Cramps in your fingers, heavy arms, a stiff back, pins and needles in your legs. The life of a keen handcrafter is far from glamorous. Now, you could think, “I’m going to take a break and put the work away, because no lives depend on it and tomorrow’s another day.” But that’s always easier said than done!
When working on large projects, you’re faced with meters of crochet or knitting work to produce—or for those venturing into the world of colorwork, even centimeters can feel like miles! And the phrase ‘blood, sweat and tears’ doesn’t even come close to encapsulating the enormous amount of effort and dedication that goes into the final piece. We know how it feels! But to make sure that you’re in fit condition for your (hopefully) many future knitting and crochet projects, put down your hook or needles and give us a moment of your time. We’ve put together some top tips for staying healthy while handcrafting. Sitting comfortably? Yes? Here we go!
1 | Stretch and stretch some more!
Stiffness and cramping are no fun and games. And until someone develops a way for you to both get moving and cast on a new project on those needles, you’re just going to have to do it the old-fashioned one: take a break and get up off that sofa! We’re not suggesting that you go dust off your old Jane Fonda workout videos (although, feel free!) or start dead-lifting weights in your living room (no, seriously, don’t try that at home). The following exercises are more than enough! ?
Exercises & Healthy Tips
- Get those fingers moving. Play (air) piano like a maestro or pretend you’re Janie Crowfoot, typing up your next bestselling crochet pattern. You can alternative this exercise with the following: stretch your fingers out and touch the tips of each finger to the thumb on the same hand. One by one. From left to right. And from right to left. And now the other hand.
- Next up, the arms. Stretch your arms above your head. As high as they can go! Do this one arm at a time, or both. The latter is the perfect choice if you happen to be handcrafting while watching your favorite team score a winning goal. Or your favorite contestant is through to the live shows. Whatever floats your boat.
- Once you’ve completed the exercises above, and worked a few more rows, it’s time to walk the dog. Real or imaginary. So up you get and off you go for a quick stroll around the block!
- With some fresh air in your lungs, it’s time to get back to your handiwork. Now comes a hugely important point: we can’t stress enough how important a good sitting position is! The most ergonomic position is with your bottom and back touching the backrest of your chair or sofa with both feet placed flat on the floor (a footstool is handy for anyone vertically challenged). Trust us, your back and neck will thank you!
- No drooping hands! If you craft with your work resting low on your lap, you’ll automatically curve your neck and shoulders forward. It may feel relaxing for your arms, but you’ll soon regret this crooked posture. It’s literally a pain in the neck! So, hold it up a bit.
- And last but certainly not least... use well-made ergonomic tools! Whether a crochet hook that fits perfectly in your hand or lightweight circular needles with angled connectors. This is a You’ll not regret the investment, believe me!
2 | The usual stuff!
While it’s important to keep moving and take a loo break here and there, it’s just as important to refuel regularly. We hereby give you permission to pour yourself another cuppa and make a quick snack. (Yes, blueberry muffins do count towards your five-a-day. Thanks for checking.) Sometimes you can get so engrossed in your project that time flies and you forget to eat and drink. But it’s crucial to keep your energy up so you have enough to finish off your masterpiece.
Don’t forget to make time for those around you during these little breaks. Catch up with your partner, family or friends over a cup of coffee. Find out what’s happening in their lives and get all the gossip; this way you’re up-to-date with all their latest news and they know you’re still alive! ?
And if you’re lucky enough to have great weather for crafting outdoors, then remember to slap on some SPF! There’s nothing more annoying than to discover, after a glorious day of crafting in the sun, that you’re as red as a beetroot. You’ll be stuck in the shade for the foreseeable future with your skin peeling like a snake. Not exactly something to look forward to, is it?!
3 | Zennnn....
And our last piece of advice for you is: Don’t let your handcrafting project become a burden. If you set yourself an unrealistic deadline by which to have it finished, alongside all your other daily and weekly commitments, you'll end up frantically working away at it, getting more and more stressed as the clock ticks on. This will inevitably impact you physically and mentally.
So, to keep both your body and mind healthy and well, it’s super important that you remember to take the pressure off finishing your creation. Focus on the journey, not the destination. Handcrafting is and should always be a great pleasure. That’s the whole point! If you do hit a wall and can’t figure out what to do next, take a break and put your work away for a while. If you’re not completely satisfied with what you’ve made so far, show it to someone else. Get a second opinion or some fresh ideas. And when all else fails, simply frog it! Yes, rip-it and rip-it, then start afresh, all the wiser for it.
And of course, we’re always there for you. Email or call us or send us a message via our social media accounts. We’d be happy to put our heads together with yours.
So, look after yourself and stay healthy while handcrafting, because it’s lots of fun and it will (if you follow these tips) keep being something you can enjoy for many days to come! ?