The Ups and Ows of Crafting

  • 3 min read

Reflect ¦ Crafting Fingers

Crafting can hurt. Office work and crafting aren’t two things I compare often, but as it turns out they’re both likely to cause RSIs. (Repetitive stress injuries. Or as I would call it, ‘ow why does my shoulder hurt after 5 minutes of doing anything?’ syndrome.)

I’d heard of RSIs but it’s not something I thought I was going to have to worry about as someone in their early 20s. Turns out that was a big fat lie!

Shoulders are tricky things, too. It will easily take 6-8 months for my shoulder feel good again, and that’s after physiotherapy. If I’m honest, before the doctor told me that I was terrified it would be early-onset arthritis, so this was still good news.

Long story short? My plans for 2014 have been thrown for a loop! As fun as it was, if my lifestyle in 2013 led to this then some things have to change.

If you’re a fellow computer-loving crafty type, please learn from my mistakes!

  • No matter how young, physically fit, and healthy you are it’s a good idea to stretch after crafting. (Isn’t it funny how we naturally stretch as kids? Why do we grow out of that?)
  • … and stretch after being by the computer for a long time. Smartphones and tablets count, too. (Looking at fellow Twitter lovers!)
  • Schedule in breaks. Breaks are just as important as whatever craft work you’re doing.
  • If your shoulder hurts and you can’t keep on top of email, double-triple-quadruple check that the auto-responder you set up is actually turned on. Argh!

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Cave ¦ Crafting Fingers

But shoulder pain isn’t going to stop me from being crafty. (HA! As if!) It just means I have to be more mindful about it. There’s only so much crafting that I’ll be able to do. My design stage will be so much more about sketching and imagining projects out first!

It’s been hard to put exciting ideas back on the shelf. But it’s been good, too. The turn of the year is a natural time to reflect, and I’ve had a lot of time to think about why crafting is important to me. More importantly, I’ve thought about the impact it can have on the world. (Big and small, on everything from thrifty living to motherhood.)

And since I won’t be able to craft as much, every Sunday will be my new opinion column. (Think posts like why craft magazines are worth £4.99.) It’s time to get down and dirty and talk about how crafting is still important in the modern world.

What would you make if you could craft for only 20 minutes a day?

Lots of crafty love and support,


P.S. Remember to stretch!!!

6 thoughts on “The Ups and Ows of Crafting”

  1. Sorry to hear you have been suffering Anna – but good advice there. I have suffered with wrist pain lately as a result of RSI from crochet and using the computer mouse in my day job. It’s frustrating but rest of course helps.

    1. Thanks so much Claire. It’s one of the few downsides to crafting! Rest does help, and stretches and ‘counter exercises’ help too. I never say no to a hand massage, either! ;)

    1. Since it’s my shoulder that has gotten the problem, swimming could work great anyway. (But now I’m imagining knitting underwater, of all things.) But yeah, it seems all crafts have their own repetitive movements. Will have to think about which crafts have the least monotonous motions!

  2. Ouch! I’ve had bouts with RSI-related shoulder problems (in my case brought on by a job where I had to use very tall filing cabinets so was reaching up constantly, plus an unfortunate habit of sleeping on my side with my arm up under my pillow) and it’s so painful. I had no idea how much I used my shoulders before that happened! I hope you start improving quickly.

    If I could only spend 20 minutes a day on crafting, I’d probably spend it doing embroidery. Last August I broke my wrist and was in a cast for about 7 weeks, and it was so hard not being able to do much of anything. I found I was able to do cross stitch and counted thread embroidery, just very slowly, and I was so glad to find something I could manage. I did a blackwork sampler and about 3/4 of a cross stitched motif for what’s going to be the top half of a biscornu (which I haven’t finished since I started about a million new projects after the cast was off). I also managed some machine sewing after the first cast was taken off and replaced with a slightly less restrictive one, but it was definitely not my best work :)

    1. Thanks for sharing Daisy! It’s both good and bad to hear I’m not the only one that has gone through this! I’m waiting for my physio to start and hope it does what it needs to quickly. :)

      I’ll have to try some embroidery, maybe it’ll work well for me. It’s my favourite ‘meditative’ craft, so it would be fantastic if I could still do it without problems. If it’s displayed in some forgotten corner no one will get close enough to see the poor stitch quality, right?!

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