Ask me why I’m writing this blog post.. And I’ll give you one hint: it involves a visit to the ER.
I’ve been quilting since I was little, often using sharp instruments, scissors, rotary cutters, hot irons, sharp pins, etc. and I’ve truly never injured myself in any meaningful way.
Until last weekend.
And now I’m determined to prevent you from your own ER visit. Because it was easily preventable, and yet I never thought to implement safety measures BEFORE getting injured. Read on to get the whole story (if you're not squeamish!).
So learn from me, and then you won’t have to write a blog post with 9 fingers because one of them is bandaged!
Quilting is not just a fun activity but also a great way to express our artistic side. Aside from that, it also provides a creative outlet and helps reduce stress.
However, like any other hobby, quilting presents some risks that we should be aware of.
So let’s discuss some of the best practices to follow to stay safe while quilting.
Wear Appropriate Attire
Quilting sometimes involves the use of sharp tools and needles, so it's important that you wear appropriate clothing while quilting. Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry that can get tangled up in the needles or cutting tools.
For instance, loose sleeves may get caught up in the rotary cutter, and jewelry can get stuck in the fabric.
Also, make sure to wear closed-toe shoes or slippers with non-slip soles when quilting. This ensures your feet don't encounter anything sharp or hard.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Quilting requires focus, but it is crucial to remain aware of your surroundings.
Ensure that your working area is free of clutter, and all the sharps are kept out of reach of children and pets.
Also, keep liquids away from electronics and electrical cords. Avoid answering phone calls or checking your phone while using sharp tools.
Use Proper Lighting
Proper lighting is essential to avoid straining your eyes while quilting or making any unnecessary slips while cutting or sewing.
It's best to use natural light if your quilting space permits it. If not, invest in bright, adjustable lights that allow you to direct the light to where it is required.
Using a Sharp Rotary Cutter or Scissors
Using the right cutting tools is critical for quilting safely.
To avoid accidents, keep all cutting tools in their sheaths (or with the safety covers on) when not in use. Also, keep them out of reach of children and pets. When cutting, use a cutting mat to protect your work surface from marks and scratches.
A sharp rotary cutter or a pair of scissors makes the job easier and quicker. Rotary cutters are so handy, but also dangerous!
Make sure to close your rotary cutter immediately after using. Using a suction handle on rulers can ensure your fingers aren’t near any blades, as well as using cutting gloves.
Replacing your blade often can help make cuts fast and easy rather than a dull blade that requires multiple passes.
Protect Your Eyes
Protecting your eyes is critical when quilting. I don’t know anyone who wears safety goggles while sewing, BUT if you have a habit of sewing over pins, maybe you should be!
Sewing over pins can cause broken needle ends to fly at you (eyes, face, etc.). So be safe.
Maintain Good Posture
Quilting involves sitting for long periods, and maintaining good posture is essential to prevent back and neck pain. Use a comfortable and adjustable chair with back and arm support.
Take regular breaks to stretch and relax your back and shoulders.
Quilting is my favorite creative outlet, however It's important to enjoy it while being mindful of the risks involved.
The Accident That Could Have Been AvoidedLast weekend I was with a friend in my sewing room, we were casually talking while I worked on a project.
While making a cut, the rotary blade jumped up on my acrylic ruler and before I knew it, half of my fingertip was sliced off. I’ll spare you most of the gory details, but I'm really grateful quilty husband works at the hospital and was able to get me right in to see a doctor.
So after a visit to the ER, an orthopedic surgeon and many painful days of recovery, I can say that good safety habits are definitely worth your time and effort!
My fingertip has thankfully begun to heal (did you know they grow back?!), but I'm sad that it even happened in the first place.
I wish I could go back and prevent it from happening in the first place. I certainly won’t be so casual with rotary blades (or anything sharp really) in the future.
Things that contributed to my accident:
- distraction (I was chatting and laughing with a friend),
- pressing too hard on the rotary cutter (it was a little dull and needed to be changed),
- and finally, not using any precautions like a suction ruler holder or cutting gloves.
And I hope you’ll be more aware of some of these easily preventable injuries.