By: Holly Burnham
Knitting is such a passive hobby we aren’t necessarily focused on preventing injury. We can sustain injury and pain from our beloved passion.
Discomfort you are probably blaming on arthritis, a pulled muscle or ‘old age’ could very well be caused by knitting.
If your lighting is too dim you may be contorting your body in an odd position to try and get your hands under the best light. Personally, I did this for too long. I tried using a regular pole lamp for years and realized it just wasn’t giving me the light I needed….so I took that away and started using a table lamp on the end table next to the chair I knit in. A few days later my lower shoulder started aching and I realized I had been twisting my torso toward the lamp. I finally bought one of the new ‘day spectrum’ lamps and life has so much improved for me. I’m not saying you need to go to the expense of purchasing one of these lamps. I’m just suggesting you think about your lighting and if it’s sufficient.
We also tend to rest our arms on the arm rest of our chairs as we knit. This might be lifting your shoulders up toward your ears too much and could cause neck and back pain. Your knitting position is habit. Try keeping your hands closer to your lap and see if it might not feel better. If you are working against an old habit, it may take a while for this to feel ‘normal’.
I’ve read many times we should take frequent breaks from knitting to stand and shake out our hands and arms and stretch our necks and back. I do that now and I can knit for longer periods without pain.
I’ve tried warming my hands under hot water before grasping those knitting needles. This helps me….you might try it.
There is talk about different needles weighing less than others. It’s my opinion it’s not the weight of the needles that cause the problem, but rather the weight of the project we might be holding up as we knit. I try to use circular needles almost exclusively as I find I can knit closer to my lap and I don’t have to carry the weight of the garment as I do with straights. Again, just a personal observation.
I encourage you to take some time and think about your knitting routine and how you can improve your posture and tools to make knitting more of a pleasure than you already think it is.
About the Author: Holly Burnham is a self admitted yarn addict. The addiction will be life long and there is no hope of remission. Her constant knitting has put the cleanliness of her home in peril. Her yarn stashes are havens for generations of moths. At the risk of contracting this affliction, visit her at http://www.knittinghaven.com
By: Michelle Bery
Crochet, like any form of art, is as much about skill as about innate ability. What comes from within – combined with the guidance and technical know-how of formal education – results in beautiful products. Those who learn to crochet will attest to the fact that not only do they now have the skills to make one-of-a-kind projects for themselves – as well as for gifts – but they have the knowledge that, no matter what, they’ll always have this creative outlet that’s all their own.
Those who learn to crochet do so for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have always had an interest in crochet and want to foster it. Or perhaps crochet is something that their mothers or grandmothers participated in and they want to continue the family tradition. Either way, the ability to crochet allows enthusiasts to practice it for their own enjoyment or even make a job out of it, selling their pieces in craft stores, at fairs, in specialty boutiques, or online.
For those wanting to learn to crochet, there are several possibilities to go about it. First, visit your local craft store. You’ll often find that they have a schedule of classes for those who want to learn to crochet. Generally, just a few classes will be more than enough to get you on your way. The rest is really about practice. Purchase some yarn, hook, and a beginner’s book of basics and you’ll be well on your way to furthering your skills. You may even find that if you approach someone who knows how to crochet and tell them that you would like to learn to crochet, they’ll be happy to pass along some lessons. For those who love the art of crochet, they are often more than happy to assist others in getting started.
Beyond the basics it’s up to you to practice, practice, practice. If you start with simple patterns – such as blankets or scarves – you will find the easiest path to learn to crochet. The repetition is something that your hands actually learn. Soon you’ll find that picking up a crochet hook is much like picking up a pencil – your hands know what to do.
Learn to crochet and you’ll discover a passion that you’ll have for a lifetime. And the ability to make treasured items that can be passed on from generation to generation.