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D.I.Y. Bandages


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These bandages can be crocheted, knitted or made on a knitting machine. They are very simple to make. They are primarily used for people with Hansen's Disease (Leprosy). These make good bandages as is or are nice for holding on gauze bandages so you don't have to use tape. They can be washed in hot bleach water and either machine or sun dried.


For best results, use 100% cotton crochet thread. Use either white or ecru (unbleached) and a small crochet hook or knitting needle. Use undyed so the chemicals won't irritate the skin and so they can be bleached. Use a small enough crochet hook or knitting needle so the weave will not be too tight or too open. Just nice and stretchy. It is recommended you try a size 2 knitting needle or a size D crochet hook depending on how tight or loose you hold your thread. The standard size is 4 inches wide by 4 feet long so adjust your stitches accordingly. Dropped stitches and wavy edges are fine! You just knit every row or single crochet every row.


I'm going to do mine 4 inches wide by 4 feet long as they recommended. I also plan to do some shorter and narrower ones for finger sizes (to use for holding gauze bandages on or a splint) for myself. I'll use the excess crochet thread after I get the longer ones done.


Please, if the spirit moves you and you have the time, consider making some to donate. They are a non-profit charity organization and really need them.




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What would the difference be between store bought/machine manufactured bandages and these?

Not trying to be clever, I simply now nothing about Hansen's.

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I thot right away of a day when we don't have any more store-bought. As for this organization....I'm not familiar with it or why they'd call for the hand-made ones.. Maybe it's just the participation of others. :shrug:


MtRider ....just never thot of how easy these semi-stretchy bandages would be to knit up.

Edited by Mt_Rider
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I'm not sure what the difference is except these can be reused, bleached and cheaply homemade. I've never seen anything like these on the market but then again I've never looked for them. I have a stretchy mesh tube like thing to hold a gauze bandage in place but you couldn't use it alone for a bandage. And it's kind of loose. These homemade bandages can be wrapped around anything and what ever tension you choose. They are held on with a safety pin. People with Hansen's Disease are commonly known as Lepers. Basically, their extremities rot off. Horrible horrible disfiguring disease.


What I bought was Red Heart crochet thread, white, size 10 and 1,000 yards. It was $3.77 for each ball. That should make at least 2 bandages. Probably more.


I just tried a basic practice piece. I knit and crochet pretty true to gauge, maybe a tad tight. I used one of the silver hooks a size 3.50 MM and I chained 31 to give me close to 4 inches. The first 2 rows are sort of hard because the stitches are so close and curly but by row 3 it was smooth sailing. However many you chain, add 1 extra for turning if you want to remember how many stitches you have for easy counting. I can remember 30 so I chained 31. I count the stitches every 6-7 rows just to make sure I'm still on track.


Edited to add: I forgot to mention that I left a long tail, about 10 inches long, so I can weave it in a couple of times so it won't easily unravel. Actually for me 31 chains worked better. Changed from 26 chains.

Edited by Jeepers
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Interesting because I reuse bandages after boiling them. It is a great idea for quiet evening to crochet some of these and store them in a zippie.

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During the wars, women in the US (and 'm sure other countries) used to tear strips of cotton to use as cloth bandages. They could be boiled and bleached. I don't know why this organization prefers crochet/knitted ones. It might have something to do with the stretchy-ness of them and the way they use them. Maybe because they don't have any strings or loose fibers unless they would be hemmed. I really don't know. :shrug:


A good winter project though.

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Yeah, see I re-purpose all our old Tshirt material for bandages....of all kinds. Some become triangular bandages. Some are strips rolled up like the olden days. Some are just squares/rectangles of odd sizes cut from the sleeves. The hem, collar, seams become ties, which I use to tie the bandages after rolling them up. I don't use any material that has ink printed color/design. I cut those parts out but most of our T's are plain anyway. Depends on what I find at Goodwill tho.


I have saved non-stretchy material too. Most have colors and wouldn't bleach as well as white. But many of these bandages/saved material have served for use with animal injuries. Nice to have free....and disposable.


Wounds can take such an ASTOUNDING amount of bandage material. New wounds might require 6 changes a day. Not so frequently after it begins to heal. DD1's near-amputation of her lower leg in an accident opened our eyes to that.



These....I would see these as the inner layer. On something more serious than a normal owie.


Mostly, it just caught me that I'd never imagined MAKING them...when I do know how or have printed material on how to make a lot of things. New data..... :thumbs:


MtRider :pc_coffee: .....we'll see if I actually have sit-down time/energy to try one.

Edited by Mt_Rider
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With Hansen's disease....would poor circulation be part of the problem? So light stretch would be more comfortable and stay put cuz it conforms to shape better. :shrug:





Leprosy /ˈlɛprəsi/,[1] also known as Hansen's disease (HD), is a chronic infection caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae[2] and Mycobacterium lepromatosis.[3] Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way from 5 to as long as 20 years.[2] Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes.[2] This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain and thus loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds.[4] Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.[4]




Leprosy occurs more commonly among those living in poverty and is believed to be transmitted by respiratory droplets.[4] Contrary to popular belief, it is not very contagious.




