Stretching for Quilters

Even though you may want to continue working on your exciting quilting project,  if you sit too long you may develop a sore, stiff sensation between your shoulders, in  your neck, hips and buttocks, waist and low back.   I suggest that you set a timer to remind yourself  to stop sitting after 30 minutes. Stand and walk away from your sewing machine for 5 minutes.  Maybe even up and down a flight of steps.You’ll feel better and be more productive by refreshing yourself be taking a few minutes to walk, do some stretching and taking some full breaths.

Get health care provider approval before you start this or any other exercise program.

Most of these stretches done while sitting on the front half of a sturdy chair.  Always sit tall, look forward, leave shoulders down as you start each stretch.  Take full breathes as you maintain an elongated spine and avoid a “sway” in your low back as you stretch.

NECK  Seated stretches:

  1. Keep chin parallel to floor.  Turn head slowly & gently from right side to left side and back to right side.  6 repetitions.
  2. Allow ear to slowly and gently move toward right shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch.  Then move the other shoulder down.  Hold for 8-10 seconds.  Continue by move your head as if to look at your right hip.  Hold for 5-10 seconds. Complete this 1st sequence by rotate your face to look at your lap and raise your head to look straight ahead.  Repeat on other side.  2 repetitions on each side.


  1. Inhale as you move your arms out to the sides, outstretched.  On your exhale put your fingertips on shoulder seams.  Imagine you will be drawing big circles with your elbows as you aim for having your elbows together as you bring them to center front.  6  slow repetitions.  Then 6 slow repetitions in opposite direction.
  2. Inhale as you move your arms out to the sides, outstretched.  On your exhale, with elbows bent interlace your fingers behind you back.  Move your shoulder blades toward center back as you move your shoulders back.  Next, straighten your elbows.  Hold for 5-20 seconds.  Do not bend forward.
  3. Inhale and as you exhale give yourself a “Big Hug” by placing arms across your chest and hands on back of opposite shoulders.  Hold for 30 seconds as you continue to gently pull on shoulders as you “Hug”.  Repeat with opposite arm on top.
  4. Raise left arm over your head.  Keep your left upper arm close to your ear. Bend left elbow and place your left hand toward the area between your shoulder blades   Have your bent elbow pointing to the ceiling.  With your right hand, grasp the raised elbow and gently pulling the raised elbow toward the wall behind you.  Hold 10-20 seconds.  Repeat on other side.


  LOWER BACK  Seated Stretch:

  1.  Place feet on floor, rest hands on thighs, have knees hip with apart and ankles straight below knees.  Keeping your left knee still, put your right ankle just above your left knee. Allow your right lower arm to rest on your right inner lower leg.  If you want more of a stretch-on an exhale lean forward (from your hip) keeping a flat back.  Hold for 3 full breaths.  Repeat on other side. 

LEGS  Standing Stretches:

  1. Place your hands on the edge of a sturdy table, hip width apart.  Exhale while you keep your arms straight as you bend at the hips as you walk backwards away from the table.  Stop when a line from your head to your tail bone is parallel to the floor.  Elongate your spine.  Stay for 10-30 seconds.
  2. Place your hands on the edge of a sturdy table, hip width apart.   Bend one knee and grasp the ankle or foot of the bend leg.  Have your knee pointing toward the floor.  Hold for 10-20 seconds.  Repeat on other side.
  3. With your right side next to the edge of a sturdy table rest your right hand on the table.  Lift your right foot onto the seat of a sturdy chair in front of you.  If you want more of a stretch on the back of your thigh then lean forward from your hips.  Hold for 10-20 seconds.  Repeat on other side.



  1. Stand with feet more than hip width apart and arms at your sides.  Exhale as you reach your straight right arm to the side and then toward the ceiling.  Then inhale and as you exhale, slide you left arm down your left leg at the same time you reach your right arm over your head to the left side.  Stay for 10-20 seconds.  Repeat on other side.


This entire stretching sequence will take less than 7 minutes to complete.  You will enjoy it and feel so much better for having given yourself this stretching time.

Copyright 2008  Sandi Selk