This Blog is a week later than it should be because I have been on the mend from a little surgery that I had three weeks ago.  I had a trigger finger on my right middle finger.  That is a very important finger for me because it is my “needle-pusher” finger when I am quilting.  I have never finished quilting my Blue and Yellow quilt that I have pictured in my very first LaRueSews Blog, in July 2008.  My finger just got too painful and stiff to be able to quilt.  I’m hoping that it will be well enough soon that I can get it finished. For Trigger finger Information see

This little explanation brings me to the subject of this Blog.  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!   I have been sewing, needle  working, knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and many other things with my hands since I can remember.  It was common, when I was young, to sit at the sewing machine all day long.  It never occurred to me just what was happening to my body.  Oh yes, I had hints of it along the way.  I remember that I took a typing class in the mid-1970's.  While doing all that typing,  I had some trouble with a stiff neck.   Often, after sewing for hours, my back would be tired and stiff.  Also, with all that hand stitching, I always looked down on the projects at hand.  More stiff neck . . .

I did lots of needlepoint, cross stitching, knitting, etc.  All of that makes it mark.  Later, in the 1990's, I taught myself to make baskets out of reed and cane.  This too is very hard on the hands, neck and back.  During the basket making days, there were lots of chiropractor visits.  The plague of stiff necks and headaches accompanied the baskets and the quilts. 

Then my dentist told me that I had TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).  So I sought treatment for my stiff and aching jaw.  Diagnosis: arthritis in cervical discs, shoulder, and jaw. 

Years earlier, I began having numbness and tingling in my thumb and first two fingers of both hands.  Surgery for  carpal tunnel syndrome has been most successful.  None of this asking for sympathy, it is simply to tell you what all this “recreational” handwork can do and the problems it can bring.  Not only have these things been costly and time consuming, pain is involved.  How I wish I had read about all these things in my early adulthood. 

Perhaps I could have avoided some pitfalls by learning better posture and also to control the time that I spent at these practices.  I have learned so much through the researching these things that I have experienced.  However, at this point, the only thing I am able to do is try to help someone else.  I can tell all of you to be careful in the pursuit of your passions.  This book, Rx for Quilters by Susan DeLaney is a great book to learn more about the effects of quilting on your body.  It’s not only for quilters, but anyone who does any crafts and handiwork.  

I can reasonably assume that some of my surgeries are directly related to sewing and handwork.  I have had surgery for carpal tunnel and trigger finger on both hands and also surgery on my neck and shoulder.  Now, I try not to overuse my hands and try to use better posture when I sew, hoping that I can continue to do the things that bring me so much pleasure.  But it would have been better if I had know that some of it may have been prevented if I had know better ways to do the things I love. 

Last year my quilt guild enjoyed a six month long activity called the Pizza Box quilts.  Each of us put some basic fabric and a pattern in a box and they were passed from person to person.  Each one made a block for each box and we made quilts from them after the blocks were returned.  My block was the Starry Path Block.  I’m including a photo of it and a couple of the other quilts that were shown last week at our guild meeting.  This is a link to the pattern for the Starry Path block:  


This is the center Block of one of the Pizza Box Quilts and the quilt it is in.  By Lynette Daughtery


This is by Kathy Roy:

By Chris Boylen

Sorry there isn't room for all of them, but I used the best photos I have.

This time I am including two blocks in the LaRueSews, Block of the month.  They are both rather simple, so I’m sure you can get them done quickly.  They are the Windmill block and the Ribbon Block.  The Ribbon block is one of the Star blocks shown in Quilt Wizard program.  But when the blocks are assembled, it looks like ribbons woven in and out. I hope you enjoy them.  Click here to download the blocks.

Last time, I asked that anyone who is working on this LaRueSews-Block of the Month please let me know, in the comments section, or by email if you are still working on the quilt blocks.  I had only ONE response.   I’d really like you to let me know if you still part of the Block of the Month Project.  Thanks in advance.

This web site is a wonderful reference for quilt block patterns.  They are free for your own use, but please read the Conditions of Use on the web site.  Link to Quilt Blocks Galore:

Happy quilting and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

Stitches to you,

Comments (13) -

kybearlover1942 4/3/2010 8:07:29 AM

I too have "suffered" for my crafts.  I have had the surgery on my right wrist.  the shots are still working for my left.  The 'trigger" finger is quit painful, besides eing very anoying.  and right after the surgery on my plantar fasciotious on Monday, this surgery is next!

I used to do all kinds of needlework too and being I groom dogs along with it my hands and wrists were really taking a beating.

That is the main reason I got into ME, I didn't have to use my hands as much and I can get up and walk away from the machine.

I finish most of my quilts with Cotton Theory way of doing them.  It is so much better and I don't have to handle a large quilt most of the time.  Quilts can get very heavy scooting them around under the machine head can be a chore.

Take care of yourself LaRue, I love your blog even if I don't do you BOM.



I just found your site.  Thank you so much for the blocks.  I have the material ready to go and plan on doing these 2 today.  Will this be an ongoing series?  Thanks for your giving so freely.


I'm one of those with great intentions.  I'm collecting your blocks, and plan to make a quilt for my grandson's wedding next January. I still have to find out what color scheme they would like.  So yes, please continue the series, and thank you so much.

Joan in Lake Norman, NC

Sorry to hear about your aches and pains.  Your work is beautiful, glad you aren't a wimp.  I had sharp pains in my left forearm several years ago and was diagnosed with a problem in my neck.  The numbness and tingling I experience off and on may need checked  I thought that was from the neck thing too.  

thecomputerist 4/3/2010 7:00:48 PM

As long as I have known you, you have been gracious about sharing your love of many things.  I am sorry you have had some issues as a result of those projects.

