Sewing Tools

Ergonomic Thimbles: Arthitis Relief for Hand Sewing

I enjoy hand sewing, but my hands get sore pretty quickly. If you are like me and your hands get sore when hand-sewing, whether your problem withhand-sewing is arthritis or just plain sore hands, an ergonomically created thimble can make all the difference in how handiwork much you get done.

Author: Millard Hiner

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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Tools for Sewing Knit Fabric

If you make some mistakes when sewing garments and other textile items from knit, you will find the fabric can be very forgiving, up to a point. If you damage the fabric, however, you can run into problems with runs. (Picture a pair of hose with a hole that "runs" up the leg, or the stitched top of a dog food bag coming unraveled when you tug the right spot in the thread.)

You can avoid damaging your knit items by using the right tools. You can use either sharp scissors or a sharp rotary cutter to cut out the fabric pieces. It doesn't really matter which you use as long as it is sharp. Dull spots can cause the knit fibers to catch and pull, causing runs.

You also need special pins and needles when working with knit fabric. The term to look for on the packages: ball point - just like the ink pens. These special needles have gently rounded, ball-shaped tips that slide between fabric fibers rather than cutting through them. You can also get away with using universal pins and needles for this fabric, but if you can get a hold of them, ball point is best.

Using the right tools when making knit projects can give you an end result you can be proud to claim. Use the wrong tools, and it might look okay when you get done, but it will be unlikely to stand up to use.


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