Leprosy is curable with a treatment known as multidrug therapy




Globally in 2012, the number of chronic cases of leprosy was 189,000 and the number of new cases was 230,000.[2] The number of chronic cases has decreased from some 5.2 million in the 1980s.[2][6][7] Most new cases occur in 16 countries, with India accounting for more than half.[2][4] In the past 20 years, 16 million people worldwide have been cured of leprosy.[2] About 200 cases are reported per year in the United States.



Can't feel injury/pain of unseen infection... Worse in low tech areas of the world cuz don't have medical treatment. Article says denial and sigma are a barrier in some areas from seeking treatment...especially vital early treatment. :(


Whoa....16 MILLION have been cure just in the last TWENTY years. That's fantastic news. But...many of those probably still have the effects of years without treatment. At least it can be treated AND CURED! HOPE.....it can take away the stigma.


MtRider :pray:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Prior to my first husband's death, while he was in the hospital, they used a sort of "stretchy-web" like thing...somewhat similar to these but a larger weave, to put over his hands and forearms to prevent him from trying to pull out the IV's. I'm thinking it's much cheaper to have volunteers spend some time making these and donating them...lots of ladies crochet and knit and might enjoy the quiet time (as I do). I have a large bag of crochet thread (not yarn) that I'm thinking would make some nice onces...to put back for our own emergency use if tape becomes "unsticky" (as it sometimes does) when stored for long lengths of time. Thanks Jeeps!

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Hi Everybody



I first saw these bandages on Youtube a couple of years ago. The video is made by Katzcradul. Start watching at about 3 minutes. It shows how she makes the bandages.







Katzcradul made a 2nd video. It’s about the DOVE organization







KookingKorner also made a video on how to make the bandages.







Hope this helps someone




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Thanks for the videos YYY. I hadn't seen them but they are exactly what I was talking about.


For such thin "yarn" these things work up really fast! I was playing with one last night trying to get my stitches the width I want them and before I knew it I had 6 inches done. I'm doing 31 chain stitches and it is a little wider than 4 inches but I'm thinking that because they are 100% cotton they might shrink, especially if put in a dryer.


Good idea WE2. I'm allergic to regular medical tape. I have to use the non-allergenic stuff. It's expensive and once it's gone...it's gone. I was relying on ace bandages to hold on a bandage but these can be washed, bleached and reused if they become soiled.


I'm going to make a couple (for myself) about 5-6 inches wide and about 2-3 feet long to use on an upper arm. I need to do some measuring.

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The stretch factor is so important on uneven limbs and such. When I took my first FIRST AID course.....it was waaaay back 'in the day'. We didn't work with elastic ACE bandage then. Just straight cotton.....woven, not knit. [as in a dress shirt is woven and T-shirts are "kinit". ] So we had to learn to compensate for the graduated width of an arm or leg.


This technique involves making a turning fold each time you wrap the bandage around. It makes it easier to adjust. But they still have trouble staying in place compared to the elastic material that came out later. Vet wrap is wonderful stuff too. Akin to the yellow stickie notes. Vet wrap will stick...release...stick again.


So....I can't get Google to bring up that old, outdated method [that hopefully we would not have to use again]. I'll try to explain it better:





Dressing....the sterile [or as clean as you can manage] material directly over an open wound.

Bandage(s)....the material that keeps the dressing and wound padded....and also might keep the dressing material in place over the wound.


[...a "Bandaid" does both at once]



Using a strip of cotton...like the torn up sheets of Civil War era. Need to hold primary, sterilized wound covering [the DRESSING] in place with this strip of bandage material. Start at large portion of limb....let's say we're doing a leg below the knee and down to the ankle.


Non-elastic bandage material should be 1 to 2" wide ...cuz any wider and the whole problem of trying to get it snug without skin-irritating wrinkles or gaps that will let the whole thing slide, will just be harder.


Begin by folding a corner of the bandaging strip under [helps to anchor it, they said] and make the first couple wraps around leg ... right under knee. Once the 'anchor' is in place, THEN you begin to move down the leg.


--You will make another wrap around, veering slightly downward on diagonal, but never more than a quarter width of the bandaging strip.

--You will then twist the strip of bandaging material once....so that the inside of the strip is now the outside. Then go around again.

--You will now do this twist every time you bring the strip around to this same point.

--You should make these twists to lie down flat, like a fold in paper. {don't want skin irritation for victim}

--You should make these twists in the same place as you go down the victim's leg [or arm, whatever].

