After I published my last ‘Sewing Tools of Note’ about tiny needles, Kerry (my blog namesake, who is definitely one of my mentors, she crops up so much in these posts!) left a comment mentioning how important it is to use the right needle when hand sewing because it helps to avoid hand and wrist strain. Such an important point, and very significant to anyone who struggles with joint and muscular pain, whatever the cause. It got my thinking about the changes I have had to make recently to protect my wrist.
Earlier this year I had an encounter with a pub door (I promise you I had only had half a pint of beer) and managed go through the door, whilst leaving my thumb caught in the handle on the other side… The result of this ‘amusing’ (or so my friends thought…) incident was a trip to A&E, a wrist sprain and quite a lot of ongoing soreness. After this little incident, I really struggled with using a rotary cutter to cut my fabric, so I thought I would investigate alternatives to the standard Olfa rotary cutter that I’ve been using. I was recommended to try the TrueCut Rotary cutter – which has an angled handle design that aligns the wrist more naturally, placing your weight over the blade and eliminating stress in the wrist and arm.
You can buy the cutter with special fancy rulers, but I just bought the cutter and use it with my standard quilting rulers. It was odd at first, because the blade is in a slightly different position to standard cutters, and it took me a couple of days to get used to the fact that you have to use the cutter in a certain way. But I soon got used to it, and have found that it makes a huge difference, because I don’t have to press so hard to cut the fabric, and because of the way my hand is positioned, it takes the pressure of my wrist. I love it, and wouldn’t go back to the other kind now.
I even fell for the little marketing point – you can personalize the handle with pictures, fabric or photos – I found this bit of selvedge that seemed to fit the bill!
So using a rotary cutter hurts, perhaps it’s time to make a change. I’d be really interested to read about other ways that people have found to protect hands, wrists, shoulders, arms, and backs whilst sewing and crafting in general. It’s something I struggle with on and off, and I am sure other readers do too, so please share your ideas so I can do a bit of investigating and reporting back.
This post is another in my ongoing bloggy series on my favourite sewing tools – you can find more articles here on the main Sewing Tools of Note listings