You can set it up to only show from the neck down. Holding shuttle: Yes, I don't have big hands so I can't comfortably hold it by the feathers. I tried holding the mid point for a while but often there's a hard knot with glue stuck on it there that catches my finger. So holding the cork was the only way left. I don't think I've ever hit my own hand this way. The contact point is so close to the edge of the frame that I've always been able to get my hand out of the way in time. It's just release and push.