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!

All the miscellaneous bits and pieces

Dear Vi,

Today I sent out another query letter for Holding Space. That makes nine. Out of the nine, I’ve received two rejections and one request for a Full. That means the agent liked the query enough to want to read the full manuscript. That’s pretty exciting. Even if she decides it isn’t for her, it’s a huge boost to my writerly self esteem.

And I’ve got a short story out on submission, but I won’t hear for awhile yet.

Meanwhile, I’m working on two new manuscripts. This is a bit discombobulating –  I need to settle into one. Instead, I dither, going back and forth, unable to totally immerse myself in either.

I’ve been busy in other areas, too: I’ve got one quilt ready for binding and another one sandwiched and ready for quilting, and socks on one set of needles and a sweater on another set. Lots of busy going on in that area, as evidenced by the gawd awful mess of knitting and hand sewing paraphernalia next to my side of the couch.

And then, as if things weren’t messy enough,  I decided that most of the pieces of clothing I’ve made up to now are not acceptable. They looked good in the initial trying on, but once I started actually wearing them – out in public, like – their flaws started showing up. Three dresses have been tossed into the recycle bin. There’s enough fabric in the skirts to use as a muslin for a couple of tops I want to make. It’s all a learning process.

Sam and I have really been enjoying the autumn colours this year. Somehow, they seem even more vivid than usual.

What about you? Anything interesting to report?

a Moneta Pas de Deux (a bit of Moneta Madness under the Midnight Sun)

So you thought I was just sitting around smelling the fresh air for the last two months in the Yukon, eh?

spock-1

Actually, my friend Dee and I had a sewing date and we made matching Moneta dresses: a Moneta Pas de Deux!

017Dee came out to the cabin for a weekend and we sewed. It was a lot of fun. I’d brought my sewing machine up the highway with me, and we plugged it into the solar battery system.

018Dee brought this fabulous salmon & teal roses fabric to sew her dress. My eyes turned instant jealousy green as soon as I saw it. And then, O happy day! there was enough left over for me to piece a dress, too!

021I think I was a little rude about it, actually…I just sort of said, “I’ll take that!” when we saw how much was left over…

011I had to piece the back skirt piece, which is just fine. Nobody would ever know that it isn’t supposed to have a back seam.

012I graded the bodice pattern for both Moneta dresses that I’ve sewn from the L at the shoulders up to the XL at the waist, but the dress is still too big across the top of the shoulder. So I’m going to grade the bodice pattern on the next one…the M for the shoulders, grading up to the XL at the waist.

013the neck isn’t really as bad as it looks in this picture. I’m standing wonky or something. The neck doesn’t actually slip down quite that far when I’m wearing it around.  On the plus side…Pockets!

007Cheers to Dee for doing such a great job on her first time ever sewing stretchy, slippery, slithery ITY fabric!

bonesAnd since Dee and I live 1700 miles apart, we don’t have to worry about being caught in the same outfit, lol!

018

dee

Love ya, girl.