Eye on the Machine—Stippling, Day ???

Okay, I’ve no earthly idea how many days I’ve been stippling this quilt now. I bet you knew that would happen, didn’t you? Anyway, here’s the issue: the tendons on the backs of my hands HURT! Now, granted, I have a tenosynovitis problem anyway, which I developed in 2004 after doing too many crystals. No, no, not THAT kind of crystals! THIS kind of crystals! So, back to the stippling. I’m working on the very edge of the quilt, stippling the background, and it’s harder to control the quilt in this area, since there’s less fabric to hold on to on the right hand side. I’ve known for a few days that the reason I’m having more pain in my hands when I’m stippling on the edge is because I’m holding my little finger on my right hand up a bit to keep it off the machine bed as you can see here:

Stippling on the edge before

Two bad things going on here: one, I’m putting even more tension on the tendons on the back of my hand because I’m holding the little finger like that, and two, I have even less control over the quilt, so my hands (and tendons!) are working that much harder to compensate. I’ve been trying for days to quit the habit, but I finally realized that I was doing it to keep my finger from dragging on the machine bed, so breaking the habit wasn’t going to fix it.

The solution finally hit me today: position the quilt at a different angle! See what I mean:

Stippling on the edge before

This helps a lot, because I have more control on the edge of the quilt, and holding my finger up in that tensed position is not an automatic reaction anymore, since it doesn’t drag on the machine bed. Sometimes just moving things around a bit or a small change in technique can do wonders. Yes, I still have pain, and can only stipple for a couple of hours a day, but I may be able to get 30 more minutes before I have to call it quits, and on my schedule, I’ll take any little bit I can get!