dear knitter: april 2016

April 13, 2016

DEAR KNITTER: The knitting pattern I am casting on calls for 6 different size needles. (Thank goodness for interchangeables!) The gauge it calls for is 20 stitches using 4mm (6US) needles. But for the yarn I'm using, I had to go up to 4.5mm (7US) to get that gauge. So, does that mean I bump up the sizes of all of the other needles by 0.5 mm as well? All in all, the original pattern calls for 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5 & 6 mm (4, 5, 7, 8, 9, & 10 US) needles. – NEEDLE SIZE MAYHEM

DEAR NEEDLE SIZE MAYHEM: You are absolutely right; if you did a swatch *pat on the back* using the needles & stitch pattern the pattern suggests and came to the conclusion to get proper gauge you need to go up in needle size, then you must also change the rest of your needle sizes accordingly. Meaning, your “4mm/ 6US” is now 4.5mm/7US, so your needle size range will now be: 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5mm (6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 10.5US).


April 06, 2016

DEAR KNITTER: I knit so much my arms and fingers and shoulders are starting to feel pain, any suggestions? – NO PAIN, NO GAIN

DEAR NO PAIN, NO GAIN: While knitting can be extremely beneficial for your brain, mind and soul, it can take on toll on your joints, arms, hands, shoulders & neck. When I knit I try to be conscious about how I am sitting; my shoulders and neck position, my arm placement and my back/spine stance. Of course, it is easy to slip into a spine hunch, hold your needles in a tight grip, drop your neck and sink your chin into double trouble so it is important to train yourself to reevaluate your stance every once in a while mid-knit.  It’s best if you can try not to look down at your knitting constantly, try to relax your shoulders and loosen your grip on your needles.  If your hands are hurting think about how you hold the yarn and needles, think about how you are moving from stitch to stitch; changing your stance from time to time or retraining your knitting style to a more comfortable position might be all it takes.  My mother reminds me to create bigger arm movements instead of tight hand/finger movements when working my yarn and stitches.  “Froggy” is what my husband whispers as a reminder to drop my shoulders, and stick out my chin when I get too cramped. If my hands or wrists are hurting I massage the area using BFC (bone, flesh, cartilage) cream or oil purchased from Gaia Garden in Vancouver BC Canada (they ship) right before bed, when I wake up the pain is often gone or greatly reduced. 

BFC oil

Here is a great exercise that really helps: stretch your arms to your sides shoulder height. Turn one wrist up facing out and one wrist down facing in.  Keeping your body facing forward turn your neck looking at your wrist pointing up.  Now switch: the wrist pointing up, point down; the wrist pointing down, point up; and rotate your neck to look at the wrist pointing up.arm wrist exercise

I certainly will not advise you to stop knitting or to cut down your “therapy;” rather, being aware of how you are knitting, your posture and way you move the yarn and stitches is key. Stop, stretch and reposition; try to improve posture and knitting stance.