Hi, everyone, and hope you’re having a blessed and relaxing Sunday. I know I am. Just finished a nice lunch, poked around Ravelry, and am settling into my Heaven-only-knows-what-number cup of Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea.
As predicted in the 2nd post (two days ago? three?), I fell down the rabbit hole again and started another bunny. I always start my patterns with the head, because, honestly, I like the toys looking at me while I’m making them. The writer in me imagines them developing their personality as they stare at me. So if you hear me talking a little bit to my toys or making animal noises appropriate to the kind of animal I’m making, don’t be alarmed. This is a normal part of the creative process for me.
Now that night has come upon us and I have the house all to myself, it is time for me to focus on the business part of my crafting; my toys. I may have a 7pm to 7am job three days a week, but the rest of the week my hours are usually 8 or 9pm to 3 or 4am. I have some pretty sweet hours, if I may say so myself.
Anyway, rambling. I wanted to talk a little bit about ways to save your hands. As crocheters/knitters, we use our hands a lot. Hence, they undergo a lot of strain. I mean, I’ve only been up for five hours and I’ve already done significant work on three different projects. And that doesn’t include my designs.
I have found in my year of designing crochet toys that crocheting in the round is particularly hard on the hands and wrists. And not just your primary hand; my yarn holding hand aches at times as well. Other than stopping (not an option, in my book) what is an obsessive crafter to do?
Make other adjustments. And I’ll just run over with you some of the techniques I have adopted to best protect my hands.
- Alternate types of projects. This one is pretty simple. If crocheting is hurting your hands, switch off to a knitting project. This has actually proven to be quite helpful for me.
- Take breaks. Stop and get a cup of tea. Read a chapter of a book (I would suggest some of the histories by Alison Weir if you are looking for ideas). Draw or write. Or catch up online. I can’t tell you how abysmally behind I am in my Ravelry podcast group.
- Use a larger hook. Okay. But what if you need a small sized hook? Are you doomed to always make ginormous toys that would be more at place on a giant’s bed? You don’t have to use a larger hook size, just a larger grip. There are plenty of hook makers that are catching onto this need in the crafting community. Crochet Dude is one type of hook that caters to that. My personal favorite, pictured below, is the Clover Amour Crochet Hook. Pay attention to your mm sizes if you use the Clover Amour hook, though; the G size is a 4.0 mm instead of a 4.25 mm like in some hook sets. These hooks have done much to increase the amount of time I can crochet without pain.
- Support Gloves. Hey look above: perfect segue into this point. What I’m wearing above is my Thergonomic Hands-On Support Gloves. Now I’m sure there are other brands that work; this is the one that works for me. The idea is that the gloves fits well enough to rub your muscles while your crafting, providing a massage and keeping them from the muscles causing pain for tightening up from overuse. I started off only using this on my primary hand (the right hand) but now have taken to wearing it on my left hand (my yarn-holding hand) as well. I don’t crochet without them on anymore.
- Super balls. Yes, you read that right. Super balls. These small balls are a hand-saver. When all the other techniques don’t seem to do any good, I use the balls to gently rub the muscles of my hand and help them to relax. It works surprisingly well.
Actually, let me insert a video below. I found it very interesting and runs through various exercises. I don’t own the rights to the video or any of the information included within it. But I can’t keep this kind of gold to myself.
I hope you find this information helpful. It may not be helpful for everyone. Some people may actually have conditions that need to managed by surgery, therapy, etc. — conditions such as carpal tunnel, etc. If you believe that you have a medical condition that may need to be checked out by your doctor, do not take this advice as a replacement to seeing your doctor and getting the help you need.
All right, all, I hope that you all have a good night. It’s time for me to get back to “work”!