Monday, January 7, 2008

A Cry for Help?

Sorry about the dark and weirdly blotchy quality of the photo--you all know by now that I truly suck at photography. Kind of looks like I tried to slash my wrist, though, doesn't it? Maybe when I was trying to decide which quilts I wanted to make this year and realized just how hopeless the idea that I could make all the quilts I really, really, really like is?! Nah! Just an overly enthusiastic but inaccurate grab for a hot iron the other day. It got me thinking, though, what a dangerous "sport" quilting is.

Burns. Aching muscles. Upper and lower back pain. Cuts from rotary cutter mishaps. Failing eyesight from peering at tiny applique stitches. Arthritis in the joints of the hands. Serious stuff.

I always say that exercising is dangerous. It seems that most of the people I know who get injured, do it while engaging in some form of strenuous physical exercise. That's why I don't exercise--it's just too darn dangerous.

But think about how dangerous quilting is! The last time I visited the emergency room was a few years ago when my rotary cutter flipped out of my hand and up into the air, coming back down on my finger. Yep, that hurt! And spending a Sunday night in the emergency room getting stitches was no picnic either. But you know what? The doctor didn't seem at all surprised when I explained how the accident happened, which leads me to believe it was no freak occurrence. There are probably hundreds of quilters out there getting injured every day.

I remember exchanging stories with a group of women about quilting accidents awhile back. One woman told us about the time she was in a class with another quilter whose boyfriend came in. He asked about the rotary cutters and was skeptical that they could be so sharp. In a "here, let me prove my point" testosterone-enhanced display, he ran the blade down the pant leg of his denim jeans, slicing open his leg. (Probably one reason more men don't quilt--our tools are just too dangerous!)

Despite the physical dangers involved, though, the thing that really scares me most about quilting is its addictive properties. I used to have a life. My lifestyle involved varied activities. My husband and I occasionally went out to dinner or a movie. We saw friends. We spent time with our kids. Now I quilt. Well, I go to work, and then I quilt. Most of the time, I can manage to refrain from quilting on the job, but some days, I just need that little bit of quilting on my lunch hour to get me through the work day. Hello. My name is Kim. And I'm a quilt addict.

No, I don't think so. I don't think I need a 12-step program or an intervention. I think maybe it's possible to taper off a little bit at a time without going cold turkey. I think I just need a little self-control. Maybe an occasional evening away from the sewing machine, going to a movie or reading a book.

Or maybe quilting's really not that bad after all. Most of the physical stuff can be cured--or at least improved--with a little ibuprofen. And what could be so bad about doing something you really love to do, even if you do it ALL THE TIME?! After all, I DO manage to get out at least a couple times a month for a little social interaction with other quilters. It's not like I'm a closet quilter or anything!

Do me a favor, though, okay? If you ever catch me stealing stash from other quilters to support my habit, please arrange an intervention. If I start lying about all the quilting I do, encourage me to attend a 12-step program. And if I start acting crazy, shave my head bald, and neglect my family so I can keep on quilting, call Dr. Phil.


Marcie said...

Ouch! Nasty burn! You need to wrap it in new fabric. It won't heal any faster, but it will make you smile! The story about the macho man and the rotary cutter is too funny! (Pardon my sadistic streak).
Have you ever seen "Pimp My Ride" on MTV? I bet they could rig up a sewing machine in your car so it pops out of the trunk and you can stop and sew where ever you are! Therapy on the go!

May Britt said...

Hello. My name is May Britt. I'm a quilt addict too LOL
I think we have to start an old peoples home where all we quilters can go to when we are getting old and toothless. Or perhaps an island just for quilters.

Darlene said...

Ouchie!!!! I have two scars on my right arm (two different burns from my iron) - when I burned myself the second time my DH said "have you thought about moving the iron?" DUH! LOL

I think we should all be on Dr Phil to watch him squirm trying to help us. LOL

Hello, my name is Darlene and I'm a quilt addict. :-)

Helen said...

I did the same thing some weeks ago!! It looked very nasty for some time. My burn was a little deeper, I'm afraid. It took some time before I felt the iron :). Quilting is dangerous. I won't start about the sewing needles!
I'm becoming pretty addicted also. Having to go work is sometimes a little disappointing, would prefer to stay home and work some more on my quilts.

Patti said...

I have a buen just like that on my arm - well, it's a scar now. From my iron. And several burn spots on the top of my right hand. That's from reaching in to adjust what I am stitching, arching my hand too high and touching it to the light bulb on my featherweight. That sucker is HOT!

In Salem Oregon there is a chiropractor who's business is called "Ergo Sew". Her major speciality is treating injuries caused by sewing and teaching preventative techniques to seamstresses and quilt guilds!

I have a solution - retire! I planned on quilting away my retirement so what did I do on my first day? Just about everything but quilting - you can read about it on my blog if you are interested.

Carole said...

Hi my name is Carole and I'm addicted to quilting!

I'm with Darlene, call Dr. Phil only if we want to watch him squirm! LOL

I've had one of those but not the rotary cutter! I've had a sewing machine needle go through my finger a couple of times! Ough That's what you get for not moving your finger out of the way fast enough while machine quilting!

You know, in the world of adictions, quilting is probably the best one you can have. It is a productive addiction! Heck, what do you gain from going crazy and shaving your head? Oh wait, people stay away from you and don't bother your quitling time! LOL

You crack me up!

Kristie said...

I'm sure that hurt! I hate burns! But I do agree quilting can be very dangerous. I broke my hand using a rotary cutter a few years ago. Doctor said it was just a freak accident! So now everyone teases me about it.

Tamara said...

Hi my name is Tamara I'm a quilt addict who's other addiction is 5" charm packs.

Dr. Phil has nothing on us, we would truly baffel him.

Iron burns are the worse if I did not have to use it I wouldn't. Oh and chocolate cures all.

mamaspark said...

You crack me up!
Hi I'm Pam and I too am a quilt addict. I could especially relate to having a life prior to quilting. Then I thought my boss's wife to quilt and so have someone at work to talk to and discuss quilty stuff with as she works in the same lab as me! And as if that isn't bad enough, my LAQ works at the same place but in a different building and comes over to our lab to see the 2 of us almost every day too, hahahaha...I guess we could have worse addictions!

Vicky said...

I'm chuckling at May Britt's comment. We always talk about finishing a quilt at The Home, but I hear the stash closets are not very big there!

That burn looks like it hurt! Owie! Take care of yourself, will you? (Hugs)

Red Geranium Cottage said...

I'm calling Dr. Phil now!! I'm not waiting. You need intervention now. Seriously. That is one nasty burn you have there. Aloe, use aloe. It works wonders on burn.

Lynn Douglass said...

I'm sorry about your burn, but it makes me feel so much better! I have one that looks very similar! I was also wondering, just the other day, what exactly I did before I became addicted to quilting? I know I had a life back then, but danged if I remember much about it! CRS, don'tcha know!