It can be so frustrating, the thought that we may have to give up our favorite hobby because our hands simply can't keep up. It used to be that we could sew for hours and hours a day, but our fingers feel weak and sore after just a few minutes, and that soreness can last for days.
Well, don't give up too quickly. Just as there are now can openers and ice cream scoops that are specially made for people who suffer from arthritis in their hands, now there are ergonomically designed tools for hand sewing that can take the pain out of the process, and help compensate for the stiffness and weakness that often goes along with arthritis. One of the most important inventions, along with cushion-handled scissors and ultra-lightweight irons are thimbles designed for arthritis suffers.
And there are several different models, so you can choose the one that works best for you. The first type is designed primarily for the sewer whose fingers have become so sensitive that pushing the needle through cloth is just too painful. These thimbles are soft and flexible, but have a firm tip that is broad angled tip to help you control the needle. The soft body will not cause painful pressure, and the firm tip protects you from needle sticks while not pressing too hard on the bone and muscles. Their soft body hugs the finger and they come in many different sizes, so that your finger muscles do not have to strain to keep the thimble in place. If your problem is that your fingers are no longer nimble enough to manipulate a needle properly, or to apply enough pressure to push it through the cloth, you may want to consider an alternative thimble that looks more like an old-fashioned awl. These have a large handle of wood or soft plastic, about the size of a broad-tip marker. Instead of curling your fingers around a tiny needle, you simply hold on to the comfortable handle. The handle is attached to a needle with two threading points. The lower one, closer to the handle, is used for general sewing, while the one further from the handle is used for making small tight stitches, or when the material is too thick to penetrate all the way to the end of the needle. Either of these devices can allow you to sew longer and more comfortably.
However, it is important to take good care of your hands, and not let these assistive devices tempt you to overdo it. Give your hands frequent breaks, and gently stretch your hands and forearms during these breaks. Don't try to go from a few minutes of sewing a day to a few hours all at once; build up gradually, a few minutes a day. Also, use your assistive thimble as just one of the tools to help relieve strain on your hands. Ergonomically designed scissors, threaders, seam straighteners, and other devices can enhance one another. You can create an entire sewing box of tools designed to keep you sewing for a long time to come.
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Article Added on Sunday, July 20, 2008
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