I went through the first half of Knitting Comfortably by Carson Demers at the beginning of April. There is a lot to digest here, so it seemed better to take it in two pieces and this is the second half of the book.
Knitting Comfortably May Be Repetitive
Like anyone who does repetitive tasks, I am both aware of the toll of repetition, and I want to ignore it. Acknowledging that allowed me to be a little more open when I went through this chapter. I did realize almost immediately that I like needles between US size 3(3.00 or 3.25mm) and US size 6(4mm). I don’t often grab things that need larger needles because I don’t like bulky yarn. I did realize as I persisted, that maybe if I change up the type of knitting that will help. So, given the fact that I do like that size range of needles, I think I better pay attention to the stretching and taking breaks.
Bad Vibes vs. Knitting Comfortably
It has been a long time since I knitted anything black. I need to make a black Go High Hat, and I don’t even have yarn for that because I shy away from anything too dark. I think my worst problem is that I lay my pattern & charts on the couch next to me when I knit, so I’m always turned and looking down to read them. I also do this with other things I’m reading, so I would really benefit from addressing this. We all know that lighting is important, and if you think of your knitting needles and how they interact with your yarn choice, these are things that can be changed.
The Tools of Knitting Comfortably
We all know how important our knitting tools are. I have preferences in almost every category of tool, and I think we should all use this as a reason to only use the tools we like and work well for us.
The composition of your yarn has so much information locked inside it! Fiber, preparation, spinning, plying, twist. All of this can add up to knitting comfort or stress. We use other tools that we don’t even think about, but I kind of loved the discussion about bags. Most of which I will never follow. I was interested in Carson’s discussion about winding yarn. Then there are stitch markers, blocking boards, and all the tools we use–or could use!
Early Intervention for Knitting Comfortably
This is the stuff we don’t want to know. Fortunately, there is little of it that we need to know unless that is your job. We need to know how to react to pain and discomfort. Most of us have the wrong response, which is to ignore it. Early intervention is your friend.
Before I go any further, I want to mention the final chapter.
Taking the Next Step to Knitting Comfortably
Here in Chapter 13 Carson gives us a way forward. Yes, he gives physical exercises in Chapter 11, and has Swatchortunities throughout, but we know we need a plan to do them. This is where to go, I think, before you go to Prevention and Your Computer. You probably can think of at least one thing you would like to improve. Let Carson help you set a plan, then go back and look at the remaining two chapters.
- How I sit.
- General posture (I’m working on holding my torso more erect)
- Keeping my feet on the floor
- Get up!
- Do some stretches
- Finding a solution to having my pattern on the seat of the couch.
- Get a document holder
- Look at how I hold my phone.
- Try not to hold it in my hand for extended periods
- Pay attention to how I sit when I use it
Prevention is the Key to Knitting Comfortably
Yes, I wish there was a different answer. I’ve been at a retreat with Carson, and I’ll tell you the pause for stretching makes such a difference. He’s got lots of stretches, and I know myself, so I’m going to try to add just one or two to start. More importantly is to get out of my chair. I already do some of the stretches, but I might need to reconsider how I’m doing them, and obviously, the frequency. I like things I can do while I’m running, so if you see me doing wrist and thumb exercises while running down the street you will know why!
Knitting Comfortably and the Computer
This is more a problem for me since I spend the bulk of my time at a computer. Most of this relates back to my posture, so yay! I can solve two work environments with that. I do not ever sit properly in my chair. I perch on the edge, which then makes me tip my neck oddly. I recently noticed that while I’m pretty good at my computer, I fall back into some really bad habits when sitting at the working portion of my desk.
So I got through the entire book without feeling terribly discouraged. In fact, I felt really hopeful about being able to make some changes that I already knew I should make. I am feeling more energized as I get back to running to remember to do my arm, wrist and hand exercises. Maybe I’ll do more stretching. I hate stretching.
The first step of your plan is to buy this book. If you don’t read it now, at least it will be handy when you first feel that pain or discomfort and reality sets in.