Keeping Your Needlework CleanWritten by Katrina Renouf
The best way to clean your needlework is to keep it clean from beginning; this doesn’t always happen (as I very well know). I can give you some tips on how to make this more likely to happen, and also how to get out those inevitable stains.
One of first things you can do to prevent stains is to set colors in your fabric and floss. It isn’t always necessary to wash your fabric first, but a good thing to do is to put it in a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts cold water. This ensures that colors won’t run. I have never heard of this shrinking fabric either, so don’t worry about that, just make sure you always use cold water. It’s always a good idea to set colors in regular cotton threads, especially darker ones. You can use that same solution to set colors in your threads, just soak them for about 15 minutes. After soaking, rinse in cold water for a few minutes or until water runs clear. Just dry them on a towel overnight, and they’ll be ready to use in morning.
Naturally best way to prevent stains while stitching is to make sure that your hands are clean. You should also avoid using hand lotion since most lotions contain an oil product which ca result in greasy spots on your needlework. Hoops are also notorious for leaving dirty marks. I suggest using tissue paper with a small open area for section being stitched. Also, removing hoop when you are not stitching can cut down on marks dramatically. A third major way to stain your fabric is by having someone else spill something on it or otherwise stain it while you’re not around. People with children know how easy that can happen. The best solution for this is to store your projects in plastic zipper bags. They now make them with small holes in them to allow them to breath. Make sure that you roll your fabric instead of folding it. The creases caused by folding tend to collect dirt, and are difficult to get out even if they’re ironed.
Now, to discuss inevitable, No matter what we do to prevent them, stains do happen. Make sure you deal with stain as soon as it happens, letting it sit until piece is done will make it more difficult to get stain out. One tip I have heard is that you should always use a pure soap, like Ivory, and not detergent or WoolLite, since they can have dyes or bleach in them. I have divided up following paragraphs into most common stains, and ways I have heard to get them out.
Repetitve Stress Injuries Due to NeedleworkWritten by Katrina Renouf
Doing a lot of needlework can cause repetitive stress injury (RSI), especially when combined with large amount of typing that many people do nowadays. It is caused when same movement is done repeatedly. Sports medicine physicians categorize levels of injuries based on symptoms and impact on wrist’s performance. This grading helps guide treatment and rehabilitation process. Grade 1 is when there is no pain while stitching, but there is some discomfort afterward (either immediately or during evening or following days). Grade 2 is when there is some discomfort while stitching but it doesn’t interfere with performance. Grade 3 is when there’s discomfort while stitching and it does interferes with performance. And finally, grade 4 is when discomfort is so intense that stitching cannot be performed at all. Of course, none of us want to reach this level!!!
There are various treatments for your wrist, depending on grade of injury. Grade 1 can be treated by stitching 25% less, and that’s all that's required. Stitching can be gradually increased as symptoms allow, but be careful not to push it too much and cause a reinjury. Grade 2 injuries can be cared for by reducing duration of your stitching by 50%. In addition to ice and stretches, consider using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents. Physical therapy is not absolutely necessary at this point, but can be considered. When pain is gone, therapist should teach an endurance program and strengthening exercises. Grade 3 is treated by “active" rest” where stitcher should stop stitching completely but is allowed to move affected part for daily activities. Physical therapy is needed to speed and end to discomfort, as well as to strengthen, increase endurance, and restore coordination. In addition to oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, a corticosteroid injection may be considered at this time. Grade 4 injuries are treated with complete rest of affected part, usually involving use of a sling or splint (even casting is considered in severe cases). All of above options can also be used. If there is no improvement, or condition recurs despite adequate treatment, then surgical intervention may be required.