Hi, I’m Samantha.
This is the first in a series of posts I’m going to be writing on sewing with chronic illnesses and disabilities, I don’t think these posts are just for folks with health conditions, I hope there’s things in them that will help everyone.
Lets talk about pacing…
Today I want to talk to you about pacing, I think this covers quilting or garment sewing, well, any type of sewing really. Sewing brings me much joy but it’s also very important for me to make sure I do it in a way that doesn’t damage my health.
So I’ve been sewing for several years now and pacing is a method that I find helps me to sew without experiencing any extreme fatigue or pain. I find it’s so easy to get sucked into a project and forget the world around you, I like to call this ‘a sewing vortex’. When I’m in a sewing vortex I ignore the world around me and that includes ignoring my body when it’s asking me for rest.
What is pacing?
For me, pacing is taking small chucks of time depending on what I think my body is capable of or and setting that as a limit. I like to be strict with my limits and I set a timer on my phone or use something like my putting my dinner in the oven. The time I give myself is also dependant on the task, if its a task that involves lots of movement like pressing a large piece of fabric I will reduce the time.
Pacing examples –
Here’s some examples of the time limits or sewing timers I give myself:
- When my body is feeling well I can sit at my sewing machine for 1 hour.
- When my body is tired I can sit at my sewing machine for a maximum of 20 minutes.
- When my body is well I can iron fabric for 15 mins. When my body is tired I won’t iron large pieces of fabric and do a different task instead.
- When my body is well I can cut out fabric for projects for 30 mins.
- When my body is tired I can cut out fabric for projects for 15 mins.
The most important part of these limits is when the timer ends I down my tools and walk away to take a rest, sometimes I do some stretches. After I’ve rested I will evaluate my body and if I’m feeling up to it I’m allowed to go back to my sewing room and do some more with another timer. If I’m not well enough to return to sewing thats ok too, there’s always tomorrow.
The most important thing to remember is it doesn’t matter how long a project takes you to finish, no one is timing you, this isn’t a TV show you can take as long as you need!