For most of us, crafting is a fun and productive way to pass our idle time. And some of us have a whole lot of idle time to pass! For those who are ill, injured, or experiencing a difficult pregnancy, it is common for doctors to order bed rest. DSC reader Kortni is one of those crafters confined to a chair with a lot of free time on her hands. On our Facbook page, she writes:
I’m waiting for a liver transplant and I’m pretty much stuck sitting in a chair all day. What are some specific craft ideas that I could do (besides knitting/crochet)?
Do you have any great craft ideas that would be appropriate for someone who isn’t supposed to get up? Please share them in the comments!
[photo courtesy fixer @ morguefile.com]
I find embroidery to be a great craft that doesn’t require a lot of movement. I buy pillowcases from thrift stores and then just doodle on them with thread. Sometimes I use a pattern — but mainly I doodle. It’s meditative and therapeutic (for me at least).
leigh the sewing diva
sorry to hear of your illness. I suffer with fibromyalgia/ME so a lot of enforced rest for me too!
* I’ve tried embroidery but with a pre printed fabric (a christmas stocking) where you just had to follow the lines or stitch over the crosses to highlight areas. having never tried it before didnt find it too hard. there is a pic on my facebook http://www.facebook.com/leighdesigns1 i believe.
* cross stitch? something i used to do but ot done for a while. most large newsagents will have a magazine with some sort of free kit on the front to try.
* paper pieced patchwork. I’ve been making hexagon flowers lately and plan on attaching them to a cushion cover but have also made a cushion front just from them too. there’s a tutorial on my blog i think but if not google it they are really really simple!! i buy the paper hexagons from ebay think i paid a couple of ppounds for 100? but you can make your own too (made my own for the cushion front by drawing around a chocolate box!)
Hope those suggestions help, I’ll be watching the other suggestions with interest myself!
Jewelry making can be done sitting down if you have a little table or tall tv tray to put your supplies on it. I find it to be relaxing and makes the time really pass when you get into it.
Thank you all so much for any and all ideas! And thank you DSC for posting this, it means a lot! I really appreciate the ideas and can’t wait to start crafting away! Great suggestions, keep them coming =D
Jessica @ TWo Shades of Pink
I was just working on some rag wreaths for the 4th of July and found it really easy to take the whole project outside while my girls played and sit in one spot…or I did it on my bed in the evening. I just cut strips of fabric and tied it to a wire wreath form. It is easy, fun to do, and a great way to make gifts for other people too.
Yo-yo dolls are really easy to make and only require a bit of handwork. Simplicity makes patterns for all sorts of cute things, a lion, clown, doll, etc. But, I don’t use a pattern, I just make up my own.
Paper quilling!!! Such beautiful things to make with just strips of paper and glue. Google some images…I think it’s amazing!
I had major back problems while pregnant with my 2nd son, so I worked on cross stitch while laying on the couch every day. It worked out well.
I agree with the embroidery/cross stitching. For some variety, maybe working with clay? You would be amazed at the pretty things (like flowers, beads, etc) you can make with it. Painting might be something fun to try to. I find it relaxing, but maybe if you feel you have no painting skills, you could even just do a paint by number. They can be pretty too :) If you had little girls in your life or wanted to try and sell something, you can make hair bows while sitting down too. I have never felted, but that might be another option as well.
Kortni, I was on bed rest for a long time with my second pregnancy. If actual embroidery is intimidating, try counted cross stitch. There are kits or just get some of cross stitch fabric and make up your own! I made a bib for my grandson with his name on it. Making cards on a computer program is a fun thing to do. If you are more hands on, then get some construction paper, glue, ribbon, etc. and start making some handmade cards for birthdays, holidays, etc. Scrapbooking is a fun thing to do.
When I was on bed rest while pregnant, I learned to tat. It’s not as difficult to learn as it looks; I learned from a 1970s book. I made Christmas snowflakes, mostly; and a little lace to edge things with.
It’s also nice because it travels surpisingly well and doesn’t take up much space – a spool of thread and a small shuttle is it, it can fit in a change pocket!
I also wrote a cookbook on my computer. Now I think I’d blog it.
card making can also be an option for bed rest although it’s not very portable.
Although people have recommended embroidery or counted cross stitch, let me say a word for needlepoint, especially Bargello. I found that all the fussing of embroidery and cross stitch, make them more difficult to do when on enforced rest.
You need for cross stitch a chart and have to refer to it often. You also have to split the threads and keep the remaining strands somewhere accessible.
Both cross stitch & embroidery require the fabric to be under tension, so that means a hoop and fiddling. You can’t keep the fabric in the hoop when not stitching because it gets marks that won’t come out.
With needlepoint, you can use a wide variety of threads that are single strand, so you won’t loose threads. If you put your work on stretcher bars, the tension stays from the beginning and you don’t have to remove them because the edges are outside the visible area.
