About a week after I wrote my last blog, I felt a sharp stinging in the palm of my hand when I reached for my coffee cup in the morning. As the day when on, it became apparent that I had an issue developing in my right hand, probably carpal tunnel. As I am not a doctor, I arranged to see my family doctor, who confirmed my suspicions. Another appointment was made to see another doctor who did nerve and stimulation tests. Yes, definitely have carpal tunnel syndrome. Yet another doctor appointment (the hand doctor in chief)coming up but not until May 11, where hopefully it can be resolved simply by steroid shots and bracing. The best brace is at night when your hand is put into a fixed flexed position; apparently, most cases of carpal tunnel are made worse by how we sleep.
This injury has restricted my quilting quite a bit. I had high hopes of finishing the quilt as you go t-shirt quilt I was doing, and I am still working on it 😢
I wrote the above about 3 weeks ago, and I swear I am about off my head with frustration at the moment.
I finished the t-shirt quilt I was doing apart from the binding and started the Linus quilt despite my bad hand. It had actually improved on its own just by splinting my wrist for sleeping at night. Now I just have some numbness in my palm, which the specialist said might actually be a cervical nerve injury rather than the median and Ulnar nerve damage, which causes carpal tunnel (I have both). That would require an additional specialist!
At first, the Linus quilt was going well. I actually made a mock-up quilt top to make sure it would work. They have precise measurements for these quilts. Mine wasn’t quite big enough. So I had to scrimp around with my scraps to make another row and column, but I managed it. Then I had to combine all the blocks and found some black fabric that was OK, although it was a shade lighter than the Robert Kaufman strips I had used to make the blocks. It was pretty flimsy and floppy. It was the black fabric that I had used for the Quirkie Creatures quilt I had made in 2020. That quilt had been painted, so the material didn’t need to be so robust as quilting fabric. That was a big mistake!
It might have been that if I had thought of using heavy starch, my problems might not have been so bad. However, I was running out of time to complete the darn thing and not thinking straight, so I never even applied a light coating of starch on it🤦♀️. Then because time was short, I decided not to pin the quilt cover when I made the quilt sandwich. Instead, I used a spray basting product called 505. I have used it on smaller projects before, but other people use it for their quilt projects. I did add a few pins just to give it more stability before I started to quilt.
At first, everything was fine. The batik blocks with the black strips were a little baggier than I would like due to using the spray baste, but I was only going to do minimal quilting as it was already a busy pattern. The problems became evident when I went to quilt the joining strips along the horizontal directions. As soon as I started sewing, I could see I was going to have issues with puckering. I was going to quilt straight lines close together. It didn’t work as the puckering was too much, making the lines go all over the place🤬. I decided to unpick all the stitching I had done and make curving lines that twisted into each other. That took a long time, and I had, by that time, not finished in time for our quilt meeting when the quilts were to be handed in. The puckering continued as I did the joining strips, but I was OK with it. It would work with the theme of the stain glass design. It would look like a battered wood frame that supported the structure. The back of the quilt was OK. Because of the issue with puckering on the front and not being able to keep a straight line, it’s not really to the standard I like.
Yesterday, I finally finished with the main quilting and started quilting the borders. It was horrendous! so much so that I decided to stop as it was distressing me so much. Since then, I have spray starched one border very heavily. I am waiting for it to dry before starting again. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will help.
I will admit I am taking a break from quilting for a month after this. This is because I need to do some drawing and painting, plus yet again my room needs a big clear up as it always does when I have finished a project. In other words, I need a breather!