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Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain

This week instead of sharing work, I wish to offer some practical advice on Quilting of Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain.

Obviously, you need to see a GP and get a proper diagnosis because arthritis covers a multitude of sins from auto-immune diseases to related problems like carpal tunnel syndrome and they often need different treatment. I chose to write about this subject because so many self-diagnose and that is dangerous.

There are things we can do that cost nothing or very little and will help. There are also rather expensive remedies that are not scientifically proven. It’s more that they work because you believe in them than anything else.

It is almost inevitable that repetitive movement of any type leads to pain. It is your body’s way of telling you to stop. That’s the first thing to understand. The second is that pain is subjective and it is best to take your mind off it.

STOP

If you have been quilting for an hour, then you need to stop and move. In fact before you start quilting, or doing any repetitive movement, do the following Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain:

A. hand exercises (these can vary depending on the problem, so as I said, get a diagnosis) follow a GP’s or consultant’s advice.

B. hand massage – you can do this yourself, look for reflexology

C. try Rosemary Conley’s 7 Day Slim, I rarely get past Day 1 but that alone is worth it

D. Keep your hands warm

REST

I find it best to divide the hours I work. So I might machine stitch for 45 minutes, then get up an move. Massage again or do hand exercises and if I feel I can continue, do another half hour.

It’s best to admit that your body after a certain age, can no longer act as if it is 21. Work with your body. Stop before it starts to hurt. So if you think you can sew for two hours, only do one. Quilting is hard on the hands, neck and back. If you are in serious pain, you need to rest the affected body part for at least a week, maybe longer. Consult a GP.

  1. Change task – if you have been sitting, if you can, stand and cut, or iron.
  2. Listen to your body – it is telling you to stop. The idea is not to use something that allows you to continue. This is applicable to osteoarthritis and repetitive strain or carpal tunnel. If you continue, basically you just do more damage until you could lose the use of your hand.
  3. If you cannot continue and it bothers you, soak your hands in warm water, take a bath, read or do something that is not using the part that hurts. REST.
  4. Some find alternate cold/warm therapy useful.

OVER THE COUNTER

None of the over the counter medications are scientifically proven to do anything. No matter how many tell you these work. In most cases they are extremely expensive and if you take them to be able to continue work, then see 2. above. Like all medication they can have unwanted side effects. Also if they are not prescribed, you might continue to use for longer than you should or use more than you should. So think twice about using them for Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain. You need specific treatment for your type of arthritis, which falls into two groups – inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Some types of arthritis are auto-immune, others are not. I will mention a few

Glucosamine – there is little evidence that it works. It can have mild side-effects like stomach and bowel problems. It is also thought to cause weight gain and possibly insulin resistance. Some people with osteoarthritis swear by it, but they have never been given a placebo, so it could be entirely psychological.

Capsaicin Cream – used for nerve pain, and again some swear by it. Price can be quite hefty, although it seems to be available on prescription in the UK. Trials (N.B. very small trials under 200 people) seemed to suggest that it might help osteoarthritis. Apart from a burning sensation often felt by around 30% when applying the gel, it seems to have no side effects. However, you need to apply it 4 times a day. As a block I would use a TENS machine below.

CBD oil – one of the most expensive over the counter medications. Trials on animals not validated on humans. Can adversely affect arthritis drugs that have been prescribed.

Turmeric – again not proven as limited trials of very small numbers of people. Heartburn and dizziness were reported in one trial that found people you walk with less pain. Keep the dosage low. I think this is best taken as a tea.

Black Pepper – has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s use is a ‘may help’ at best and only in early stages.

NSAIDS – there is now plenty of information available that NSAIDS are to be avoided. They cause stomach ulcers. This is also where it is essential to know which type of arthritis you have, as they were prescribed mainly for rheumatoid arthritis. These include aspirin, ibuprofen and voltaren. There are numerous names and the USA uses different names to the UK. All worsen osteoarthritis. They have rather nasty side effects, often with prolonged use.

Voltarol and other gels – these are NSAIDs in gel form. Again they should not be used by people who have ever had an ulcer, have asthma or allergies. Also if it is nor recommended by your GP, do not use for more than 14 days, and contact a GP if you feel no relief after 7 days.

It is much safer to find relief from hand exercises/massage if appropriate.

STEROIDS

These are normally given for Rheumatoid arthritis, and can be short acting or longer acting, up to six months. Personally I would not want steroid injections. I believe it is something best avoided. Steroid tablets rather than injections seem to be associated with weight gain. In the short term both affect the body’s immunity.

GADGETS

Some things can help with Quilting or Crafting and Solutions For Arthritis Type Pain:

  1. Compression gloves can work but buy good quality and not cheapest available. I use a pair of fingerless compression gloves, ones I bought in the USA in 2000.
  2. I am just in the process of investing in a TENS machine. Again buy a reputable one, Med-Fit supplies the NHS. Compared to the over the counter medications you can buy, a TENS machine is comparatively reasonable. They are much cheaper on Amazon.
quilting or crafting and solutions for arthritis
quilting or crafting and solutions for arthritis

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

  1. Look at your diet. Will it help if you change it?
  2. Lose weight if you need to
  3. You might feel you cannot exercise at all – but the message is use it or lose it. Look for gentle exercise and keep moving. Swimming and cycling are good for osteoarthritis. Do strength exercises. Gentle dancing is brilliant and uplifting.
  4. Physiotherapy
  5. If you cannot cope, seek help

The NHS has much information on this and exercises. Also on compression gloves.

