Hope alls well with you? This week we are going to address two reader’s questions:
Charli Wallace asked “How do you maintain good posture while stitching to avoid back or neck pain?”
Here are some helpful ideas to avoid neck and shoulder pain whilst stitching.
- Sit in a comfortable chair. I find this does not necessarily mean an upright chair but a sofa or armchair where you feel comfortable. Place a cushion behind you if necessary to ensure your back is supported. Here is an example below.
2. Make sure that your magnifying light comes to you – not you go to it. In other words position the light towards you as shown in example one, do not bend towards the light as shown in example two. You should be sitting comfortably in your chair with the light positioned so that you can easily view your stitching through the lens.
3. Whilst stitching place a small cushion underneath your left armpit as shown above in example one. The reason for this is that when you are holding your hoop or frame, you tend to pull your elbow in towards your body and your neck and shoulders tense up. The cushion forces your elbow out slightly, which aligns your shoulder into a more natural position and takes the strain off.
4. Lastly it is important to get up and move around every now and then – at least every hour or more.
Susan Jeffries asked “My work always seems to pucker. I have stretch Bars that l use and I know it has to be very tight but it still seems to pucker when l release the finished embroidery, it so disappoints me. Perhaps you have some tips about this.
This is a common problem with embroidery Susan, but here are some ways to avoid puckering.
- It is important to use the right type of fabric for your embroidery. It should have a very close weave and be of a medium weight so it is sturdy enough to support your embroidery. If the fabric is too light it wont support your embroidery and the result will be puckering.
2. The fabric should have little or no stretch. If your fabric has any stretch in it – it will overstretch when mounted in the hoop or frame and when you remove it will shrink back and be distorted. Test the fabric by pulling it both across and down with the grain of the fabric, to make sure there is no stretch in it.
You can find lots of information on the correct types of embroidery fabric here.
3. Ensure that you line up the grain of the fabric before you mount it into the hoop or frame. If it is mounted against the grain it will stretch and again distort. The best way to ensure it is cut with the grain is to pull a thread as shown above.
4. Your fabric should be taut with a good tension when mounted into the hoop or frame. If necessary adjust it whilst stitching if it starts to loosen up.
5. It is best to use either an embroidery hoop or stretcher frame with tacks to achieve the best tension. You can find more information on this here.
5. If you have followed all 5 suggestions above and your work is still puckered don’t despair there is still hope! You can block your embroidery. This is a magical solution that 9/10 times will get rid of all those pesky puckers. You can find instructions on how to block your embroidery here.
Please note that if you have used silk threads this method is not advisable as they do not stand up well to washing or water.
Hope this helps. Till next time, wherever you are in the world keep smiling and happy stitching!