BY KRISTEN RASK
A few preventative steps can help ward off injury.
Most of us have experienced “the zone.” We’re deep into knitting, sewing, or otherwise creating
our masterpiece, and nothing will stop us from forging ahead. We don’t hear the phone ringing!
We don’t have time to go to the bathroom! And that’s why we love our craft: it allows us to block
out the world.
But although it’s meant to relax us, crafting can start to take a toll on our bodies. If we don’t take the
necessary precautions, we can suddenly find ourselves in serious pain. But here’s the good news: making
small changes to your crafting routine and to your tools can prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering.
After consulting a few avid crafters, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you help yourself. Some of these
may sound intuitive, but unless you take heed, you won’t reap the benefits.
Working for hours at a time
with small tools will invariably wreak havoc on your
hands, wrists, and arms.
Avoid tendonitis at all costs,
warns Susie Ghahremani, a
San Diego-based artist who
creates small-scale paintings and crafts. After years
of working with narrow tools, Ghahremani sought
professional help from an occupational therapist
who is helping to retrain her muscles. To avoid
further damage, Ghahremani wrapped sports grip
tape around her brushes to add width, making
them easier to hold.
Likewise, Seattle-based needle-felter Moxie,
who suffers from arthritis, has developed her own
ergonomic needle-felting tools, which she sells on
her site by special request. You’ll find a litany of
websites selling ergonomic crafting tools that
offer a wider range of motion.
2.WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR
Crafters who work with felt,
like Seattle-based Candi
Hibert, may notice tightness
in their chests, watery eyes,
itchy skin, and allergies.
“After working with wool
felt for the past couple
of years, I’ve noticed just
recently that I’ve become
extra sensitive to the material,” she says. “After hours
of sewing, my eyes get red and irritated, I get wheezy,
and I get an itchy, bumpy rash on my face and arms.”
To prevent these symptoms, Hibert started
wearing a dust mask to protect herself from fibers
floating throughout her studio. And to avoid getting tiny wool fibers stuck to her eyelashes, she’s
switched to wearing her prescription eyeglasses
instead of her contact lenses.
“This way, my eyes are protected, and I don’t
end the night looking like I had a hard night of
partying,” she says.