--You should make these twists on the outside so that it won't be rubbed when victim moves. [ie: not between victim's legs but to the outside of a leg/arm]

--The twist is variable and will help keep the correct amount of tension. [enough to hold but don't cut off circulation...much harder w/o elastic stretch!!!] It takes up the wrinkle or gaps that would occur if not compensated.


To finish off when using sheet or other makeshift material, split the final 'tail' of the strip you have left over. Make the split length-wise. {If long enough} this will enable you to make a tie around the ankle [in this case, but whatever] to secure the bandage. Place all tied knots in an out-of-the-way position too. [not between legs or between arm and torso] Always check your tension immediately and a while later to make sure you didn't get it too tight. BTDT, for real.


Please remember that you will have the primary/sterile dressing material that is covering the wound. Somehow that has to stay in place as you carefully wind on the bandage strip. ..... yeah, I remember it taking a lot of coordination! :blink:


A cooperative victim helps...... :grinning-smiley-044: not your best friend in seventh grade who kept getting the giggles! :lol:



Oye, that's a long-ago memory. DearFriend and I practiced on each other a lot....and she went on to become an RN, of course. I went on to work with groups [mostly kids] in wilderness settings and used my First Aid skills many times. Guess that's how it stays with you.



MtRider :pc_coffee: If that explanation [which we hope we never have to use] isn't clear...tell me and I'll try again. :thumbs:

Edited by Mt_Rider
changed stuff in directions for clarity x3
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Here are a couple of bandage sites I found.



Bandaging and Splinting

ban dages (sic)

And the old standby:First Aid Merit Badge from the Boy Scouts


Edited because I had issues. Lots of issues. :happy0203:

Edited by Jeepers
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Cool....some PDFs. I've had to use the ankle stabilizer on p 40 of the Boy Scout one. Twice, I think.


Any of them have pics/vid of what I was trying to explain?


Edit: The Field Manual FM 8-50 one: pages 19/20 show the Anchor better than I explained it.


Page 33 shows a slightly different way of folding over the strip and in this case, they take it in a different direction. Yeah...it's doing the same thing for getting rid of wrinkles/gaps. But it looks to me that this would be more stable...but take LOTS more length of bandage strip. You could 'graft' in a second strip in the middle of the job, I suppose. You'd have to overlap a long length tho.


Shows MAKING plaster of paris bandages [casts?] p 46



I don't know how updated this one is but I want a paper copy too. Shows how to wrap everything including the nose on your face. Wow. I remember many of these but the complicated ones, I'd have to have a reference guide like this.


Edit: The top link Dr Lojpur page 5......calls it the reverse spiral ...must use if elastic bandage not available. But there's more to it than I remembered!



MtRider :thumbs: Thanks, Jeepers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I too learned to bandage without stretchy bandages - self taught from 1950s first aid books in mom's emergency book shelf. I had a doll with articulated limbs, and practiced mini-bandaging her (she looked like a trauma case after I bandaged every limb, put on slings, etc...even made her a crutch (lol!). But I got really good a doing bandages that would STAY PUT even on her slick vinyl limbs. Later at the police academy I demonstrated how to do a nice neat twist on each turn of the bandage on another cadets leg...all the way up...and after that ended up being the bandage dummy because the instructors decided I already knew how.

Excellent to know, fun to practice, and a well-bandaged child makes an excellent mummy on haloween, or a really good april fools joke (did that to a school child - the teacher was MAD because she was fooled right up until she took off the bandages at noon, and said 'april fools'....

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  • 5 weeks later...

These are probably also much softer than commercial "sleeve" like bandages that are used to hold absorbant non-stick dressings. I can tell you from personal experience with my skin blistering disease that when you have raw areas that most bandages used to hold on the absorbant under layer are horribly scratchy. I think this would work well in place of Kerlix which is a gauze roll dressing. When I was dealing with my initial outbreak I couldn't bear the roll bandages so I invented my own solution. I took clean knee high panty hose, and cut off the toe. This slipped neatly over my limbs and held the abdominal pads I was using on my forearms neatly and without causing me pain or driving me crazy with itching. They are breathable, cheap, disposable or could be boiled to reuse if needed. I hung onto a few boxes just in case. These bandages would be nice to have on hand as well.

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In casting my DD was allergic to the cast material even though there was the 'glove' put on first . The cast had to be taken off and a second glove put on.

55 years ago when my arm was broken-greenbreak-it was wrapped in cotton strips.

The knowledge of correct bandaging can also be used on animals.

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Good idea about using a knee-high hose to hold a bandage on. Be aware for long term storage though...the elastic top will go 'poof' after a time. I found out the hard way when I was ready to go to a funeral and went to put on a pair of knee-high's and on every single one of them the elastic stretched out and wouldn't go back. I found one pair that I thought I could wear and by the end of the service they ended up around my ankles. I had over a dozen pair of them and every one was ruined. Wonder if vacuum sealing them would help?

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  • 4 years later...

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