Hard Lessons

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

Inattentive Quilting-A Cautionary Tale

Good Morning, Quilters,

As I planned my syllabus for the five-day class I’m teaching (as you read this) at The John C. Campbell Folk School, I knew I had to include a lesson on sewing safety.

It’s been almost three years since my sewing accident. (Read about HERE:  Inattentive Stitching:  A Cautionary Tale)  I stitched through my finger (while sewing a Tuesday Tutorial) and required surgery to have the needle, shards, and thread removed.  While the wound has long since healed, my finger has never been the same.  It doesn’t have full range of motion and it always feels a little stiff.

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

After the bandages were removed, I was forced to analyze how I work and why it happened.

I came to the following conclusions:

  • A sewing machine is a power tool and deserves respect.
  • When using a darning foot for free motion quilting, the needle is more exposed than in regular sewing.
  • My hands were frequently under the needle to reach short threads.
  • The foot pedal on my sewing machine is very sensitive…a small tap-and DOWN comes the needle.

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

SEWING SAFELY

I recommend everyone adopt these two safety precautions:

  • Use  tweezers to reach the threads under the needle.
  • Train yourself to remove your foot from the pedal every time you stop sewing.

Three years have passes, and I can honestly say, I have adopted both of these habits.  I ALWAYS have a pair of tweezers next to my sewing machine, and I move my sewing foot to the rung of my chair every time I stop sewing.

If I every forget, I’ll just look at these X-rays again and get a cold shudder reminder.

What about YOU?

Ever have a run-in with your sewing machine?

What safety measures to you take in YOUR sewing room?

We’d LOVE to hear!

Happy, Safe Sewing!

Lori

PS…All tutorials, images (including X-rays) and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

For more quilting tips, machine quilting, doodling and inspiration, check out my Craftsy videos- 50% off for readers of The Inbox Jaunt!

Lori Kennedy Craftsy

Sewing Safely-An Update

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

Inattentive Quilting-A Cautionary Tale

This week marks the one year anniversary of My Sewing Accident.

Those of you who were around then will remember I stitched through my nail while sewing a Tuesday Tutorial.  (Yes, I finished the tutorial, took photos and wrote the tutorial…dedication!)

It took me two days to decide a trip to the doctor was in order.  To my amazement, an X-ray revealed the needle was still imbedded in my finger.  I was carted off to surgery to remove the needle and the shattered pieces in the bone.  (Read more:  Inattentive Quilting-A Cautionary Tale)

Since that time, I have received hundreds of e-mails from other quilters and seamstresses who have sewn through their fingers too.  There was even a report about a quilter’s cat who got her paw stitched in a sewing machine!

Prior to last year, I had never had a sewing accident.  The scary thing was…I had stitched through the skin on my other hand the month before.  Clearly, my sewing habits required evaluation! (or my family was going to take my sewing machine away!)

By analyzing my work habits, I realized a few things:

  • A sewing machine is a power tool and deserves respect.
  • When using a darning foot for free motion quilting, the needle is more exposed than in regular sewing.
  • My hands were frequently under the needle to reach short threads.
  • The foot pedal on my sewing machine is very sensitive…a small tap-and DOWN comes the needle.

FMQ Knots the LCK Way

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

I made a few changes to my work habits that have proven to be safer.

I recommend everyone adopt these two safety precautions:

  • Use  tweezers to reach the threads under the needle.
  • Train yourself to remove your foot from the pedal every time you stop sewing.

Xray Sewing Machine Needle in Index Finger

ONE YEAR UPDATE

The first few weeks after my injury were difficult.  My finger was very swollen and sore and I lost my nail.  My whole finger was hyper sensitive and that was more uncomfortable than the pain.  In January, I was referred to Occupational Therapy for an exercise program.

One year later, my nail looks fine, but my finger does not have full range of motion and the last digit remains slightly flexed and stiff.  (Nothing that will prevent me from quilting!)

Free Motion Quilting, Trees, PresentsTHE MORAL OF THE STORY

I hope you will learn from my mistake–and the hundreds of quilters who wrote in to tell their similar stories….

Remember: A sewing machine is a power tool.

Use tweezers and get in the habit of removing your foot from the pedal EVERY TIME you stop sewing.  

THE GOOD NEWS

Because the surgeon was unable to remove all the shards of metal from the bone, I can now brag that QUILTING IS IN MY BONES!  Not many people can say that!

Safe Stitching,

Lori

Doodle to Design on Craftsy

PS…All tutorials, information and images are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, Pin, or share with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!