As a milliner, how often do you think of the importance of your hands and wrists? Of course, we all know that we need strong hands to block, but during your typical daily activities how often do you think, "I better not do that, I could hurt my hands or wrists?" If you are anything like me, you cut, chop, pull, push, and generally use and abuse your hands, wrists, arms, and yes, even your ribs. all day, every day. That is until that fateful day.
Who knew a regular daily activity like a simple bike ride would have such an impact on my hat making? With five custom orders waiting, I met my bike riding partner a month ago to enjoy our regular bike ride. About 10 miles later, my hat making came to a screeching halt, when a field tractor failed to stop at a crossing, my front bike tire locked up, and I landed on both hands with fists gripped around the handle bars. The good news was that I have really strong arms which helped keep me from landing on my face. The bad news was that both wrists were in splints and I had a torn muscle over my bruised ribs. Let me tell you, wrecking a bike at 52 is nothing like wrecking a bike at 25.
Staring at my splints I wondered how on earth I was going to complete my custom orders. I couldn't even type, let alone stitch and block. Breathing was a whole other challenge Fortunately, my clients were VERY understanding, and willing to wait. A month later my ribs are healed but, my wrists are still sore and weak. Obviously, I couldn't wait for my wrists to heal completely. I actually have found that used correctly, wrist splints can allow you to block felt and straw, even when you can't pick up a jug of milk. Also, crocheting is great for rehabilitating your wrists. The rhythmic wrist action helps to pop the small bones in your hands and wrists back into place. It also provides you with a number of crocheted cloches to sell.
I am just now able to block more than one felt or straw in a day, and feel fortunate that I didn't have any more custom orders waiting, when I had my accident. I will, of course, go back to riding my bike as soon as I replace my poor bent bike, but it does make me pause and consider how often milliners consider how important it is to protect their hands, wrists, arms, and ribs are to their trade.
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