Enforced Knitting Breaks Are No Fun.

My wrists hurt.

Sometimes, I knit a bit too much in one session. Often, the student side of my life, or some part of one of my jobs, requires a LOT of typing or handwriting in a short span of time (ie. hand writing comments onto 40+ essays in a couple of days, or doing revisions to a dissertation chapter in one very focussed weekend).

Even one of those activities tends to aggravate my wrists and forearms, but if there’s more than one going on at once, I can be pretty certain I’m going to have a flare up of “UGH WTF WRISTS”, as I think of it.

Unfortunately, when this happens to me, it seems to take far longer to heal the injury than it did to cause it in the first place. A couple of days of high-intensity wrist activity, and I end up facing a week, or more, of NO KNITTING time.

This is what’s been going on in the last week! Siiiiiiigh. It’s a HUGE bummer. And, remember this post? Not being able to knit makes managing my stress way more challenging for me.

Instead of knitting, to keep myself busy, I’ve been reading a lot (I just finished John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines – verdict: interesting, but nowhere near as good as The Fault In Our Stars or Looking for Alaska; I’m also just finishing up Joan Jacobs Brumberg’s The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls, and starting Carrie Pitzulo’s Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy, going for walks by the ocean (which I love doing even when I CAN knit), and watching lots of documentaries (The Loving Story, for example, is AMAZING – and it’s on netflix right now!).

Despite those fun activities, I am DYING to get back to knitting on my chevron stripe blanket. Hopefully soon… in the meantime, I’m going to keep icing my wrists and trying to stay busy. Do you have strategies for keeping your knitting muscles happy or helping them heal when they get hurt?

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11 thoughts on “Enforced Knitting Breaks Are No Fun.

    • Judi, I LOVE it! I will definitely be trying that exercise! (Okay, maybe not in public… :) ) I almost never use straight needles anymore, either – all circulars or dpns for me! Also, your blog is GORGEOUS – instafollowed!!

      • I’m a waitress and do this exercise at work all the time, I get some pretty odd looks, haha. Glad it helps though, my friend taught me it and it was a god send! Thanks for the follow, will also be keeping up with your knitting exploits ;)

  1. I think we all feel your pain. Rotator cuff aches after too much knitting so I just read a bit. Fiber Farming by Barbara Parry (couldn’t put it down) and Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore (lots of interesting history and beautiful pictures) and now it’s on to Jane Austen (decommissioned library book) looks promising. But I can still knit buttonhole tabs for Blackberry Aran. Maybe I’ll try to post pictures of it as well as Shepherd at the same time.
    If you can’t knit you can always go out and add to stash!! Lorna’s Laces is headquartered here (Chicago) and once a year she invites my knitters’ guild down to purchase mill ends and one offs. Dangerous store!! I was pretty controlled this year.

    • Thanks Elaine :) It does help to know I’m in good company! I’ve been meaning to check out Barbara Perry’s book, thanks for the reminder!! I like your strategy, too – find some small knitting related task to do (like your buttonholes – or maybe weaving in ends).
      Ha ha adding to the stash sounds lovely, when budget permits!! I bet Lorna’s Laces is AMAZING in person :)

      • Barbara Parry is fabulous – I love her sheep share! I have to let the book air out some before I can read it – hopefully soon. I have some links I got from folks for exercise – I sent myself a reminder – I’ll send you a pm on Rav. And I’m sorry those wrists are acting up…..

  2. When I learned how to do fair isle knitting I went at it with both hands, literally, and in 4 days did so much damage to the tendons in both wrists I couldn’t knit for three months. For that matter, I couldn’t hold a book up or write much more than my name and turning the key in the ignition was excruciating. Rest, ice, anti-inflamitories and very gentle stretching did the trick. Patience is not a virtue I was born with so you know it almost killed me to go that long but I think my wrist and finger joints are stronger, more flexible, because I took that time off.

    • Thank you so much for your words Linda! I actually find your story super encouraging – if you could heal up after such a major injury, even if it took a long time, I know I can too. I just have to be patient and it’ll get better!! So far lots of rest, ice, and arnica are helping :)

  3. I can’t imagine you without your knitting! Have you ever tried lever knitting, or as Yarn Harlot calls it, Irish Cottage knitting? In addition to being the fastest knitting method it uses completely different muscle groups. In theory if you alternate that method with your normal knitting technique you help to avoid repetitive motion injury. I’ve been watching videos and practicing for the past few months. If you Google “Yarn Harlot” +”speed knitting” (include the quotes) you’ll find some very helpful videos. There is also a Rav group of supportive folks. It feels terribly awkward at first but it does get more natural as you practice. And the resulting fabric is so even and beautiful, even my beginner pieces. I’m doing pretty good with straights and DPNs but am still trying to master lever with circs. Give it a try!

    • Bonnie, you’re so sweet! I know just what you mean about the Yarn Harlot’s knitting style – I should try it out! I am a thrower, so that probably makes the potential for injury greater. I love that you had a real practical suggestions for me!! :) And I totally admire you for trying something new and sticking with it.

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