatic Arthritis) and nerve impingement in my neck and shoulders from a car accident 25 years ago. I love the look of my bindings sewn by hand (just can't get that machine binding thing to work for me!). When it is time for me to sew my bindings on I thread several needles. I then sew until I can't hold the needle anymore. I leave the quilt and needles out on my cutting table. Every time I go by my sewing room I sew a threaded needle's worth of binding. It eventually gets finished!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.


  6. #6
    Member Sachis2112's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Redmond, WA
    I don't have arthritis but I've got a lot of old sports injuries (on top of being heavier than I should be...). I get up on a regular basis and refill my coffee or grab some water, maybe iron something really quick... My husband appreciates that I come out of my hole for 5 minutes to give him a kiss every 40 minutes or so and I don't get so stiff. I heard of one gal that used a digital timer to make sure she spent some time with her family and didn't just let her day run away with her. I watch Netflix while I'm working so, when an episode of whatever is over, I know it's time to take a short break if I haven't recently.

  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southeast Wisconsin
    I have arthritis in my back and ra in my hands. I have l earned to have projects in different stages so that when I can't stand and cut any longer I sit and sew a bit. When can't do that I have fabric to pull for the next project. When my whole system is really bad I collapse in my recliner!

    Seriously, raising my cutting table, getting a cutter I like (Martelli is good for me) , and getting one of those pub height stools for sitting while ironing or cutting all help. I also have a pair of compression gloves I put on for sewing when days are bad. Hang in there and do your best. And don't overdo - that is really not good for arthritis.

  8. #8
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Blog Entries
    I got an ergonomic rotary cutter which helps with my wrist pain. Having the station set up with proper body alignment is crucial. Taking lots of breaks helps too. When the mind is willing but the body is weak, the mind has to regroup and accept that some things have limitations. Enjoy what you CAN do.
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  9. #9
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have rather severe arthritis, esp in my hands.

    1] I have a cutting table at the right height for me.
    2] I bought a mushroom chair (?) - the Swopper for my sewing machine. It encourages good posture.
    3] I have my ironing board, cutting table, and sewing machine in different places, so I get to move around more.
    4] I do a bit of cutting, sewing, and ironing at a time. I almost rotate the different things so I can do more. When I am tired I can go over my quilting books and magazines.
    5] I have a rotary cutter that fits my needs. This is different for each of us.
    6] Years ago I bought an Alto's QuiltCut2. It makes cutting strips and such faster and easier.
    7] I have a Martelli cutting mat as it is easier on me and the rotary cutter.
    8] I am back to sandpaper dots for my rulers.
    9] If necessary I premedicate before I start quilting so I don't have as much pain afterwards.
    10] I have a flloor Ott-like lamp that I can use if needed.
    11] Not because of arthritis, but I scan what I want to keep from magazines and book to save on clutter. Then I can recycle and let someone else store them. I have a file with just the pictures of the quilts so I can look at a slide show. Then another file with the pictures and directions both.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.

  10. #10
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    ​Drugs, lots of drugs with careful monitoring.

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