A few months ago we looked into how cross stitch could be bad for your health and featured a few ways to help you keep healthy while stitching. This went down well, however, there was one area people wanted to know more about; their back.
When sitting and stitching there tends to be two positions people naturally fall into; the ‘lean over your work’, and the ‘slouch’. Neither of which are great for your back. Now, we could just say “watch your posture”, but being frank, that’s annoying and unuseful advice. So we’ve put together the ways you can improve your cross stitch, whilst also helping you avoid back problems!
We start off with chairs, or more specifically the single chair you probably stitch on. For most, you either have something like the above chair (with or without cross stitching) or you sit on the couch. Depending on which of these you use, you can vary in issues and solutions.
Desk chairs or dining chairs are naturally hard backed. This allows you to sit upright, where your back is helped to be straight, but many of us lean forward to counteract it. This has its own problems, which is why we suggest getting back support. This somewhat uncomfortable item (at the start at least) forces your back into the correct curve. Most chairs aren’t rated for long periods of sitting (in fact, most are only rated for 2 hours or less), but back support will increase the time you can sit without having issues.
For you couch sitters, be wary. A couch is comfortable as it allows you to slump, this isn’t a position your body wants to sit in, and if you add leaning over cross stitch into the mix, it only gets worse. You should consider moving to a more upright chair, such as a desk chair or dining chair, however, if you don’t want to, it might be worth investing in a lumbar pillow. These pillows sit behind you and offer your back support to stop you from slumping, easing the pressure on the spinal cord. Some people choose to just put a pillow behind them, but spending £20 on a proper lumbar pillow will save you a lot of pain here; literally.
Next we talk about a tool you use all the time; frames (or hoops). We’ve spoken about the best cross stitch frames before, however personal preference is only one thing to talk about. Depending on what type, and size, of frame you use, you can drastically change the curve of your back. The larger the frame the more this is a problem (Sorry to all of those people tackling epic cross stitch projects).
Think about using an appropriate sized frame for your sitting position. This may mean using a smaller frame, or hoop, or it could mean purchasing a standing frame or sitting frame to keep you working with the right form.
I talk about light a lot. In fact, we’ve even spoken about using light to keep your eyesight while cross stitching, so I’ll keep this short.
Light up your area and cross stitch, so you don’t have to strain your neck to get close. You might even want to consider investing in a cross stitch magnifier if you need things a little bigger.
Double Needles Can Be Helpful
Something not that many people think about, but the needle you use can help.
Specifically, double needles. These needles require you to use a standing or chair frame for your work as you’ll be using both hands to stitch with, but the form you need to take to use the needle is actually a perfect back position.
Some people don’t like double needles, and we do suggest finding the best cross stitch needles for you, but a double-ended needle can also help you cross stitch faster.
Take A Break and Stretch
Finally, let’s talk about taking a break. It doesn’t have to be a long break either! Go make a brew every half an hour, or sort the washing. So long as you regularly change positions and give your back a quick rest, you’ll find you have fewer problems. It might even help to stretch out your back and arms every so often just to keep the blood flowing!
We hope one or more of these helps you keep stitching for a long time yet, and hopefully stops you from having back issues!