I hope that you have succeeded in staying inspired and busy during these past couple of months of enforced “stay-at-home”. I know that my yarn stash has diminished noticeably! And since these times have been all about staying healthy, I want to talk about how we can ensure that our bodies stay pain-free and healthy as we enjoy this extra time to spend on our fiber crafts. Specifically, I want to talk about proper sitting posture for spinning.
First, a disclaimer – I am not a handspinner (nor do I ever expect to be). However, I do love using handspun yarn for my weaving and knitting projects. (The beautiful handspun yarn pictured in this article is courtesy of Cynthia Hirsch and was spun from hand-dyed fiber by Lambspun of Colorado.)
As noted by Mary Egbert in her December 11, 2019 article in SpinOff Magazine (https://spinoffmagazine.com/at-your-ease-spinning-chairs-posture-and-finding-the-right-fit/), “ Poor sitting posture can cause a myriad of problems, from back, shoulder, neck, or leg pain to headaches or even fatigue and restlessness. Poor posture puts pressure on joints, ligaments, and spinal discs that can cause injury over time” [including the dreaded “widow’s hump”].
Mary and others (you will find several helpful videos on YouTube, including this short video from Ashford (https://youtu.be/zofKAI6J3kQ), emphasize the importance of finding the proper chair for your work at the wheel. As Mary discusses in her article, using the right chair for your body can make all the difference between a pleasant and pain-free spinning experience, and future overuse injuries, exacerbation of pre-existing issues (such as sciatica, back pain caused by herniated discs, shin splints, leg pain, or other ankle and foot issues), or even headaches. In fact, she suggests, if you are experiencing any of these problems while spinning, you should look first at your chair before blaming the problems on your wheel. Check into Mary’s article for suggestions on choosing the right seat for your seat!
After choosing the ideal chair, look at your sitting posture. How close are you sitting to the wheel? How close are your hands to the orifice? What is the position of your body (pelvis, shoulders, small of your back) while you are sitting? Again, Mary Egbert’s article gives helpful advice on postural changes that can change your spinning experience for the better:
- emphasizing the position of your foot(feet) on the treadle (whole foot on the treadle and a heel-to-toe movement).
- suggesting that you hold your arms at a ninety-degree angle closer to your sides (and thus farther from the orifice).
- and sitting with your pelvis in a neutral C position — not too far forward (lower back hyperextended) and not too far back (slumped position). She suggests that to maintain this pelvic position, you place a small pillow or lumbar support pillow at the small of your back to support your pelvis.
Finally, as an added bonus to this attention to your sitting posture, you will find that much of this advice is useful when you move away from your wheel and engage in other sitting activities such as sitting at a computer, on a weaving bench, or on a chair or couch while you knit or crochet.