Friday, January 8, 2010

Quilting Ergonomics

If you're anything like me, you get totally engrossed in your quilting projects, lose track of time, and realize when something starts to ache that you've been in one position for way to long.

To pay my bills and support my fabric addiction, I am a physical therapist and tomorrow I'm giving my first class (well more of an informal discussion) tomorrow @ 10AM. I'll be discussing posture and quilting at my local quilt shop, Granny's Sewing Den. I hope it goes OK!

So here are a few of my tips to protect your body and help you to enjoy a lifetime of quilting:

1) Get a good chair. If possible get a chair that is adjustable so that your work surface is at elbow height and your knees are bent to a 90 deg angle. Use a pillow or cushion in the small of your back to keep good posture.

2) Keep things close to you. When your elbows are bent to 90deg, your fingers should be at the throat plate of your machine.

3) Mix things up! Cut for a while, then sew for a while. Keep the ironing board across the room to make make yourself get up and move.

4) Avoid prolonged positioning. Don't sew for more than 50 min out of every hour before getting up and moving/stretching- even less when doing handwork (I know, I know, this is very hard to do!!!)

5) Listen to your body. Stiffness is often a precursor to pain and is your first warning.

And no post would be complete without a photo, so here's one of my WIP's.
blog post photo

Happy quilting!

10 comments:

canuckquilter said...

Thanks for the tips! It seems I have very sloppy quilting posture...but it's a New Year, a time to start fresh, so I'll keep your advice handy. Love the WIP. How much more do you need to quilt on this one?

Christine said...

I'm so glad you've moved over too! I'm having a hard time figuring out how to respond to comments on others' blogs so I'm sorry I'm responding here-hopefully you'll see it. (Does anyone have any know how to do this?)


My WIP has quite a way to go. I've hand quilted 10 or 42 blocks. :)

a good yarn said...

These tips are a timely reminder and I think it's terrific that you are making a presentation at the quilt shop. Wish I could be there! Your quilting on Fireside Chat is looking good. It's a really nice quilt. Happy Stitching, Ann :-)

tidbitsandscraps said...

your blog is fabulous Chris, miss you

Karen said...

And a good work in progress it is! The block is in the style that can be used for signature blocks. I like your quilt very much.

Beth said...

Your quilt looks good. Glad that w can kep up over here. Hope I can figure out how to do everything. Thanks for the tips! Your presentation will be great. I have the worst posture and always end up sore! I am going to try to do better so that I can sew longer. Beth (friedquiltts)

Fer said...

Hello Christine, I'm so glad you have your own blog now!! (Alice told me what was happening over at APQ) I've missed keeping in touch with you, and I'm so glad you're as quilting mad as ever!

I hope your class/discussion went well, they're excellent tips too. And you'll be pleased to know I have a very good adjustable chair at my sewing table!

Cheers,
Jen

bcquilter said...

Sounds like a pretty good presentation, one I am sure many quilters will appreciate.

-Alice

PS - I found you!

Wagonwife Designs said...

Christine congratulations!!!!! What a wonderful blog. Thank you so much for letting me know about it. I will add you to my side bar so I can follow along.
So thrilled to hear from you.
Debra

Marsha said...

Christine, thanks for the tips, I really need to work on posture, too. Glad to find you here so all of us APQ quilters can stay in touch. Be sure to visit my site, too and follow along. I'm new at this but will get the hang of it soon, I hope!

Marsha