About Me

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I am a neo-Victorian Steampunk Goth. I am a professional seamstress working in Las Vegas at "Le Reve," and an avid knitter. My friend and I have recently launched a podcast about Las Vegas, Knitting, and our educational experiences with both. My Ravelry username is RedQueen. Come friend me!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I want to talk a little bit about acupuncture. (don't worry, I'll get back to the art debate in a few days -- it's really hard to decide among all the "bad" art!)

A lot of people I know are scared of acupuncture. They cite the "I'm afraid of needles" excuse, which for most people would be valid. But I'm a seamstress. I work in a costume shop, with other stitcher/crafters. So I decided to try and assuage their fear.

First, let me tell you about my job: I mostly sew on sewing machines, both industrial and domestic. A domestic machine is the one your mom has. An industrial is steel, attached to a table, and FAST. You can easily sew through your finger -- we've all done it, and yes, it hurts like a mother. The phrase "it missed the bone" is a really good phrase. I do a lot of hand-sewing, as well as cutting materials with a rotary blade or scissors. I've got crappy scissors for paper and stuff, and really sharp scissors for fabric. I've cut myself with both, and one of my girlfriends cut OFF the tip of her finger with a rotary.

I also knit. A LOT. And I type. A LOT. And I'm very right-handed: I can't even use a fork left-handed. So my right shoulder is chronically injured. As well as both my wrists and thumb joints. I decided that massage wasn't cutting it, and I decided to see an acupuncturist (which, BTW, is usually covered by your insurance!). She worked on my shoulder and wrists (among other things) and within two sessions, I felt fantastic. The other cool thing about acupuncture: with a "normal" doctor, they'll work on one ailment at a time. With acupuncture, you tell them EVERYTHING that's wrong with you, and they keep adding needles, working on all issues at the same time. In the past month, I've been able to quit smoking, my wrists and shoulder are much better, and my allergies have improved ten-fold.

OK, now for all of you who are scared of needles. A visual comparison:

The needle on the top is one I stole from the acupuncture office. The needle on the bottom is my "favorite" needle that I use to sew by hand at work. On average, my "favorite" needle stabs me about 5-10 times per day.

Here are a couple more photos for comparison:

As you can see in this close-up, my "favorite" needle is a LEAST 3x thicker in diameter than the acu needle. And this isn't a "thick" sewing needle by any means. I tend to like my hand-sewing needles thinner than most of my co-workers.

When the Doc inserts the needles, I can barely feel it. In fact, the only time I can feel it, it's a slight pinching or burning sensation, and that means that she's found a damaged muscle or energy pathway. Don't laugh it off: several years ago, German doctors did extensive studies that involved mapping a human body while the subjects were being... um... stimulated with electricity. Using the same equipment that shows you which parts of the brain "light up" when stimulated, they were able to map the "trigger points" on the body, along with the corresponding "pathways" that they affected. Guess what? They're the exact same points that Ancient Chinese dudes came up with 3000+ years ago for acupuncture. And even if you're not into Eastern Medicine, I don't really see how you can argue with German medical testing. (We don't really want to know how they test things, do we?)

So consider acupuncture. Especially if you're a knitter or crocheter with wrist/elbow/shoulder pain. Your insurance will probably pay for it, and you never know: it might be the answer.


  1. Omigosh, I nearly sliced off the top of one of my fingers with a rotary cutter a week or so ago! It hurt A LOT but people kept saying, "At least you didn't sew through your finger!" I totally thought they were kidding. Now I'm afraid to go near my sewing machine...thanks a lot! ;-)

  2. Yeah, at least the rotaries are sharp -- my friend cut OFF the top of her finger (1/2 way down the nail) and barely felt it. She's also got tiny little hands, so.... And she's one of the ones who sewed through her finger. Time to pay attention!!!

  3. Sewing isn't the only danger, they can hurt even when they're off. Since on the industrial machines you raise the presser foot with a knee pedal, I regularly lift the foot while my finger is between it and the needle and basically impale myself. And to top it off, that's usually when I jump and jerk my hand because it hurts, and that just makes it worse.

    It's no worse than jabbing yourself with a felting needle though...

  4. Did you feel results right away with acupuncture, or did it take those two sessions to really notice a difference?

    I've been casting about for something to do about tailbone pain that came out of nowhere and this might be the thing.

  5. I have been going to an acupuncturist for three months now. I got rid of the hot flashes, sleep at night, and one session got rid of sciatica in 10 minutes. There is something to be said for that! I have military insurance, so I am paying out of pocket. It is worth every penny. The only time a needle hurt was on the sciatica. Since it was cured when I got up, it was worth it. I rarely feel the rest.

  6. It was 1/2 and 1/2 -- the shoulder pain improved right away. Every time I went in, the shoulder would be better for a couple of days (and then I'd knit too much again...). Everything else started improving after the 3rd session, but it seems to have stayed improved. yay! Try it -- it's very relaxing if nothing else. Think of it this way: that's fifteen minutes that you HAVE to relax, as there are pointy things stuck in your rear.