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Quilter's muscles, or lack thereof!!

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Lindsey posted on Sun, Nov 18 2012 6:03 AM

Good grief! I never knew machine quilting needed muscles!!

Picture the scene: I spent half an hour setting up my kitchen: cleared the dinner table, moved the sewing machine, set the ironing board behind me, threaded up 4 spools, put in a new needle, positioned the quilt, hey presto, I was all set up.

One row, stitching in the ditch later, I'm ready to give up, howling with shock and horror! My stupid arm muscles are screaming and shaking! I have newfound respect for those machine quilters out there!

How on earth do you manage it? Did you have to spend 3 months in a gym pumping those weights in preparation for this skill??

I know I was in bed ill for 7 years but it's been 2 and a half years since I've been back at work.

Any tips? At this rate, it's going to take till christmas 2014 before this quilt is quilted, never mind this christmas, which is when it's supposed to be ready.

I don't have the feed dogs down, and I'm using a quilting foot, so I really don't understand why it's so hard to push through!

I also live in Uk, which means there are very few machine quilters out there and I don't have the funds anyway, so I've no choice but to press on.

Any words of encouragement would be appreciated!! Lindsey, Norfolk. UK

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Goodness Agnes, you have been through the wars! I'm glad you have been able to get some help with your pain but I'm sorry to hear that you are still very restricted! I guess we all have to count our blessings where we can!! 

I have acupuncture and osteopathy, still, which my Doctor recommended to me. Although it has cost me thousands over the years, it's stopped me from being in a wheelchair and I'm a lot better thanks to those treatments! 

I guess I have to stop beating myself up for the things I don't do and don't get done. I'd like to think that I have plenty of time to get all my projects done and be proud of what I have managed to accomplish! I'm very lucky in that I have a very understanding husband and grown up children as they do help where they can, and especially if I ask them to.

No-one is superhuman but little by little I'm sure we can be proud of ourselves!

Take care, Lindsey Norfolk, UK

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Lindsey,

The gardening gloves with the little gripper bumps work great. I've used a pair for quite some time. Also, I tend to make my quilting sessions much shorter than one hour.  I have upper back/neck issues and hand issues that require shorter sessions with longer breaks. Typically, I work for about half an hour, then go do something else for about half an hour.  Just find what works best for you.  

Others have already covered any other suggestions I would have, so just relax and enjoy the process!

Max

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Hehe! You're too right there Barbara!

My daughter is going to have to accept her quilt may have wonky bits and different stitch lenghts, but I'm sure she will appreciate the quilt as she knows I have problems with my body anyway! lol!

I've ordered the book (the Rx book) and have stupidly remembered that I bought a special clear plastic table for quilting when I bought the sewing machine several years ago and it is in a very convenient place..... Yep, you guessed it, in the attic!!! lol!

I will "persuade" my hubby to get it out for me at the weekend!

What was a total shock doing the machine quilting, was how I was huffing and puffing when I'd just done 1 row! I must start doing walking on the treadmill (which ironically is in my sewing room! Lol!) to at least get myself fitter, if nothing else!

Must go, just got 5 mins lunch break left, eeek! Happy stitching, Lindsey, Norfolk, UK

 

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Hi Max

Thanks for your reply. I can't wait to give the gloves a go, and yes, at work I get up at least every 20 mins anyway (on orders from the acupuncturist) so I tend to do that at home anyway! But yes, I have to get up after a short while otherwise I start getting headaches' neck ache and back ache!

Happy stitching! Lindsey ;-)

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Agnes replied on Mon, Nov 19 2012 10:22 AM

Something else that no one has mentioned thus far. I have spent years working on it to the point it is finally somewhat natural. Whether sitting, standing or walking I throw my shoulders back which forces my head to be held high. Amazing how much it helps aligning the lower back for me.

I spell off my quilting activities with knitting dishcloths. Just recently with the bits of yarn left over I have been crocheting small disks to use for various things in the kitchen.I crocheted a bit longer yesterday and I know I best keep that activity down to very short periods at a time. Our bodies speak to us. My big problem has always been that I did not listen. Once I started listening I have helped myself a tremendous amount. With this listening to my body my personal expectations have dropped and I have also learned to stand up for myself and say NO. 

Good luck on quilting with enjoyment. Your daughter will love it because it is a gift from the heart.

Another chapter in Rx For Quilters deals with how age brings declining eyesight. Whole another topic but very relevant when we are talking about being kind to our bodies.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Thanks Agnes, that is a very useful tip, I will be giving that a go for sure!

I've got the book today and it's looking very good so far! thanks again, happy stitching!

Lx

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