An Ounce of Prevention

It will come as no shock to those who know my history that I'm a lover of tools. In fact, all of the tools in our house are there because I wanted them. Not just the crafting ones, but the sensible, Mr. Fix-It ones like the hammers and electric screwdriver. I can be easily seduced at the local hardware store by a set of matching items and a low price tag. But these are by far the most commonly used item in my toolkit, and not for fixing the plumbing.

I use these needle nose pliers all the time while stitching. You can find specialty pretty pliers in jewelry stores, and that's fine if you want to spend the extra for something pretty or need it to be smaller, but for what I use them for, there's no need. I use these pliers to save my hands, fingers, and wrists from pain and anguish.
As we all know, I'm desperately lazy and a little obsessed with not wasting anything- ever. I often find these two tendencies mean I am attempting something awkward when I am trying to squeeze out that last stitch or two so I don't have to change thread. But their usefulness goes beyond those that to when I'm sewing through a particularly thick set of fabric, or just to keep myself from cramping up my hand trying to pull on a tiny needle that's close to the fabric while starting or ending a thread.

The big thing for me, though, is that if I don't have to fight my needle to pull it through, gripping it tightly, then my hands don't get tired as quickly, my wrists don't hurt as much later on, and my fingers don't get those painful gouges where you've been pressing so hard to try to get things to move.

If you're like me, with problems in your fingers/hands/wrists from repetitive strains or carpal tunnel, or whatnot, I find something like this is one of the best ways for me to keep working on projects while reducing the chance that the pain will flare up again. Obviously, taking breaks, swapping what you're doing, blah-di-blah are better, but something simple like using extra tools really makes a difference I've found.

I've found I can often tell when things are thinking about flaring up. Using my pliers when my wrists are that way inclined has meant I spend a lot less time doing nothing because I'm in pain. But even if you don't have issues with your extremities, these little things come in handy anyway. Now, who wants to buy me some fancy ones for my sewing kit bag?


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