Head and Shoulders, Knees and…Elbows?

Dear Vi,

I hate to be a complainer, but I just have to tell you:

Too much hand quilting, knitting, typing, and gripping heavy weights at the gym have given me tennis elbow in both arms and caused the arthritis in my hands to flare up.

It’s my own fault. I let it go too far. I let it get away from me. I let it get to the point where it hurts to even pick up a cup of tea.

And that’s not all. Poor ergonomics in my sewing and writing life are affecting my shoulders, neck and back, which (not surprisingly) has worked it’s way down into the knees.

‘It hurts when I cackle!’

Because I’m a writer, I’m often at my laptop for several hours a day. If I want to continue, it’s imperative that I address the ergonomics problem.

Fortunately, I know what I have to do to fix it.

Yesterday I went to Staples and bought myself a properly adjustable office chair. My lower half notices the improved sitting situation already, but my shoulders are still complaining because the keyboard is too high.

In a perfect world, I’d buy a properly adjustable computer desk. But the reality is, we all have to work with what we’ve got and live within our means. Whatever modifications I make to my writing space cannot infringe on the rest of my very small house, and they also have to fall within my fixed-income budget.

Installing a sliding, adjustable keyboard tray (and new keyboard) under my sewing table and using my laptop like a desk computer may be the best solution.

The laptop can easily share real estate with the sewing machine. Both are lightweight & portable, and can easily be unplugged and set it aside to make room for the other. Mr. C will have the final say on whether or not the sewing table can be modified.

It may take a month or more, but getting back to my home yoga practice, doing physio & massage therapy for the elbows, and making these ergonomic fixes will hopefully take care of the worst of the problems.

Have you ever suffered repetitive strain injuries or dealt with ergonomic issues when sitting for long periods at the keyboard or sewing machine? Has knitting or hand quilting ever given you tennis elbow?

Do tell!

Hands2Help, Vogue 9057, row quilts, novels and knitting

Dear Vi,

Put your hands together and wish a happy 7th anniversary to the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!

Sarah has graciously reminded us that this weekend is the first linky party to show our progress on our quilts.

Yes, I’m one of “those people” who wear socks with their Birkenstock sandals. I wish I could say I’m sorry, but I’m not. I choose function over fashion just about every time, much to the dismay of certain fashion-oriented members of my family whose names I will not mention, lol!

I’ve gone through my box of orphan blocks and picked out 12 that go together fairly nicely. Add some sashing and a nice, wide border and soon it’ll be a lap-sized quilt perfect for donating to the chemotherapy ward at our local hospital. Since chemo makes the patient so ill – and so cold – it will be very welcome, I’m sure.

And remember in this post where I said I was going to sew a top?  Well, I did, and here it is:

Vogue 9057

It actually turned out pretty nice, and I’ve even worn it out in public a couple of times. It does have a few issues, though…mainly that the neck is too wide. I need to put in some back shoulder darts to keep it from sliding down and showing off my bra straps.

The next time I make this pattern, I’ll cut the neck & shoulders a size smaller, then grade out for the body. You can always cut the neck bigger, but you can’t cut it smaller, so there you go.

Oh, and you’ll notice that I haven’t hemmed it. That’s because I can’t figure out how to hem the points. Ha!

What else…

The quilt guild I belong to is doing a row-by-row round robin, and I’ve really been enjoying it. Each person has chosen a theme for their row quilt, and each month we pass along our work to the next person on the list, and then make a row according to the “owner” specifications.  This is the row I made this month for Beth. I think it’s my favourite so far. Sam certainly likes it!And are you wondering where I’m at with the novel?  (insert big heaving sigh here)I’ve been working on my query pitch. OMG who’d have thought writing a query pitch would be harder than writing the entire novel?  Eee gads.

So while I’m pondering how to entice a literary agent in under 200 words, I’ve been knitting. What else would I be doing? Don’t I always knit when I hit the writing doldrums?

This is a sock knit in the most lovely yarn called Regia, which is made in Italy for the German Schachenmayer yarn company. This particular skein is from their special edition Kaffe Fassett design line. Doesn’t it just scream “spring?”

What a mishmash of a letter today. But it pretty much sums up how my life has been going this last month.

And to top it all off, I complete forgot the A-Z in April challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you’re doing better with the mental organization than I am these days, lol!

 

Pinwheels for a Baby

Dear Vi,

We’ve all been very excited over the news that Mr. C’s cousin Frank is going to be a grandpa! Well, the baby was due on Valentine’s Day, but she decided to put in her appearance a few days early.

I haven’t gone anywhere near mama or baby yet because I’m still fighting off the after shocks of the flu (sinus infection followed by bronchitis). Some things you just don’t want to share, am I right?

…but I’ve been quietly stitching away in the background in anticipation of the special delivery.

I had so much fun shopping for the fabric. I decided not to use my stash…I wanted something brand new. Don’t you just love these sweet vintage-inspired prints? They go so nicely with the pinwheels, which are themselves a vintage quilt block. In fact, according to one quilt historian, the pieced pinwheel block pattern hails back to 1795, following the invention of the cotton gin!

I put prairie points between the inside & outside borders because babies just love little tags of cloth to explore and fiddle with..

At 35 x 42 inches, it’s perfect for tummy time.

Hand quilted with love for our wee Logan ♥