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Jan '13

Comfort Zone

In a never ending quest to make all aspects of the rug hooking experience as comfortable as possible, I tried a new approach to an old chore over the weekend and quite liked the end result.

It is no secret that pattern making causes me problems.  My back just can’t handle all the bending over one has to do to make a lot of patterns.  There for a while, I thought I had the chore farmed out but, unfortunately, my worker bee could not continue after the fall class schedule started.

It is not just the drawing of the pattern that causes me problems.

Even the measuring and prepping of the backing, before the drawing starts, is a challenge.  Lately, I have been doing all that prep work on the big oak work table in the studio because it has a much bigger top than my very large light box.  Still, when getting 15-20 patterns ready at a pop, that is too much bending over.

Finally, following a suggestion that a reader made a long time ago, I decided to see if I could not find a way to raise my work table to a better height.  I knew, of course, that it was a good suggestion when I heard it … I just could not figure out an easy, economical way that it could be achieved without altering the look and functionality of the table.  After all, I wanted a high table for pattern making and a low (regular) one when hooking groups came over.  Suddenly the solution came to me and, although it sounds little boastful, I’ll go on record as stating that this is one of my classiest makeovers.

As it works out, my big dye pots can do double duty and raise that table up an extra 10 inches off the ground.  You can’t believe how much difference that made to my comfort level!  These aluminum extensions are an inexpensive fix that take about 5 seconds to install per side when I want them.  At the same time, they do not damage or change the functionality of my big table.

Going 2 steps further to make additional improvements to my comfort zone, I brought over some of the rubber floors mats to cushion the spot where I stand most of the time and covered the top with plastic when I was actually drawing on the backing.  (The ink goes through the backing and marks the table if not stopped by the plastic.)  With this set up, I can work away for hours and not have back fatigue.

Besides prepping the backing to size, I can also get the outside edges drawn as well.  In fact, on some patterns, I can get many of the interior elements drawn without the light box at all.  I will still have to go up stairs to work on the light box for part of the process but time there will be greatly limited because of this new set up.

Yes, I am thinking of ways to raise the light table as well.  However, given the construction of the table and size of the leg, that won’t be as simple as putting a dye pot under each leg.  Since the legs are made in such a way as to come off (like many dinning tables) I might just have 4 replacement legs made that are much taller.  This would allow me a regular and a high option if  I wanted to simply swap the legs.  That is probably what I will end up doing … unless I see four things upstairs that are exactly the same height and sturdy enough to support a table.  It is located, after all, in the room of requirement.


This post is only part of what Gene posted today on the Internet Rug Camp.  5 days a week he places an extensive blog on his subscription site.  If you would like the long blog, free patterns and video instruction, subscribe today at www.internetrugcamp.com/

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