It is easy to get carried away when cross stitching. Just like reading a book and telling yourself one more page before sleep, you might look at the clock and realize you’ve been stitching continuously for several hours. When you’re ‘in the zone’, it may become difficult to cross stitch without injury.
The problem with cross stitching for long hours is that it can cause strain on your hands, shoulders, neck and eyes. There are a few precautions to take so you can keep doing your favorite hobby without hurting your body.
Take a Break!
Yes I know, time flies when you’re doing your favorite hobby. When working on big pieces with several colors, you might lose track of time as you see your picture taking shape. However, the repetitive strain on your arm can start leading to pain after a while. It is important to take a break and do something else every hour or so.
Set an alarm or a countdown watch for each hour. It’s not a race against time but will be useful to keep you aware of how long you’ve been at it.
Keep your Thread Length Short
Remember when we said you should cut an arm’s length of the thread you’ll be stitching with? If the thread is too long, you’ll be exerting a lot of pressure on your entire arm when doing your stitches. It may seem like a workout but by putting in long hours, eventually the pain may inconvenience you.
Get a Hand Brace to Manage Wrist Pain
Are you starting to feel some pain in your wrists? There are hand braces you can buy and wear that will help reduce the strain on your wrist. They won’t remove the pain but they will limit it. Amazon has various types of braces and finger splints depending on your needs and pain levels.
Watch your Seating Posture
Sit down the way you would usually do when stitching. Are you slouching? How do you rest your legs? Do you often change your seating posture while stitching? Are you really comfortable in the way you sit? Observe yourself and think of all the ways to improve your posture. Make sure the circulation isn’t cut off from your legs and that your shoulders and neck aren’t slouched forward.
Reduce Eye Strain with Good Lighting
When stitching, you may not realize that the sun has been setting or that the natural light of the room is dimming with that passing cloud. As you try and focus more on those little holes, you might be causing yourself eye strain without realizing it. It is important to make sure the room you’re stitching in has proper lighting. Can you read the pattern clearly without squinting? Can you tell the difference between all the shades of colors?
You can also purchase ott-lite lamps that recreate the natural daylight in your room and relieve eye strain.
See a Doctor
If pain is getting severe and interfering with your stitching, visit a doctor. While pain may annoying, it can be alleviated. However, if you keep straining already sore joints, you might cause irreparable damage.
We don’t want you to no longer be able to cross stitch. So take good care of yourself, avoid injury and keep stitching for a lifetime.