5 accessibility tools for embroidery T.F.D. The Blog. In this post I talk about 5 things I do to make my embroidery a little bit more accessible for me. threadfordays.com

5 Accessibility Tools for Embroidery | T.F.D. The Blog

I have hypermobile joints and it largely affects my smaller joints like hands/fingers- this makes embroidery difficult sometimes. 

Whenever I add too much pressure to the joints in my hand (think writing, screwing a hoop closed, fitting a hoop etc) they hyperextend against my will. You might have even noticed it happen in my tik toks- specifically when I'm tracing a design or setting a hoop (that's when it is usually at it's worst) though I tend to edit those videos fairly well. 

Even with my bendy fingers, I still love embroidery. So, to continue with my art, I have learned to adapt and do things a little bit differently.

In this blog post I want to talk about 5 things I do to make my embroidery a little bit more accessible for me. 

embroidery hoop in a stand with pliers, scissors needle threader and black thread

1. Time

In order to keep pressure off of my joints/hands I try to break up my stitching sessions into much smaller chunks. For me I like to count using thread. 

A lot of my pieces use a single strand so I tend to format my time into 6 strand chunks. I'll cut a piece of floss and separate all of the strands, once I have finished those 6 I know it's a good time for a break. 

While this thread-time method may not work for everyone you can use a system that works best for you; maybe a 20 minute timer, maybe a multi thread, or project square inch approach works best. 

I really like using the thread method because I don't feel like I am leaving my piece at an integral part- I get that closure before a break when I cut off my thread. 

No matter the method, the important thing is to take breaks and stitch at a pace that works for my body.

2. Pliers

hand with hperextended thumb holding embroidery hoop while using their other hand to tighten the hoop with pliers

(you can totally see a bit of the hypermobility in my thumb while holding this hoop LOL)

One of my biggest struggles with embroidery are the screws on the hoops. I struggle so much with tightening and loosening them they really strain my small joints. 

Thankfully this isn't a huge part of the embroidery process, but it is still important when starting a project!

To make this easier for myself I have started using pliers/wrenches to tighten and loosen my hoops. Using my entire hand to do this rather than my fingers has made a HUGE difference. 

This process is a little slower than doing it manually, but it saves my joints a lot of stress. 

I have also seen pliers used for some hypermobile folks when stitching. For some people pulling the needle through the fabric can cause some issues for them so I have seen some people choose to pull through their needles with pliers as well. 

3. Needle Threaders

Another tool that I always have on me are needle threaders! Threading a needle can be the worst, especially when you have several strands being threaded at once.

Instead of struggling and constantly trying to manipulate the thread to get it into the eye, I opt to use a needle threader. 

I have two favorites; the embroidery needle threader - great for larger needles, cross-stitch, and when using several strands, and the sewing threader - great for single strand and smaller needles (but be careful this one breaks SO EASILY). 

BUT; there are SO MANY options for threaders.

Additionally, I have also seen people opt to use thread conditioners or a little bit of bees wax to help thread their needles. There is no right or wrong here, just be sure to do whatever works best for you. 

4. Adjustable Embroidery Stand

loops and threads embroidery stand product photo snipped form the Michaels canada webdsite.

(Embroidery stand image from Michaels Canada website)

By far my most important and sworn by tool that I use is my embroidery stand. 

I don't have a super expensive one (I bought mine from Michaels with a 60% off coupon) it is the adjustable one from loops and threads. What I like about this stand is that it is basically full adjustable- so I can stitch in any chair height. 

It is definitely bulky, so if you wanted to travel with it, it probably would be a little tough, but it is perfect for what I need it to do at home. 

Having the adjustable embroidery stand lets me adjust it so that I can sit comfortably and supportively while I stitch, but it also takes a LOAD of pressure off of my hands. 

Before I started using the stand I found my hands just completely locking up after a few minutes of stitching- it really made it difficult to embroider and enjoy doing it. This has been a total game changer. 

I use a floor stand, but there are so many other stand options; table stands, lap stands, and even clip on stands- all in various shapes and sizes. 

5. Less thread

Using less thread; this tip works for me because it is an aesthetic choice, but I know this wont work for all embroidery styles. I really like the look of single strands of floss or that thread painting kind of feel which is a bit of an advantage for me because it is a lot easier to pull one strand of floss than it is to pull several at once. 

The more thread you pull, the more resistance you get. For me to make it easier (and I genuinely LOVE the look of thread painting) is to limit my threads when embroidering. 

If this is not something you'd like, an alternate tip is to increase your needle size when you increase your thread use. The larger the hole the thread has to move through, the easier it will be. 

Additionally, another tip similar to threading a needle is the use of thread conditioner. I talked a little bit earlier about the use of thread conditioner or bees wax to help thread a needle, but this can also be used on your entire thread to help with stitching. Thread conditioner puts a protective layer around the thread helping it glide a lot easier when embroidering- limiting resistance and tension that may strain joints. 

A really portable and small batch thread conditioner is made by a mutual of mine Snitchez Get Stitchez! 

You can find her on instagram and tiktok- she makes rad embroidery art and these knot balms.

snitcjez get stitches knot balm featured in tubes. the knot balms are placed in a wooden bowl shaped like hands

You can get the tube version and the tin version of the Knot Balm in her shop.

This is DEFINITELY on my to buy list <3 

Let's Wrap it up!

I want to emphasize here that there are LOTS of ways to make embroidery, fiber arts, and crafting more accessible to you. These are just a few things that work for me :)

If you have any tips- comment below! I would love to do a part two!

in the meantime, 

Stay weird and wonderful!


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