Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday Stretch for Sewists #19 - Shoelace

"Two of the best poses for us in the West are Shoelace and Swan." My first Yin teacher, Gillian, who spoke in a soft South African accent, always used to tell us this.  At first I did not like either of them.  My body did not like either of them.  Now?  They are still intense, but oh boy, do I love how they massage deep into my hip sockets.

Quilty things first, though: look what shoe rack hack (see what I did there?!) I did the other day that is pretty sweet!
Note the 'in colour order' from top to bottom 😉

I had gone on a bit of a hunt for some solids to use in a second Hands2Help quilt... No luck yet, because the loft is more chaos of a different kind than ever as MacGyver started to get the longarm set back up.  My cutting table kind of collapsed (not as well-made as IKEA) when he went to shuffle it aside, and well, I won't type the string of fancy words and phrases that flowed out of his mouth...  Enter cutting/pressing table design number 2, thought up by me!  I have lived with it and worked with it all week, and I'm liking it, but for the very difficult access to the loft storage under the roof and behind it.  Still, MacGyver has a plan to fix that issue.  Now that I know this works fine, he will finish setting up the longarm and I can get some quilts quilted!


This will make you sit on the floor, which is always a good thing, trust me.  Have a chair handy to help you get down and back up again if need be.  Shoelace is going to give you a great outer rotation in the hip joints, adduction in the inner thighs as you stack your knees atop one another, as well as give you a good tug on the outside of your hip joints.

Note that if there is any kind of knee pain, do Eye of the Needle instead.

To come into Shoelace, sit your sit bones on the edge of a folded up quilt. If you suffer from sciatica, elevating the hips so the knees are below the hips will help avoid aggravating the condition.  Elevating your hips also helps give your pelvis a forward tilt; we tend to have backward tilting pelvis in the West since we do not live on the floor, but sit in chairs.

Sit with your legs in front of you, and take your right foot and knee into your hands, maybe rocking the leg back and forth a little just to feel the movement inside your hip joint.   Then bring the right knee over the left, just like you were sitting in a chair crossing your knees, but your lower limb is going to rest on its side, foot also on its side.
IF this puts too much strain on your left (straight) back of the knee, slide your hands palms down, beneath it to  lift it a bit, which will take the pressure off it.  You could even slide another quilt under it if you like.  If it's okay for your back, lean forward, rounding, or not; a flat back is fine and will protect your low back if you should not be rounding forward.  If you do round, you will feel a nice decompression in the low back.  Leaning forward adds compression to your hip joints, which are already nice and juicy with the outer rotation and adduction happening!

If there is a large gap between your knees, use a block there on which to rest your right knee.
You don't have to lean forward much in the beginning.

If your knees are healthy, and your hips a bit more flexible, you might like to match the bottom leg to the top one.  Lean back and see if you can fold in the bottom leg in, still keeping the knees on top of one another.

Again, use a block between them in the beginning if they are fairly far apart; we want our quads soft and squishy and relaxed so the tugging feeling and tension is all in the hips.  Note where my feet are, forwards, not tucked in close to my hips.  In the beginning they may want to be closer to your hips, but as you practise this pose, and it doesn't feel as intense (and this may take months or years), then start to move your feet away from your hips.

You can fold forward as much as you like over the 3-5 minutes you hold this, breathing slowly and steadily maybe to a count of 4 or 5, letting gravity do the work.

A tip from both Sarah Powers and Bernie Clark is to gently push into your hands even as you fold forward, so the weight stays off your knees and back in your hips.  Your work is to relax and breathe and allow the tug/tension to go deep into your connective tissues.

To come up, inhale and straighten slowly back up, head last if it was dangling.  Undo your leg or legs, set the foot soles down, lean back on your hands and take a couple more breaths enjoying the 'spearmint' feeling as the blood rushes into the compressed areas, both nourishing the tissues, and removing toxins.  You might like to do a few windshield wiper movements, side to side to put some motion into the hip joints.  Remember to do the other leg!  Man I love the iPhone's timer feature so I can take these pics even when MacGyver is MacGyvering away inside! 😊

Also remember to take advantage of Craftsy's weekend classes special (affiliate links here) where all classes are under $20US aka $26.87CA.  I've taken advantage of these deals more than once!  You can check out my reviews of two of Angela Walters' classes here (I may own every single one), her Feathers one and Machine Quilting: Small Changes Big Variety, and I highly recommend her Dot to Dot one,  and Christina Cameli's Wild Quilting.  I still haven't found the time to finish Natalia Bonner's class Free-Motion Motifs for Classic Blocks, and review it in its own dedicated post, but so far it's just terrific and I highly recommend it.

Okay, now to write up a quick post for OMG for May, and set up the link up party for showing off all 20 of your Freefall blocks!  That party will open Monday, May 8 and run all week.

Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for

because I am happy that I made myself write up this post, even though it is a week late!  I feel so strongly about taking care of our bodies, specifically our hips and spines as we spend so much time hunched over our machines, cutting mats and pressing tables.  H2H linkup is today--sadly I have no more progress than a bit more work on the scrappy blocks I showed on Instagram earlier this week:

Although I didn't find my solids, I did find this lovely rich red that has languished for years, and it makes me happy thinking it will go to a Syrian refugee family in this bright and happy quilt!


  1. I know that pose as Cow Face and it is intense for me!

  2. I'm not sure the bursitis in my hip will allow this, but I'll give it a shot. I'm tired of my hip's limits.

  3. The shoe rack hack is a good one, and I see Bella gave it her stamp of approval.

  4. The quilt will be beautiful!

  5. Love the sculpture in the background as much as your statuesque pose.

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