And if you stitch on canvases that have the design on them, everything you need is on the canvas, so no books or charts needed. If you stitch Bargello, make the first line according to the chart and that line becomes your pattern for everything else.
While there are tons of fantastic stitches (and several great stitch books available for iPad and iPhone), great needlepoint can be done with only one stitch. Bargello is even easier with a single stitch that can be learned in five minutes.
I’ve tried every type of embroidery but keep coming back to needlepoint because it’s so creative and so easy.
So sorry to hear about your illness. I love to make handmade felt crafts, especially felt food. There are a lot of free patterns out there that are super cute! I actually put together a list on Squidoo so I would have all of the links in one place, http://www.squidoo.com/playfood.
It is a very simple craft and really cheap, as the felt squares and embroidery thread are about 20 cents a piece. Hope this helps!
Cross-stitch: requires some focus, if you are following a pattern.
Needle felting: felt wool roving inside cute cookie cutters to do small items. Nearly mindless, but fun.
Knitting, crocheting and spinning all are done sitting down. You can make gifts for Christmas with both.
Hand applique — make a quilt or, if that’s too daunting, make a pillow! Start with circles — they are by far the easiest, if you ask me! :-) I have a tutorial for EASY circle applique on my bloggy if you want to have a look:
Best wishes to you!
another vote for quilling here! You’ll need a tray or table, but it’s pretty self-contained, and the supplies are quite cheap, and the results are lovely!
I recommend clay as well.
With spare time I’ve sat in front of the tv for a few hours, made two trayfuls of tiny clay roses (to be made into post earrings). Depending on the polymer baking clay you get though it may be a little hard to work the clay at first, so that may be something you have someone else help you with if working with your hands get tiring.
It’s great to do because now I have a HUGE stock of small clay roses so I can produce a pair of earrings for a gift last minute easily by just E4000 gluing them to post back earrings. Or I can use them for cards, or bobby pins…etc.
beadwork is great for this. I like peyote stitch because once you get started you can see where the next bead goes very clearly.
All this stitching. How about working with plastic canvas? I use it for coasters and table mats. Once you get started, designs will pop into your head for other projects. I wash mine and have never had them come unraveled. Buy a sheet and cut your pieces to the size you like. Happy time pusher!
I do what’s called Primitive Stitchery. It’s mostly backstitching and if it’s not perfect, that’s the charm of it all. I have some patterns I have drawn and could send, or just google it. There is also a form of freestyle stitching that is fun. Good luck and prayers.
What about crocheting? It’s something that you can do sitting or lying down, there’s not a lot of equipment needed, just yarn, a pattern (I have gotten 99.5% of my patterns free off the internet) a crochet hook, and some scissors and maybe a stitch marker. If you have no one to crochet for, some hospitals have people crochet for NICU/sickly babies. Also, there are some very fun crochet patterns out there. It’s not all granny squares anymore ;)
I am sorry to hear about your illness and hope all goes well with your liver transplant. I do both embroidery and cross stitch hoop-free, I guess I am a wild woman. Beadwork is also very enjoyable. I don’t think anyone has said this one yet though kumihimo braiding is quite fun and relaxing and you can make a disc/loom very easily out of cardboard just google for instructions on making a disc and to get patterns for the braids. You can use everything from embroidery floss to yarn and ribbon or possibly even fabric strips to make the braids and they make nice bracelets and necklaces. You could even make leashes. Hope this helps.
Ashley N Newell
I would say origami. You can find designs in a book or online. I used to fold those little lucky stars all day and then I would put them in a vase by color.
Also, you can make things with origami. I used to make pen holders out of just paper.
Hi Kortni, I am also among the ranks of the confined and having been an artist before I got a movement disorder, I kinda went crazy needing something I could do in bed with my hands.
I was fine with modge podge and a glue gun in bed, but my husband wasn’t all that cool about it, so I tried a lot of things. Some days were good, some days were bad.
I started making little stuffed “thingys” from socks and once I got started, I couldn’t stop. My husband decided the little monsters reminded him of my rebellious brain cells and that was that! Each one has a story behind it which filled in those days that my hands didn’t work really well and took advantage of those random firings going on up there.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you a shout of encouragement as you wait, hope you find that perfect fit (for your hands and your liver!)
I’ve grown up with health problems & know the fustration! 1st find what you truly enjoy and feel you do good on before spending much money investing in your craft. If your doing any pt ask your therapist for craft suggestions. Many crafts are used for rehab puposes. While recovering from my last surgery I was supposed to focuse on a small object for at least 20 min. a day. Pretty boring if your just looking at something. Eventually I decided to use this time to paint small Christmas tree ornaments. Much funner and had enough ornaments I ended up giving them as gifts. So… know crafting can be much more than just a way to pass the time.
As far as activities go try air-dry clay, looming projects, painting, or even scrap booking.