In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lizard Skin

This winter has not been particularly cold or messy, but it doesn't make any difference.  I'm still suffering from dry, chapped hands and rough skin and hangnails.

This would not be an issue except I stitch.  When your hands are so dry that they snag cotton, it's a problem.  Don't even start me on what I can do to a strand of silk.

I have tried all the treatments.  Several years ago, I found a glycerine hand treatment that did a phenomenal job of softening all the sandpapery parts.  It was so good it would leave its moisture on everything it touched-not good for linen or canvas.  It also had a scent that was so potent it could knock a strong man down at forty paces.

Then there was the olive-oil-and-sugar thing, varied with the mayo-and-sugar thing.  That sanded off the rough parts, but Dearly Beloved would sit and sniff and ask me if I was hiding a salad behind my chair.  And it still had to be pretty much washed away before stitching.

One of my grandmothers had lovely, long-fingered, artistic hands. She was very proud of them.  Very proud.  She also liked to dig in the dirt, which can do a number on lovely hands.  Her trick was to glop as much petroleum jelly as she could handle on her hands, slip on a pair of old, white cotton dress gloves, and go to bed.

In desperation awhile back, I tried it.  As a result of my experimentation, I have the following hints:

  • Make sure you have white cotton dress gloves handy before you glop on the petroleum jelly.
  • Be sure to ask both children if they have seen white cotton dress gloves before you glop on the petroleum jelly--you may find that you donated them to the dress-up box or to the high school drama department costume closet, since who needs white cotton dress gloves in this day and age?
  • If you have glopped on the petroleum jelly, do not use a pair of woolly red mittens in place of the white cotton dress gloves.  You will wake up with red fuzzies embedded on your hands.
  • A better alternative would be a pair of your husband's white tube socks.  However, be aware that you will not have much ability to use your thumbs, therefore . . .
  • turn the light off before glopping and socking or you're going to have to call for someone to come and do it for you.
  • Be VERY SURE to swear both children to absolute secrecy if your husband happens to be away when all of this is going on. Otherwise, it will go down in family lore forever.
Currently I'm using a gel substance from the health food store. It has everything in it from aloe to yucca and it's helping, but it requires re-application fairly frequently.  I have been thinking of spending some of my stash funds on a hot wax treatment. . . wonder how that would work?


  1. I don't know about the hot wax but I swear by Aveda Hand Relief. I put it on 3 or 4 times a day...not greasy but you can wash your hands and still tell you have it on!

  2. the hot wax doesn't work. aveda is nice, but expensive. i like udder balm - "udderly smooth." it sort of seals your hands, doesn't seem to rub off - after i rub most of it off.

    my hands are a disaster. i think the fibers make our fingers dry. i know it sounds goofy, but on the really rough parts i sort of sand them smooth using one of those glass nail files. and then lotion. and petroleum jelly. just don't smooth your hair once you get vaseline on your hands.

    will this all be moot when summer comes?

    i love your writing, it cracks me up!

  3. I can't vouch for a hot wax treatment, but some beauty stores sell loose cotton gloves for hand treatments - definitely better than the tube socks!