1. Working with cold water dyes, fabric and acrylic paints
Avoidance of inhalation of dust [dye powders] by working in a ventilated room and wearing a mask to prevent inhalation.
Prevention of staining by wearing rubber gloves to protect skin on hands.
Putting down plastic covering to protect work surface
Wear overall to protect clothing
Prevention of poisoning [i.e young children] by storage of powders and liquids in a safe place where vessels can be stored upright. Ensure that unwanted solutions are disposed of safely.
Acrylic paints are colourfast once dried so any surfaces need wiping before they dry.
When printing fabrics with any of the above all the same precautions would need to be taken.
2. Stitching by hand or machine.
Pins and needles - Avoid accidental ingestion of pins [ I’m guilty of holding pins just removed from fabric in my mouth!] it helps to keep pin tin or cushion in close proximity for convenience and safety. Also avoid injury by safe storage away from children. When using the sewing machine [especially with the embroidery hoop] keep fingers well clear of the needle to prevent a puncture wound!
The sewing machine should be used close to the powerpoint to prevent accidents caused by trailing leads. I keep my machine under my table when not in use to prevent falls.
3. Scissors for sewing need to be sharp and therefore need to be kept in a safe place to avoid injury to children and used with care to prevent lacerations to skin or clothing.
4. Use of the iron.
Prevention of fire and burns to the skin is a high priority. Risk of accidents can be reduced by using the iron on a well maintained ironing board close to the source of electricity ensuring that any flexes are positioned away from passing adults or children to prevent falls, and by ensuring that the iron is turned off when finished with. The iron should be put away safely out of reach of children or animals and the ironing board stacked away securely so that it doesn’t topple or fall.
The iron itself when hot may damage delicate fabrics which may in turn damage create fumes. Attention to appropriate use and regular cleaning of the plate is required. a well ventilated room is essential if fumes are emitted.
5. I’ve noticed that I get neck and back ache if I sit for too long at the sewing table or computer so I try to ensure that my work surface is at the correct height and that I stretch my back regularly to prevent pain at the end of the day. I have some Pilates exercises which help after a stint of working.
6. Eye strain is also a risk factor, I have prescription spectacles for close work
7. Lastly I try and keep my work area tidy with materials and tools in close proximity to my project to avoid frustration and unnecessary stress. I’m fortunate enough to have a work studio which means that I can leave work out [within reason] and I have a really good clear up between chapters / projects.