My Ravellenics project was going along as easily as a curler’s stone on ice right up until last week. Apparently spending a long time on the phone at work with my head cocked at an angle holding my phone while clicking through hundreds of photos was a bad idea. I got off the phone and had very little strength in my right hand with a lot of pain. I stretched. I gave myself a little shoulder rub. I stretched some more. It helped, but only a little.
It was a strong reminder of how important proper posture and ergonomics are. In thinking back to a class I took with Carson Demers in August, I knew I needed to think through what I should change about my knitting habits and techniques.
- Be seated properly. Feet on the floor with legs at a 90 degree angle. This is next to impossible in our living room with the current configuration, but relatively speaking I don’t spend all that much time there. It is very possible to do at the desk I spend so much time at. I have to remind myself to sit up straight!
- Stretch. This list of hand exercises for knitters is golden.
- Take breaks often. This not only means get up and walk around, but it also means drink a glass of water. It’s easy to forget that water is the natural lubricant in our bodies.
- Change it up. I know it is not good for my body to work exclusively on one project at a time. It’s always better if I have one or two projects that I can alternate with. Generally this is one fingering weight project and one project with worsted or heavier weight, or one with a significantly looser gauge. This alternating of projects gives my hands a break.
- Use good tools. I’m a big believer in using good tools when it comes to knitting. I use good needles and am picky when it comes to the quality of the yarn I use. In this case, I was using both good needles and good yarn and they were suited for each other. But you see, the mouse I was clicking with was not such high quality. I also wasn’t using the soft gel pad that I often put under my wrist to remind myself to lift up my hand as I’m click clicking away at photos.
Obviously, every knitter is different and your mileage may vary. However, I find reminding myself of these things is very helpful. And if you ever have the opportunity to take a Carson Demers class, I highly recommend it. He’s smart and funny and knows his stuff.
My Ravellenics project may not get done as quickly as I would like, but I continue to make progress on it. The sleeves are finished and I’m working on the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater. I’m debating if the inside of my pockets should be a contrasting color, so I’m holding off on those for a bit. To change things up I’m also doing a baby hat here and there in worsted weight. See? I’m actually taking my own advice!