Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter

Professional organizer Carolyn Woods immersed herself in the quilting world to write Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter: An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams, visiting the sewing spaces of quilters near her home in Arizona as well as consulting with quilting celebrities like Alex Anderson, Libby Lehman, Diana McClun, and Nancy Arseneault.  I found quite a few storage ideas in this book that I really like, including the ClosetMade wire mesh drawer bins (shown on the cover) that Alex Anderson uses to organize her fabric stash.  I also loved the idea of repurposed library card catalogs used for thread storage, and a number of really good solutions for storing embroidery hoops, acrylic rulers and the bazillion tools and notions we all have piled up in our work spaces.  However, I can only give this book 2 out of 5 stars because the ergonomics section of this book is so misinformed.  

I have consulted two other sewing studio design books, several sewing web sites, and the U.S. Department of Labor's OSHA recommendations for ergonomically correct sewing and cutting stations. Woods' recommendations are so far out of whack with everyone else that, if her advice was followed by hard-core quilting enthusiasts, it would CAUSE back, neck, shoulder and wrist pain! 

OSHA Guidelines for Ergonomic Sewing Posture
Woods has degrees in political economy and business administration and runs a professional organizing business -- she does not have any credentials as an expert in ergonomics, which is fine, except that she does not appear to have consulted with any ergonomics or medical experts, either.  Woods' suggests a sewing surface height between 5 1/2-7" HIGHER than your elbow when you are seated with your arms bent at right angles -- this is in direct contradiction with current OSHA guidelines; OSHA and every other reputable source I consulted says that having to reach up like this to sew is stressful to your wrists, shoulders, and can cause muskeloskeletal disorders.   

If the author didn't want to research ergonomics for sewing, she should have left that part out of the book and focused on storage and organization, her strongest suits.  Misinformation is so much worse than no information at all.

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