November 24, 2010

Avoiding Injury While Knitting for the Holidays

Thanksgiving had rather good timing this year in that this Thursday is the 25th. Exactly one month before Christmas. Which means, after you've stuffed yourself full of turkey, taters, cranberry sauce, rolls, casseroles, pies, and whatever other heavenly delicious foods will be gracing your plate... Those of us who knit only have 30 days left to get to it and finish Christmas presents.

I've decided to ease up on the knitting this year so as not to drive myself into a yarn induced panic. But I will still be knitting at least a bit and that means plenty of opportunity to ignore my body and possibly cause my fingers (or other parts) to ache and cry for mercy.

So in order to prevent that horrible fate for the rest of you, I'm reposting this list of things that I had originally posted last year on my long dead knitting-only blog:

- Take frequent breaks. I usually knit while we're watching shows on Hulu so I try to put my knitting down and take a break for a few minutes about half way through the show if I can. Also if you have been sitting for a long period of time, get up and walk around. You'll feel better. Or at least your butt will.

- Switch between projects with different size yarn and needles frequently. This is one I need to do myself. By having a change of size every once in a while you will be less likely to cramp up because your fingers won't be stuck in the same positions for so long.

- Sit comfortably. Many people think that any problems will involve just your hands, but you can also find problems in your back and legs as well. Try to sit comfortably, with good support.

- Try a different method. I'm finding that, for me, small needles and the English method are not going well together. I have been trying out the Lever, or Cottage style knitting and my hands are much happier that way. Or try continental. Switch it up. You don't always have to use the same style of knitting. Practice tension on swatches. Plus knowing different techniques will only make you a better knitter.

- If you are starting to feel pain: STOP. Don't keep going. You could risk seriously injuring yourself. Put down the knitting and leave it alone for a day. If you come back tomorrow and are still hurting, leave it for longer and give your limbs time to heal. No Christmas present is worth the possibility of never being able to knit again because you were just too stubborn. Avoid taking pain medication - you'll still be doing damage, you just won't feel it.

Merry Knitting!


Kessie said...

Good advice for any artistic, slow, repetitive activity. We had the same sorts of rules in art class.

Farm Girl said...

I know that doing anything if you don't take a break can hurt. I have been cooking and all of a sudden I just needed some blog time. :)

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