Bonne Marie Burns
you were to plant a spycam in a ceiling light
at a KnitGroup NightOut, you would witness a
the group rounded up their lattes and snacks,
there would be a half-hour or so of rampant
catching-up over projects and personals. Show
'n' tells would be popping up here and there
along with the delicious oohs and aaahs we all
one-by-one, the knitters will drift off into
a more individual orbit. Here you would see
them as they become absorbed in their knitting,
steady and quiet as they sink into their work.
a knitter, this is a wonderful moment -- one
where your hands become an ancient loom and
you make a fabric, stitch by stitch. One's eye/hand
co-ordination is at maximum as your brain allows
your body to smoothly repeat the same movements
over and over in an easy and pleasing way. It
is as rhythmic and soothing as a lullaby, sweet
like a love song.
fact, most knitters express that this meditative,
low energy/low stress characteristic is what they
love most about knitting.
take heed: just like the cute things your boyfriend
did when you first fell in love (the ones that
eventually drive you crazy), the repetitive
nature of the craft may be your undoing. One
day, you might feel tingling in your finger
tips or numbness along your wrist. Or you might
feel pain and tenderness on the inside or outside of your
you are also a computer professional, you might
already have carpal tunnel syndrome and the
sweater the pattern said you could finish in
a weekend will leave you wincing by Monday morning.
you know it, your happy shiny moments with the
needles have ground to a halt and are replaced
by inflammation, pain and fatigue.
am a knitter with rheumatoid arthritis. I have
had this condition since I was a child and it
has many symptoms, mine being mainly joint deterioration.
Inflammatory cells release enzymes that digest
bone and cartilage. An involved joint loses
its shape and alignment, resulting in pain and
loss of movement because pieces of the bone
are cracked off in the joint. I have it in my
big toes, jaw and knuckles. It is different
than the arthritis associated with growing old.
Females with RA outnumber males by a
my condition is intermittent. Most of the time,
it is in remission and I feel fine. I asked
my doctor if eventually I would have to give
up knitting because my knuckles were going to
dissolve and was overjoyed to find out that
although there are no guarantees (or cures),
knitting is an excellent way to maintain and
continue developing the flexibility in my joints.
[Editor's note: I have early-stage carpal
tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis and my specialist
told me the same thing. Knitting can help keep
what's the route to hand /limb health?
Ten Ways to Avoid Stressing Your Joints
being a weekend warrior. Those marathon
knitting sessions are bad not only for your
hands, but hard on your love life. (Yes,
we not only want you to be a healthy knitter,
we want you to be a slyly smiling, happy
the chair in your house that is both comfortable
and gives you the best support and posture
profile. POSTURE, posture, posture, please.
Shoulder blades back, tummy in.
with your arms parallel to your body from
the shoulder to the elbow, and perpendicular
to your torso. Keep a tight profile. Don't
bend your wrists. This is my main offense:
I crab my wrists at an angle when I drift
off mentally and strangle the old carpal
till it screams. Don't do that. Keep your
wrists aligned with your forearms.
your knitting needles at the same non-angled
degree as your forearms. Don't tilt up or
down because when you do, you are bending
something that doesn't want to be bent,
over and over, and it will pay you back
plenty if you don't pay attention.
you feel repeated tingling and numbness, it's time
for a trip to the doctor. NOW.
drum roll, please, the #1 reliever of stressed
out paddy-cakes: circular needles. Use them
to knit back and forth or in the round. They
take the weight and bulk off of your hands/wrists
and let your lap do the heavy duty. You will
look like you are leading a symphony as you
None of us at Knitty are doctors. Please consult
your doctor before making any changes that may affect
your health. We know you know this, but we have to