An Ergonomic New Year


I’m sure we all made similar resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, save money, spend more time with family, and — of course — spend more time quilting! Of course it’s now Day #3 of the new year and many of those well-intentioned goals have already gone by the wayside.(Especially the lose weight goal, as we’re still drowning in Christmas candy around here.)

However I’ve done well with my “more quilting” goal. I the weekend making two baby-sized quilts in two days. And boy was my body sore afterward!

I have herniated disks in my neck and bursitis in my hip. Quilting hurts. But do I listen to my body and take a break? Or do I charge onward trying to win the Most-Productive-Quilter award? This weekend I was going for the award.

Quilting, but its nature, makes us prone to repetitive stress injuries. These are made worse by our:

(1) Stubborn refusal to take a break every hour or so.

(2) Poorly set up work environments with cheap chairs, wrong height cutting tables, and/or poor lighting.

(3) Lack of hydration because we’re too busy to drink water (plus peeing slows down our quilting).

(4) Lack of stretching, because … well … we just don’t like doing it.

So I’d suggest that we all make a New Year’s vow to protect our bodies so that we can continue to quilt. Take a few minutes to set up our quilting area correctly. Buy a good chair. Take an hourly break to drink some water, stretch a few muscles, and take a few deep breaths.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about some resources that can help make quilting less painful.

Happy New Year!


2 responses »

  1. Stubborn Refusal to take a break. Oh yes, that’s me. My mother would say “got that t-shirt and wore it out”. I find having a cup of tea nearby (but not to close) helps me stay hydrated, but moving it even to a different table in the same room, and well I’m sure you can guess the rest. Hope you had a great holiday. I spent it in bed sick, but I’m on the mend now.

    • Sorry you were sick for the holidays. That’s no fun at all.
      One of the teachers at our quilt shop is very against having an ironing station next to your sewing machine. She believes that getting up to iron forces you to take a break and move around. I think she is very wise!

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