Desperate times call for desperate measures – even in the calm and sedate world of hand embroidery.
I have a hand problem. It’s called “Dishes,” which closely akin to that other problem called “Meal Preparation.” Normally, I expect chapped or rough skin on my hands in the winter months, and I prepare for it. But I was taken unawares when this situation creeped up on me last week.
I’ve talked about hand care before here on Needle ‘n Thread – an apt subject for the embroiderer, especially if you’re working with silk.
Now, mind you, I’m not a ninny about my hands. There’s a cliché out there about ounces of prevention and all that, but in fact, in every month but winter (November through March in Kansas), beyond regular moisturizer when I feel the need, I don’t fuss over my phalanges.
I don’t, for example, wear rubber gloves when I do dishes. And I like the water hot. Hot, hot.
I don’t get manicures as a rule. Though I did get one once as a gift, it’s not really “me.” (I can do it at home if I need to, for a lot less!)
I scrub lots of vegetables several times a day, and my favorite tool for that is often… my hands.
I’ll do whatever I need to do with my hands – even if it means breaking a nail, getting them dirty, and all that stuff. Mud pies with the kids? Sure, why not! Carving pumpkins and scooping out the seeds by hand? Is there an easier way to get that stringy mess out?
So I’m not a ninny about my hands!
But this is the thing: there comes a time in the life of a woman where, even in the privacy of her own workroom, there is a certain level of consternation involved in wearing blue gloves that turn human hands into Alien Hands.
Still, I’ve discovered that these non-latex, non-powdered, nitrile gloves can be rather (ahem…) handy. Every other stitch, I was stopping to release silk from the sides of my fingers. Can’t you imagine the frustration? Desperate times call for desperate measures. I donned a blue glove onto my stitching hand, and voilá! The problem was solved.
It takes a bit of getting used to, stitching with these things on. And I suppose that there are other solutions – for example, these finger gloves. But I don’t have those anymore. A friend (thanks, Louise!) dropped off a bunch of these gloves, thinking they might help with dish-doing, and I thought, Why not try stitching with them?
These are the medium sized gloves and they’re a bit big, but they still work. I’m not sure if there’s any hard and fast rule about using these types of gloves when you stitch. I don’t know if the chemicals from which they are made might affect the threads or fabrics adversely in the long run. I rarely touch my fabric when I’m stitching (I don’t rest my hands on it) and I only have enough contact with the threads to cause them to snag. With so little contact, I doubt there’d be any effect. But maybe someone else out there knows better?
Later this week, I’ll compare two products made specifically to help the needleworker out in similar situations. Hand care is a topic worth talking about, especially with winter coming on, because we all have lives, and our hands do work. But when we sit down to stitch with beautiful and often expensive threads, it is a shame to undergo snagging frustrations, or worse yet, to damage the threads because our Most Important Tools (our hands!) need a little attention.
I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve in the next couple weeks. I’ve been slowly and steadily developing some smaller projects that I’ll show you. We’re in the last two weeks of The Nesting Place online class, and I’m planning another run of it after the first of the year. And I’ve even been editing some more how-to videos that I’m looking forward to sharing!
Hey. Maybe I should wear the blue gloves in the videos. Now, wouldn’t that be alluring?
Have a great Monday!
If you’d like access to all the tips and techniques discussed in the Medallion Project, including complete step-by-step coverage of the Tudor-Style Rose, conveniently collected in one document, interlinked, referenced, and indexed, why not add the Marian Medallion Project e-book to your library? It’s packed full of all kinds of embroidery tips for undertaking a project like this, all in a convenient electronic format for easy searching.
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