Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Painfree Crafting

In the next few months many of us will decide we have to "buckle down" and create all the presents and decorations that are on our imaginary -or sometimes not-so-imaginary- To Do List. We have deadlines- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's Day. And we cannot disappoint others by failing to create all the wonderful things that are swirling around our heads.

We settle down for several hours of work after a day of work. Soon, our hands are aching, our necks are creaking, and our lower backs are aching. But still we soldier on. In the name of all the magical goodness that is the holiday season, we will continue if it kills us.

Sometimes we end up in such pain that we wish it would.

To counteract all the physical demands we put on our bodies while we're crafting, we must warm up and stretch before we begin, and continue to stop, rest, and stretch while we are crafting. To give you some guidance about doing this, I made a simple video: Stretches for Crafters.

The stretches are simple stretches for the neck, shoulders, chest, wrists and hands. These, done before you begin and at regular intervals while you are crafting should help to keep some of the pain at bay. If repetitive stress injuries arise anyway? Alternate applications of heat and ice, NSAIDs, and rest will move you along your way to quicker healing.

Others in craft are also thinking about your health while crafting.

Becky Striepe at Crafting a Green World wrote Yoga for Crafters: The Knit and Crochet Edition.

From what you guys had to say on Twitter, it sounds like all that yarn work hits ravelers hardest in the wrists, fingers, neck and chest. Never fear! Here are some poses to help you recoop a little bit.

I'm anxious to try several of these poses to open up my chest and wrists and feel some healing coming my way. But looking at the Bow Pose- I may need yoga to recover from doing some yoga! I wonder how I can regress that to something actually do-able?

Last week, I pointed you to the Knit-A-Square charity project. The organizers were care so much about their volunteers that they wrote a How-To on Knitting for Charity Pain Free. Their points include a plan for a basic knitting/crochet training schedule to build your body's endurance for this work! The training schedule:

You are attempting to be a marathon knitter and crocheter. And as such, like any elite athlete, you need to train to be able to knit and crochet with endurance. Too many of you, especially those of you learning how to knit or crochet, or picking up your knitting needles or crochet hook again after years away from the craft, just launch straight hours of work.Start slowly and build up. As a rule of thumb, you could start by working for 20 to 30 minutes a day, slowly on a sliding scale according to half your age. So for example:

  • 20 minutes for 10 days
  • 30 minutes for 15 days
  • 50 minutes for 25 days
  • 70 minutes for 35 days.

This will give your wrists and arms the opportunity to build strength and endurance just as a marathon runner must train over months even years to first run the distance and secondly run fast.

Now that we are armed with stretches, yoga and a training schedule, there is (hopefully) no need to pray that you receive a week of massage/chiropractic after the holidays end this year. Not that such a gift would be a bad thing if it were to come.

How do you prepare to get your craft on and keep yourself pain free?

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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