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Stitching with Healthy Hands: Identifying the problem

You just sat down to stitch, the baby is sleeping, the husband is busy and your project is calling you… You pick up your needles or hook and then you realize ouch that hurt. Really?… Yes. Really? How disappointing as you were finally looking forward to some time to relax.

So what are your options? Many stitchers put down their project, others work through it and others try another hobby. I am happy to say there is another choice. You can treat your injury. Yes you read that right your injury… Your hands are athletic… (yes you read that right too) Regardless of what the USOC says about knitting and crocheting, your hands are engaging in a long distance endurance event and they can get injured as a result. (Think about how many miles you have knit/crocheted!)

Injury can happen many different ways, Lets explore how:

1) A new technique:

Scenario: You just returned home from your latest stash enhancing trip to the yarn shop, with a new pattern in hand, freshly wound yarn (can you smell that wool…  heavenly?) and you sat down for a marathon of stitching which you do regularly… but there is a difference instead of your usual choice of cables you decide to learn how to knit entrelac or crochet entrelac.You sat intently and are making progress but now when you go to pick it up there is pain.

Cause: The new technique has changed the way you grip your needles and now your body needs to accommodate

2) Weather

Scenario: The storm of the season has rolled into to town to stay for a while and the change in weather has caused your hands to ache and your arthritis to act up.

Cause: A circumstance out of your control but maybe a little pampering can get you back to stitching in no time.

3) A new yarn weight:

Season: The season just changed and it was time to put down your favorite chunky yarn and have discovered a gorgeous lace weight yarn. The change changes the way you hold your needles and yes its time for your body to accommodate.

Cause: The new technique has changed the way you grip your needles and now your body needs to accommodate

4) Changing your style:

Scenario: You just went to your favorite knit night at your fave local shop (mine is the Village Knitter on Thursday nights in Babylon) and Ms. Jane Knitter was touting the benefits of knitting her way (Continental, English, German, Portugese, Combination) and you rush home to learn this technique so you can join the cool stitchers next week and the result is … pain.

Cause: The new technique has changed the way you grip your needles and now your body needs to accommodate

4) Poor Mechanics

Scenario #1: You got together this morning with your favorite tennis player and you play a killer game. Seriously you had to be there, you get home to stitch and now your elbow hurts….

Scenario #2: It’s report time at work and you have been typing all day long and when you sit down to stitch… bam… pain…

Cause: Changes in our daily routine that are not normal to our body and we need to accommodate

Possible solutions:

1) Ice:

The perfect remedy for a new injury, 10 minutes on and an hour off, repeat a couple times a day

WARNING: Please do not ice for more than 10 minutes its not good for your skin and may cause frost bite

How it works: It helps to decrease blood flow to the area and clear the area of inflammatory producing exudates (i.e.yucky stuff that makes us feel cruddy)

2) Heat:

Perfect for the ache that won’t go away. If its been persistent or you have a history of arthritis this is the choice for you

Tip: Moist heat is better than dry heat as it penetrates deeper into the muscle tissue.

WARNING: Please follow manufactures instructions on the proper usage of the hot pack you purchase and also do not use for longer than 10 minutes to prevent burning.

I hope that helps those suffering with stitching relating injuries. I will be blogging throughout the next couple days other ways to keep your stitching hands healthy.

Would you like to know more… I am teaching at the national TKGA and CGOA conference on Sunday July 27th from 9 am-12 pm a class called Healthy Hands which an experience based class that will teach you how to keep your hands healthy!

Register until June 30th and save!!! http://www.theknitandcrochetshow.com

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