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 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/trigger-finger/ds00155.
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: http://www.quilterscache.com/AlphabetizedListPageM_R.html
Happy quilting and TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Stitches to you,