A cold, rainy winter provided all the inspiration I needed to get out my knitting needles.
I stopped knitting for awhile after I had problems with my hands and was diagnosed with carpel tunnel syndrome in January 2011. Gradually, I began knitting again but only garter stitch strips. I was concentrating on learning to sew, and my creative energies were elsewhere. Maybe I didn’t want to be too interested in something I was trying to avoid doing.
Now I want to add knitting back into the mix. I am inspired anew, and thinking about what I would like to make.
To start the year, I knitted a cowl completing #6 on my “Make Nine List” to hand knit an accessory.
It was knit in garter stitch in navy, gray, and off white with random stripes and then seamed to form the join.
When I was cleaning out a closet I found a foot of a scarf with the needles removed and the stitches saved intact on a length of waste yarn. I estimate I started it about 10 years ago! I was able to find the pattern, the Dayflower Lace Scarf, put it back on the needles and count to find the row I should start on. I finished this scarf too.
I wrote out the lace pattern on an index card, and then used a paper clip to keep track of the row I was working on.
I have three reasons for wanting to continue to knit.
The process of knitting itself:
I want the soothing rhythm of creating with just my circular needles, to experience the yarn, watch the fabric I’m making, and to play with colors and patterns. Some of the techniques I haven’t done that interest me are gradient color changes, an Icelandic circular yoke with a color design, and double knitting.
To use my stash:
Knitting can be a bit expensive as compared to sewing. Nice yarn can cost between $50 and $120 for a sweater’s worth. I already have yarn for at least 4 sweaters, so I would be knitting for “free”.
To have some sweaters and accessories to wear:
After enjoying the process of knitting, I’ll have some pretty and unique things to put on when the weather turns cold.
The following is my account of my experience with carpal tunnel syndrome:
I used to be a daily knitter. My hand symptoms started when I had trouble turning off my alarm clock in the mornings because my hands had gone numb. Then my numb hands would cause me to wake up at night. When these symptoms progressed to the point that I was waking up several times a night, and the numbness was also continuing into the daytime I became concerned and went to the doctor.
I was given these gloves to wear.
I removed the metal insert from one glove to show the curved shape. The metal keeps the wrist from bending and provides support. I wore them every night and stopped knitting. My hands would still go numb when I held the phone for too long or when holding other objects. Now, for the most part, I only wear the right glove occasionally, usually in the winter, and vary my hand activities. I also use a computer mouse with my right hand, but I don’t spend nearly as much time on a desktop computer as I did between the years 2000 – 2010. My keyboard and mouse usage could have contributed to my carpal tunnel symptoms. I used to also have forearm pain after many hours of mouse clicking. Remember the ball inside the mouse? My left hand does everything else, and two of my joints have signs of arthritis from wear and tear.
Knitting and other hand crafts can contribute to symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, arthritis, and repetitive stress injuries. My advice is if you experience pain or numbness, don’t ignore your symptoms. Slow down, consult a doctor, and make modifications as needed.
Have you experienced hand, wrist, or arm pain or injuries from crafting? Did you make changes as a result?