In case it isn’t obvious, the title of my blog is Read | Knit | Learn and so far this year , I’ve only written one post about knitting, the rest of which have been about what I’ve read and learned. This omission of the Knit category isn’t for lack of inspiration or a change of creative heart. In fact, it’s been so difficult to not knit that even thinking about yarn or projects, watching YouTube channels about knitting, logging into Ravelry, or reading about knitting has been deeply saddening to me.
When I look back on my life, I really don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t enjoy crafts; whether it be making beaded necklaces, painting little wooden figurines, braiding friendship bracelets, stamping cards, or learning how to crochet in college. But when I learned how to knit in 2003, this captivated me in a way no other craft has.
However, last summer after I returned from the wonderful knitting retreat Super Summer Knitogether in Nashville, hosted by Leslie and Laura from TheKnitGirllls podcast, I began to experience periodic pain in my left pinkie finger. It wasn’t all the time and was only in my left pinkie but would flare up with knitting (gripping my yarn under my pinky, with the fingers curled under) and playing piano (extended, flexed hand motion, especially when playing an octave). So, I went on a self-imposed hiatus from both of these activities in August 2017, which coincided with the start of a new school year, the exact time when escaping to hobbies is a huge source of stress relief for me and made for a long Fall.
Even after returning to some knitting projects throughout the winter, my symptoms began to return this spring and now were also mildly felt in my right pinkie finger. Finally, after dealing with this for a year, I made an appointment with an orthopedic hand specialist at a large clinic in Tulsa, OK.
Under medical supervision we ruled out that it isn’t arthritis, tendinitis, or nerve damage, so this left the option of physical therapy. It seems counterproductive to me that using and stretching my muscles when they have been so sore will actually lead to building strength and bringing relief, but it has! I have now had three physical therapy sessions and have continued my homework twice daily – using a small stress ball and manipulating thick putty. I have seen significant improvement over the past few weeks thanks to my sessions with the therapists and the work that I’ve continued at home.
Even though it wasn’t prescribed, I’m now also using gel cushions for my computer keyboard and mouse at work and using Google docs voice typing to dictate e-mails when possible.
I’ve been hesitant for so long, afraid I would relapse, but my therapist said, “Go ahead and do your normal routine! There’s no way for us to know if this is working if you’re refraining from your usual activity.” So, while I’m not quite yet at 100%, I have made significant strides during this time and am slowly playing piano more at home and at church and picking up my knitting needles once more. Over the past few weeks I’ve finished two projects – hallelujah!
Pattern: Dish Cloth (Knit) from Lion Brand
Needles: US 6, 16″ circular Knit Picks Rainbow fixed circular needles
Yarn: Hobby Lobby, I Love This Cotton! – Lime Dot
Pattern: Friendly Fair Isle Hat
Needles: US 9, 16″ circular Knitter’s Pride fixed circular needles and 6″ DPNs (Misty Green)
Yarn: Red Heart – Pumpkin; Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice – Patchwork Grey
Patterns: Basic Baby Hat with Heart Motif Mittens
Cost: Free | Pay for pattern from Knit Simple Magazine, Winter 2015
Needles: US 6, 16″ circular Knit Picks Rainbow fixed circular needles & US 6, 5″ Brittany birch DPNs
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK – Molly Ringwald and Tart
Next in the knitting queue: more baby knits for friends expecting little ones this winter and spring!
If you’re a knitter or crocheter, have you ever been sidelined due to injury? How did you handle it and how are you doing now?