Creative Knitting Newsletter

SELECT AN ISSUE:
In the Loop Readers Speak Free Pattern It's a Wrap
Readers Speak

When Knitting Hurts

Katie wrote:

"I don't understand how knitting can be relaxing. I mean, I understand the repetitive motion and all that, but for me knitting is actually kind of painful. My shoulders and elbows and wrists end up hurting after just a little bit of knitting, especially on big projects. I've been working on a cardigan for a friend since January of last year, all because it hurts to work on 200-plus stitches for so long. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Any advice would be great. I want to knit afghans and stuff someday!"


Editor's Comments

Thanks for writing, Katie. Most of us (especially those of us who have reached a certain age) will experience some pain from anything we do that involves repetitive motion, but it sounds like your pain is worse than most. Here are a couple of things to try:

  • Use circular needles instead of straight needles. If you're knitting a piece back and forth on straight needles, especially one that has 200-plus stitches, you're carrying a lot of weight on those needles. If you use a circular needle as if it were two straight needles, i.e., knitting back and forth, and not in the round, when the piece gets to a certain length, the bulk of the knitting will rest in your lap as you work and you'll experience less arm fatigue.
  • Stop and stretch. Stop every 15 minutes or so and stand up. Roll your shoulders back and forth a few times. Bring your hands up over your head, hold one wrist with the opposite hand and pull your arm gently over to the side for a nice big stretch; repeat this on the other side. Clasp your hands, and with your fingers facing you, push your hands as far out in front of you as you can, flexing your fingers and your wrists.
  • Knit with smaller needles. You may not want to hear this if you're a fan of big yarn and big needles, but the smaller the needles and yarn, the smaller the motion, and therefore, the less the strain on your body.
  • Learn a new way of knitting. This is certainly the most challenging remedy, but as mentioned above, the less you have to move to manipulate your yarn, the less your muscles and tendons will be affected. Are you knitting English style, wherein you hold the yarn in your right hand and "throw" it around the needle to make a stitch? Observe that movement. If you're letting go of the right needle in order to carry the yarn, you're making a very large movement.

    Try limiting the motion by wrapping the yarn around your middle finger and just moving the finger forward to wrap the yarn instead of moving your whole hand, and therefore, your whole arm. The other alternative would be to teach yourself to knit Continental style, holding the yarn in your left hand and moving the right needle forward to "pick" the yarn and thereby wrapping it around the needle to make a stitch -- this requires the least movement of all. It's not easy to retrain yourself to a new method, but it can be done.

I hope that a combination of these techniques will help you find the Zen of knitting, and that you'll find both the therapeutic and meditative qualities of knitting that so many of us enjoy!
-- Judith


Send feedback!

Fill out the easy feedback form and let me know your thoughts, questions and ideas. I may feature your letter in an upcoming issue of Creative Knitting newsletter.

Get a FREE issue of Creative Knitting
just for giving it a try! (A $6.99 value, FREE!)
Creative Knitting
Knits With a Timeless Twist
Creative Knitting is big, beautiful and inspiring! It's clear and concise in its instruction. And it fits into your busy lifestyle with great-looking projects for every day! Go ahead. See for yourself what the fun is all about.
Creative Knitting
YES! Please send me my FREE ISSUE of Creative Knitting magazine and start my subscription. If I like my free issue, I'll simply pay the attached invoice and get one full year (4 more issues) for only $21.97 plus $1.98 delivery (Canada $21.97 + $9.98 delivery, US funds). That's one issue FREE and four more as part of my subscription! I'll also get a digital edition of each issue at no extra cost, including the free issue, plus two years of digital back issues with my paid subscription! In the unlikely event that I'm not pleased with my free issue, I'll return the invoice marked "cancel" and keep that issue as your gift to me -- and owe absolutely nothing.
First Name:
Last Name:
Address:
Address 2:
City:
State:
ZIP Code:
Email:
Don't miss out! Get email alerts about your new magazine subscription, special offers and savings from Creative Knitting and Annie's. Questions? Read our online privacy pledge.

Offer valid in U.S. only!
Canadian Orders
Give a gift subscriptionGive a Gift Subscription!







[X] Close
Magazine Subscription Offer!