crafting with arthritis

Crafting with Arthritis

Needleworkers, papercrafters and woodworkers know the satisfaction of taking their visions to reality in their very hands. Yet crafters also know their temptation to overstay in the creative zone can lead to cramped fingers and aching shoulders. Our experts share crafting tips to keep your creative spark ignited. 


Sharp blades on rotary cutters, scissors or knives cut more accurately with less pressure, reducing grip pain. Use blades only on materials for which they are designed, such as rotary cutters on self-healing mats. Keep blades clean and use new blades for fresh projects. Once you’ve used a blade to cut fabric, demote it to cutting paper and then plastic.  

Minimize Repetitive Motions

For example, when sanding wood or pressing fabric, work with, not against, the weight of the tool. Use heavy irons instead of lighter, inexpensive irons. The weight of a heavier iron does the work for you.   

Put Your Body Weight to Work

Stand to cut and position the cutting surface so your body weight adds momentum to cutting.  

Find the Right Sized Tool

It should nestle in your palm, giving you good grip and control. For example, warm, light bamboo hooks may be more comfortable than cold, aluminum hooks for crocheting or other needlework.   

Check Your Technique

Tool manufacturers’ online instructional videos can help ensure you know the best techniques, and then you can adapt for your comfort. 

Support your Creation as it Grows

Prop up the quilt, sweater or length of wood so that you’re not simultaneously working on it and managing its weight. 

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