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Handicapped Quilter - Needle Nose Pliers

My first experience as a guest on a podcast happened this week with Susan from the podcast, "Measure Twice, Cut Once.” I survived and actually enjoyed it! But while discussing my quilting journey I realized that I'm a handicapped person! I know my hands don't work like most people's hands, but because I really don't let that limit me, I never consider myself handicapped. I just think of myself as a person who has to do things a little bit differently than everyone else.

Susan suggested I write a series of blogs on how I've adapted in order to quilt. I think this was a great idea. I'm going to do this and I hope it helps some of you that struggle with hand issues.

I talk very openly about my hand issues. I have Lupus and in 2000 I experienced permanent motor and sensory nerve damage to my hands and feet. My thumbs give me the most problems nowadays. The nerves in my arms are stronger than the nerves in my hands. My thumbs are pulling back towards my wrists. I can’t wrap my thumbs around a round object. I can't hold a can, glass, bottle, or any other round object. My friends automatically give me a mug with a nice handle no matter what I'm drinking.

One tool that I use every time I'm sewing or quilting is a pair of spring loaded needle nose pliers that I bought at Harbor Freight. I actually work them with the cushy part of my hand near my thumb. I use them to pull my thread through the needle on my longarm or to pull the bobbin thread up through the fabric. When I'm knotting a thread and pulling it through with a needle to bury it, i pull the needle with them. When I have to use the dreaded seam ripper I use them to pull the tiny pieces of thread out of the fabric. They come in handy for anything that I have trouble picking up and because of that I have multiple pliers around my sewing room.

If you have arthritis or any hand issue you might want to give these a try. They are not that expensive and have helped me to adapt and continue to be a successful quilter!

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