10 Ways to Enjoy Needle Felting if You Suffer from ArthritisEver hear the adage, “waiting on pins and needles”? It conjures up feelings of anticipation – that tingling sensation right before a life changing event.

Then it happens. Only it’s not jitters in the pit of your stomach. Instead, it’s unusual stiffness in your hands and wrists. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis that can wear away the cartilage in our joints. Over time, decreased mobility makes repetitive tasks, like needle felting, less enjoyable.

Which begs the question, “do we have to give up our beloved hobby?” Don’t believe that yarn.

According to Carson Demers, author of the book, Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting, crafters who embrace stretches, exercise, and self-care techniques often mitigate discomfort from the get-go. Beyond the needle, our muscles, tendons and ligaments, and joints are the only “real” fabric holding our projects together.

So, let’s move the needle… on progress, that is! If you want to knuckle down on stiff joints, the following remedies may do the trick.

Hint: your craft-happy, capable fingers will be tickled pink.

  1. Warm up your hands first.
    Try soaking your hands and wrists in warm water.
  2. Take more frequent breaks.
    Work in shorter sessions to loosen up your posture.
  3. Modify your equipment.
    Try my DIY needle holder, it is much easier on your hands than other holders.
  4. Heal from the inside-out.
    Ask your doctor about taking anti-inflammatory supplements.
  5. Wear a protective brace overnight.
    A hand brace, or splint, can provide therapeutic relief while you sleep.
  6. Try cold therapy, post-project.
    Apply ice for 10 minutes to alleviate swollen joints.
  7. Get a massage.
    A massage therapist can improve your range of motion within minutes.
  8. Stop stressing.
    Stress releases chemicals in your body that cause inflammation.
  9. Try meditation.
    If you can’t stop stressing, try mindful awareness which relaxes the muscles.
  10. Don’t be sheepish about your pressure points.
    Needle on with acupuncture, which restores energy and balance.

If you’re struggling to get the results you’re hoping for and seek both a better mindset and advanced techniques for your needle felting practice, you’re not alone. I want every creative out there to feel satisfied and fulfilled by their handy work.

I invite you to become a member of the Felting Academy today. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis a few years ago and have found ways to continue felting, I would love to get to know you in the Academy so we can share our ideas. With how-to tutorials, videos, and community support you’ll hone your craft and exceed limitations.

Hands down, that’s a great feeling! Isn’t it?