so far, 2014 has been ridiculously busy. there was the 2014 preview club dyeing to do, loads of orders of sock yarn for ysolda's first ever Mystery KAL, the rainbow yarn dyeing madness, and a seriously huge Super Secret Project that i'm only halfway through – overall, i've probably dyed the same amount of yarn in the past three months than i normally would in a year.
i'm not at all complaining about the extra orders – trust me, it's been very exciting! but since i'm the one & only yarn-dyer at Old Maiden Aunt Yarns, such an increased workload was bound to highlight any weak links in my work process – and as it turns out, the weak link at the OMA dye studio is my right elbow.
i've always been extremely right-sided – i kick with my right foot, hold doors open with my right hip, write (& throw my yarn when knitting) with my right hand, & lift with my right arm. since dyeing yarn involves a LOT of heavy lifting (dyepots aren't light!) i do make a huge effort to alternate sides as much as i can – i know that i tend towards using my right side for everything, and i was worried that if i didn't try to sometimes use my left side i'd end up in danger of a work-related repetitive strain injury.
well, despite my best efforts to be ambidextrous, i developed a very achey right arm – i finally went to the doctor today, to be told that i most likely have epicondylitis. the doctor also gleefully informed me that this was a Chronic Condition (i could hear the capital letters as she was saying it!) which could take up to a year to fully resolve (aaaaarrgh!). luckily, this isn't the kind of condition for which they advise complete rest, so i'm still allowed to work (in all honesty, i probably wouldn't have stopped even if they told me to) but i may need to slow things down a bit. i get a super-sexy elbow brace (see above pic – not my actual arm!) to wear at work, which should take some of the pressure off my elbow joint. and i'm getting in touch with my physio later today to see if there's anything else they can advise.
so, for the next couple of weeks, i'm planning to cut my yarn-dyeing workload by about half – i won't be stopping altogether, but it may take a little longer for yarns to appear back in stock (i have a few custom order requests in at the moment, so if you made a custom request recently, don't worry – i'll be doing your yarn first!). i'll also be taking a good look at the dye room & how i work in it – there may well be adaptations that i can make that will help shift some of the physical workload & mean i can work more safely & efficiently.
i'm crossing my fingers (on my left hand!!) that decreasing my workload slightly & making some changes in the dye room will mean i can still get lots of yarn dyed without making things any worse – i'll keep you posted if anything changes!!