If you had known that those projects would cause you pain, I think (an I do myself) you would still be doing those projects.  There is something that gives the soul wings in crafting.

Best wishes to you and Ralph, Pat

Hi Larue - Many years ago I had a trigger thumb, it was like it had a mind of its own, clicking to bend or unbend by itself, I had surgery and it has been good ever since. I learned to type in the late 1950's at school, we had a sort of bib which had tapes which went around our neck and around the back of the typewriter, which were old clunky manual Remmingtons. When we were allowed to take the bibs off the teacher would walk around the room and if she saw anyone looking at the keys instead of our "copy" at our left, she would hit on our knuckles with a steel edged ruler. We sure leaned to touch type very quickly. There wasn"t any RSI in those days because we had to move the whole hand with our wrists up.


I am still trying to keep up wth your BOM but have not been receiving them for some reason??

Some of you may have notice that my Pizza Box quillt appeare twice in this blog.  That was just an error in posting the blog.  Sorry about that.

Bearlover, I don't envy your fasciatis surgery tomorrow.  I think I'd rather do hand surgery than foot.  Hope all goes well.  I think the trigger finger will be an easier one for you.

Marge,  Thank you for your continued support and comments.  I always know the writer when I see the "poodle" avatar.  I always enjoy your comments.

Rosie,  The LaRueSews BOM began in August of 2009.  There will be a total of sixteen blocks plus borders.  There will be a "finish-up" time and then everyone who participates can post pictures of their quilts on the gallery.   At the end of the BOM, all those who have posted quilts in this BOM challenge will be able to vote for the quilt they choose.  Ann The will provide prizes in ATG products exchange for the top and second place quilts.  You can go to the August 2009 blog for the beginning of the BOM.  Please read through all of the blogs so that you can get up to date on the blocks and news.  The archives at the left side of this page will take you to all previous blogs.  Please read all of them when you have time.

Joan, I hope you will get busy and make that quilt with us by the end of the Block of the Month challenge.  You can be part of this little LaRueSews contest.  Go to the August, 2009 blog and follow along with all of us and get that wedding quilt finished.  You could be the best!

Sherry,  Yup, those forearm pains go right along with the neck problems.  I feel those too.  IMHO, I don't think, that the tingling and numbness are part

of the neck problem.  However, the numbness and tingling become almost continual before they are considered operable.  There are measures that can be taken through physical therapy and other means to relieve them without  surgery.  A nerve conduction test was the final diagnosis that made surgery for carpal tunnel necessary.

Pat, you are probably right.  I doubt that I would have given up any of the things that give me such pleasure.  However,  I would have and have taken measures to help the situation.  I have tried to correct my posture, I have invested in numerous "fixes", including a traction device that I "should" use.  (but that's a whole lot of trouble and discomfort)  One thing that really does help is the right kind of furniture for sewing.  I now own a Horn sewing cabinet and a good office chair that I can adjust to the right height and angle.  Also, I am not afraid to see a doctor to get whatever help he can offer, including surgery.  I am an advocate of doing whatever has a possibility of relief.  Thank you so much for your continued friendship and support.

Vada, my far-away-friend, thank you for sticking around with LaRueSews.  I too remember the stuffiness of those typing teachers, though mine was never quite so strict.  Now, it makes me laugh whenever I see someone resting the heel of their hand on the keyboard as they type.  I think that RSI was just as common then as it is now, it just didn't have a name then.  People have always suffered injuries because of the work they do or their personal pleasures.  We all have to learn from them, and go on, don't we.  I have also heard of a concert pianist who suffered with rheumatoid arthritis but continued to play the piano in spite of it all.

Angel,  If you have read the comments here, today, you may know by now where to find your missing blocks.  There has been at least one posting each month since last August.  You can go back to the archives and retrieve them all.  Look at the left side of this page, in the fifth box from the top for the Archives.

LaRue, as you see from the comments already made we are enjoying your blog. You are an inspiration to those of us who also battle pain, fatigue and sometimes yes depresstion everyday.  My goal is not to let the disease control my life but that I control the FMS. Sewing, quilting ME are ways of doing this.  I had to learn about posture, etc. years ago in my thirtys.  I too, try to have good tools.  I made my daughter's wedding dress ( very simple) but unique last October.

I am just begininng to recover in some ways.  I will hopefully be sewing or quilting or embroidering always. I read & study when I can't physically manage my sewing. Hang in there & thanks again!  


Diane, It sounds like you are on the right track.  It really helps to have a good attitude, but hard sometimes.

I know all about wedding dresses.  I've made my own, two daughters' and several for other people.   Bridesmaid and prom dresses can be even worse than wedding dresses.  I've done them all.  Right now, I'm going to make a mother of the groom skirt and top for a friend who is hard to fit.  EOW, now my bag, but will do for a friend.  I'm just not into sewing for others any more.

I've been doing too much with my hands this weekend, and I feel it.  I need to take a break, and follow my own advise.

Keep on keeping on,

Stitches to you,


To the readers of LaRueSews;  if you cannot post a comment to this blog, please go to the top of this page for my address and send me an email directly.

I recieved  a comment via annthegransupport.  I was not able to reply, so I searched the person who commented.  Please write to me directly, or I may not receive your comment.


I'm so sorry, I just found your email in my file since it comes in with a different heading than the others.  I'm so glad to hear that you are still in-the-mix.  I hope you will catch up when you return North.  Don't worry too much about your colors.  If you have seen my block when I posted them, they are pretty crazy too.  But I'm trying my hand a scrappiness.  That is hard for me, since I usually try to be vary careful.  Keep up the good work.



Please reply to my comments via my email address in the future.

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