Any job comes with added dangers. There’s dangers to your vision if you’re at the computer 24/7. There’s danger to your feet if you’ve to stand up all day. There’s danger to your face if you work at a seedy bar in a rough area.
With knitting, it’s our hands and neck.
Last year, I knitted/crocheted the grand total of 27 pieces either for self-publishing or for books and magazines. That’s a lot of handiwork. I have a friend who is a my regular massage therapist and I see every 2 weeks, but in the beginning it was every week - why? Because we don’t take care of ourselves. I had knots the size of a watermelon.
BEING MINDFUL TO YOUR BODY
A while ago, while I was being
abused massaged by my nemesis friend, we discussed ways to ensure our bodies don’t rebel against us because of knitting. Here’s the what:
- Standing up VERY straight, tilt your neck forward and to the side. Hold and release as required, repeat for the other side.
- Extend your fingers as often as you can, think of a piano player trying to warm up.
- Interlock your hands and hold them like that while you bring your arms up ALL the way. Break the lock, bring the arms down by the sides.
- Roll your shoulders.
- Roll your neck.
Do all of them not as a warm up, but TAKE BREAKS to do them, and do them again when you’re finished for the day.
My 2 cents, if you want them, add up to this:
- Don’t overdo the knitting.
- If you have a partner or friend willing, ask them to dig their fingers into your arm and run them down. It helps me get the circulation going.
I have comfort wrist/hand braces for when the going gets tough – but I can’t wear them while I knit, which ensures I can’t cheat.
From my old handball days I can tell you if you abuse a particular finger (in my case, index because I do a circular motion around the needle to wrap the stitch), once you stop knitting, get some of that micropore tape (aka papertape and available for pennies at your local drugstore) and tape the offending finger to the nearest one, in neutral position. Speaking to other designer friends, the pinky finger is a regular suspect – you’d tape it to your ring finger.
It became apparent as I was filling up my year with projects that I needed a team of knitters behind me. Some pieces need a faster shipping time. Others need a detailed knitter that can make a garment for me to have on shows – since the originals either get lost or are kept with the yarn companies. Some I plainly had no time for.
Don’t be scared to ask for help – if you are a designer, chances are some good friend has the required skill set and can help you out. But please, do reward them for their time! I have bartered classes and mentoring for a sample, but I also agree on a fee. Be mindful to your body but mindful of theirs too!
So from the depths of my heart and the knots in my back, thank you my dearest sample knitters. Without you, I would have lost a lot of sleep and the feeling in my right arm.