Carpal Tunnels and Christmas Gifting

Currently suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, the onset of which makes me suspect that it was Herr Niune that broke me!   Docs orders are to do no crafting of any kind, though I haven’t done any since October anyway apart from a brief pre-Christmas flurry of gift creating.    I’m due to get nerve conduction studies as soon as the referral goes through; once we find out how bad the situation is, I’ll know whether I can get away with steroid shots and rest or whether I’ll need surgery.   I’m hoping desperately against the latter, as it would pretty much put an end to my crafting even on a hobby basis.  Unfortunately the symptoms are pretty severe so surgery is looking likely at this point.

Anyway, I DID make some things for people at Christmas, most of which did not revolve around embroidery due to my disability at the time, but some of which did.    Here follow some photographs of the things that I managed to turn out.  Let’s all hope that they don’t turn out to be the last things I ever make!

This first piece was constructed for fellow Tolkien enthusiast friends and is finished as wall art with padding over prepared plywood board and sealed with upholstery staples, fabric glue and felt.  The text is the song to Elbereth, or at least the section of it that Frodo hears whilst at Rivendell.  I tried to keep the presentation fairly minimalistic, as I did not want the text to seem cluttered, but speak for itself.

Silver thread, white and grey embroidery cottons, split stem stitch, on midnight blue velour.   Song to Elbereth by JRR Tolkien.

Silver thread, white and grey embroidery cottons, split stem stitch, on midnight blue velour. Song to Elbereth by JRR Tolkien.

This cushion design came from a book (More Celtic Quilting, by Gail Lawther, 2004).  I don’t often stitch other people’s designs these days, but the carpal tunnel issue inclines me to be a little lazier than usual.  Also Gail’s designs are beautiful.  I finished this one at 8pm on Christmas Eve.   Phew!  Drinks followed.

Christmas gift, created Dec 2012

Purple/pink silk dupion, hand embroidered in running stitch using variable shaded purple embroidery cotton. Embellished with pink beads.

This next cushion cover was my first foray into patchwork in about 30 years, the first in fact since my enthusiastic but mediocre offerings in junior school.    My mother will disagree with this assessment because she still uses one of the pieces that I made, but she’s my mother and biased!

This piece also represents the very first time I’ve tried hand piecing.  Why I did this when I already had carpal tunnel symptoms…well, your guess is as good as mine.   Presumably for the same reason that I’d take on a project like this, based on techniques I’d never tried, only a bare few weeks before Christmas!  Apparently, the lure of the crafting did naughty things to my capacity for sensible judgement.  Anyway, here it is!

Cathedral Window/Secret Garden patchwork, cottons hand pieced, embellished with beading.

Cathedral Window/Secret Garden patchwork, cottons hand pieced, embellished with beading.

This next piece was finished as wall art with padding, board, upholstery staples and felting in what was fast becoming my signature method prior to the doc ordering me to down tools.   Actually I think this was the first one that I tried to do, so the corner angles are a little bit wonky as I was still fighting with the stapler (we are now the best of friends).   It is an exercise in deconstructed crazy patchwork, which means that none of the edges are finished and the slight degree of fraying from the pinked fabrics adds to the effect in the design.  Various types of hand embroidery, machine embroidery and beading feature.  The leaves declared on their packaging that they were for stamping art, but it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve used something in a manner utterly unforeseen and unintended by the manufacturers!  I ended up stitching them on by hand.

Deconstructed crazy patchwork, embellished with hand and machine embroidery and beading.

Deconstructed crazy patchwork, embellished with hand and machine embroidery and beading.
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6 thoughts on “Carpal Tunnels and Christmas Gifting

  1. Wow – those are stunning. That patchwork is beautifully complex, but yes – can see that it has a certain carpal-tunnely vibe about it.

    OK, I admit it – I am also worrying that you typed all this! :-oo

    I would say fingers crossed for recovery but that seems a bit of a sour joke.

    • lizheffner says:

      Thank you!

      I have started doing some therapeutic stretching according to a program in a book that I found about conquering carpal tunnel syndrome. I only did half of the stretches yesterday (taking it carefully for once) and there was a noticeable (and dramatic) improvement overnight. Still a long long way to go, but I have hope that I might be able to instigate my own relief from symptoms without recourse to surgery!

  2. sounds scary – definately keep up with the excercises. They sound as if they’re helping and doctors often discount simple remedies

    • lizheffner says:

      Yeah, very scary. I’ve had some low moments, I can tell you… including every time I glimpse Hestor on his frame, untouched. Still, on the plus side, the exercises are definitely helping!

  3. almostanowl says:

    These are lovely. Hope your wrists feel better soon. 🙂

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