Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Last Post for A While

Did anyone happen to read the article by Amy R. Singer in the latest edition (Summer 2008) of Interweave Knits titled Last year, I Hurt Myself Knitting?

If case you didn't see it or read it, it's about carpal tunnel syndrome & how you need to take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks & hobbies like spinning & knitting, just to name a couple.

I found this article very coincidental in that I'm having CPS surgery next week. I've done & do the exercises. I use to go to a Chiropractor that would adjust my hands & tape them in a way to open up the tunnel. It gave me some relief, but not for very long.

Had I known then what I know now, I probably would have done things exactly the same way. I don't learn the first time, or the second time........

I have roughly 14 cane bottom chairs in my house, not including the ones out back in the shed (I think there may be 8 more out there). It was getting so that you couldn't sit down in a chair without part of your bottom poking through the other side. What was I going to do? I didn't want to replace the chairs, they've been in the family forever & I love them, they're part of me.

I called Cliff Pair, the only caner I'd ever heard of, and I think at the time he quoted me $1.00/hole. Some of the chairs have 76 holes to them. Seventy-six times $1 = $76/chair times how many chairs? It was obvious I couldn't afford to have them re caned. What to do????

My only option was to learn how to re cane them myself. My father had re caned a couple of them many many years ago & I really wanted to kick my own butt for not learning how to do this from him while he was alive. My mother was able to find daddy's chair caning instructions for me, but they weren't complete. What now.................

Several months later I was looking over a Samford After Sundown paper and lo & behold a Chair Caning class was being offered. Naturally, I signed up immediately & couldn't wait for the class to get under way.

I came away from the class feeling like I could finish up my chair & get started on another. I proceeded to cane 3 more chairs. Yes indeedy, I was an expert!!!

To date, I only knew how to weave the 7-Step Caning method & wanted to learn how to weave rush, sea grass, & flat reed, etc. I made a call to the man, Cliff Pair, who had quoted me the $1.00/hole price & begged this man to teach me the other styles of caning. Of course I was willing to pay him. Mr. Pair ended up coming to my house & looking at the chair I wanted to redo. He tore out the old seat cause he was going to show me another method & the whole chair fell apart. Over the years, the glue had dried up & the woven seat was the only thing holding it together. Mr. Pair was going to take my chair to his house to re glue it & get it ready for the new cane job.

Mr. Pair looked around & was checking out my dining room chairs. He asked me who caned them & I proudly told him that I had done them & all about the class I had taken at Samford. You could tell Mr. Pair didn't want to burst my bubble, but he informed me that the chairs weren't done "exactly" right. I was bummed in a big way & cursed the woman who taught me the WRONG way to cane a chair(s). You mean to tell me that I have spent all this money & time doing something wrong!!! Not to mention being totally humiliated in front of the "expert". I wanted to sit down & cry & scream & beat my fists into someones face in a BIG way. I kept my composure until after Mr. Pair left.

Mr. Pair told me I should attend his class that he taught at the Folk School. What Folk School, I said? He proceeded to tell me that there was this folk school in NC where he taught chair caning classes several times a year & that there was one coming up in a couple of weeks. The more Mr. Pair told me about the school & the classes, the more worked up I became. I called Paul at work & told him about it. Paul told me that if I wanted to go, we would find a way!!! Paul is sooooo good in this regard & I love him for it.

In March 2002, determined to learn the art of chair caning, the RIGHT way, I drove myself to Brasstown, NC with a carpal tunnel brace on my right hand. The few chairs I had re caned had done a number on my hand. But, I was on top of the world, I was going to attend a five day class on chair caning at the John C. Campbell Folk School taught by one of my favorite people in the whole world, Cliff Pair. I believe Cliff was 80 years old at the time he taught this class.

My hands hurt so bad after a full day of caning that I slept in the hand brace at night so I could make it through the next day's class. This went on for five days, but I was determined to learn this dying art.

To make a long story short, I had CTS surgery on both my hands 3 years ago & it can come back!!! My right hand is having it's 2nd CTS surgery next week. The hand had nerve conduction tests and an MRI 2 weeks ago & it seems that there's also a cyst growing between the ligament & the nerve that needs to be removed. Healing time = 12 weeks. I'm freakin'...........

What, NO knitting, NO spinning for 12 weeks!!!!
This also means that I won't be posting for a while either.

But, I will think, dream & read about knitting.....

Cliff Pair "Happy Pappy"


grace said...

I'm not sure how soon you could do it, but there's always dyeing roving and yarn so you could at least touch it.

I suppose, though, that if you can't use your hand for that long, this mean's the hubby should be feeding you grapes or something like that, right? ;-)

madison said...

Awww Nana Im sorry.
why did you do that?
see u Monday!!!!
love Madison

Emily said...

Oh no! I am having an anxiety attack on your behalf! Part of me can't stop thinking about how cool it is that you know how to cane chairs - but it's awful that you had to sacrifice your hands to do it.

Bubblesknits said...

Ugh...I'd have to double my dose of anti-anxiety medicine if I couldn't knit or spin. LOL Or drink. A lot. ;-)

SNOWBIRD said...

Resting hands/wrists is the best thing to calm down CTS. I also wear a compression-type glove on right hand at times or brace at night when I sleep. But the best thing is to just stop knitting and let the hands/wrists rest. With my job at a computer most of the time, it aggrevates my hands too. So I've looked at the ergonomics of the way I sit at work and positioning of arms and hands while at the computer. This helps too! At the end of the year, my knitting is almost negligible because the computer work is full tilt and my hands/wrists just hurt. So I've found somewhat of a balance. When I don't knit, I read. I wish you the best with the surgery! Let hands/wrists rest and start back slowly with the knitting and other fun projects. It's better to do a little than none I say!

Crazy For Yarn In Alabama said...

I can always come over and you can dictate your posts to me!! I hate you have to be out of commission but we will say a prayer that 12 weeks won't be required!!

Cindy said...

12 freakin weeks? OMG! Why don't you just buy yarn and rovin for the day you can get back to it! It shouldn't take much of an effort to hand over a charge card.

gaylen said...

Hope your surgery goes well. I've just seen beautiful pictures of your place so some relaxing may be just the ticket. Would love to see photos of the chairs. g

elizabeth said...

I'm so sorry! I love Madison's comment, too. You should still post stories, I bet you have a lot of them and I for one would like to hear/read them!

Suzanne B said...

No Knitting or spinning for 12 weeks??

I like Cindy's plan. It isn't too hard on the wrists to hand over the credit card to prepare for your return.