You could also look at ergonomic gadgets such as rotary cutters/chairs, how you sit and stand and posture in general. Use your body weight to rotary cut, not pressure from your hand.

DISCLAIMER
I am not a GP. I have written this because I was appalled that people recently recommended many of the over the counter remedies to someone in a quilting group. I write from personal experience. I am not associated with any product. You follow my advice or not at your own free will. Best advice is speak to your GP before you do anything at all.

Copyright Karen Platt 2021

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Designing Textiles From Scratch Textile Designer

Designing textiles from scratch is not always as easy as you might think. Not only do you need a great idea, you need to be able to follow it through to a finished object or even a series.

You need to know how to transfer your ideas from your head or from sketches on paper to something concrete and practical or decorative.

There are many techniques, many fabrics that you can use, so sometimes it is hard to make a start. Often we start and get stuck.

My design ecourses can help you negotiate your way through design, this one is on textiles

Moving Through Mud

Designing textiles from scratch is sometimes like moving through mud. You can get bogged down with indecision, stuck with an idea that will not flow or find it impossible to bring things to fruition.

However if you are like me, I only get stuck when I am faced with a decision on how to proceed, usually based on a lack of technique. So it was with my current jacket project. I had started fine and sat and stitched each evening until I had made 80 hand stitched diamonds. Joined them together in rows.

Then came the crunch: What comes next?

Decisions, decisions

I am not bad at decisions, I usually sort things fairly quickly. However, for every designer there comes a time when they get truly stuck. Was this the right decision? Would that have been better? Will this work? Is my technique bad?

I made a decision to use a type of folded patchwork around the edge, I have not got there yet, and might never. First I started on a central panel for the back to liven things up a bit.

I cut enough pieces for five different patchwork shapes. Then I lost a piece, stitched a piece a bit off centre and lost interest. All along there was a nagging doubt. Was it what I wanted?

Having finished another project, I returned to this design problem yesterday. I laid out the pieces and thought does it look right? Part of me said yes, part said no. No decision there. Then I thought once more, what else can I do? I could stitch some more diamonds but that was not what I wanted. I stared at it for a few minutes and decided it was worth finishing.

Designing textiles from scratch
Designing Textiles from scratch

The pieces are all just about stitched in place now. Of course I need odd shapes to attach in between them at the sides. I draw my own templates. Then I still have to make a decision on what goes around the edge, not to mention quilting it.

It might take a while yet, but I am on the move. Meantime I cut the fabric for jacket number three.

African fabrics
Designing textiles from scratch

Knitting

Designing textiles from scratch
Designing textiles from scratch

I also finished a sleeveless top. I was hoping to have the pattern uploaded to Ravelry today, but it will still take a day or two. It will be my 10th knitting pattern on there.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021

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Wearable Art Textiles Jackets and Coats 2021

Wearable Art is my main theme for the year. This is my first blog post of the year 2021. Why on the 11th January 2021 you might well ask; truth is I forgot to do it last Monday 🙂

Wearable art is such a fun past-time and can mean so many things. For me it is about creating unique wearable items.

Yes, well it is lockdown, but I don’t see why that should mean life is at a standstill. Keeping busy is a great way to get through. So I shall use this first blog post of the year 2021 to tell you what I have been up to so far and what you can expect in 2021.

wearable art
hand stitched wearable art

Clearout

It is always good to have a jolly good clearout and mine has been largely a computer one. Yes I regularly have a turf out and discover files that I had completely forgotten about. It also gives me an opportunity to find things that need completing. Remember to regularly back up your work too, you don’t want to lose it.

Roses

In this way I discovered the roses file. In fact there were three. What’s in those I thought. There is only one way to find out and that’s to open them. Then I remembered that one file was for a book on roses and I had done over 100 photos and then just forgotten about the whole thing.

So I am pleased to say that I have now cropped and sized over 500 photos and I am still going. I also created a book cover as you can see below. This kind of exercise gives me the chance to reduce the number of images I keep as large files so it has a purpose in that sense. Of course, the real object is to share the photos with you and give readers of the book the opportunity to just adore roses (they are so adorable) and to paint them or use them for textiles. Of course, it stands as a largely pictorial gardening book too.

Roses book cover
Roses Book Cover

Wearable Art

Which brings me nicely on to the next topic and what to expect in 2021. I have already created almost two wearable art quilted jackets. They are both created with patchwork, with a lot of hand stitching. The next one will be using some of my images and be more arty. So I am very excited about wearable art, stay tuned. There will be an accompanying book on Wearable Art.

wearable art
hand stitched jacket

This is a major undertaking to look at clothing and fashion throughout the ages and create wearable art, patterns and resources for style and more. I have started with the medieval period. I find period dress very fascinating. If you have a penchant for traditional dress following the link for the ebook on Tunisia.

wearable art
Traditional Dress of Tunisia

Textile Inspirations

Of course, I am still providing plenty of inspiration in my current series, working on The Egyptians, having launched Prehistoric and Mesopotamia last year.

textile inspirations
Textile Inspirations Prehistoric
Textile Inspirations
Textile Inspirations Mesopotamia

All the ebooks can be found here

Time to get back to work.

Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2021.