Knitting Ergonomics

Hello, everyone. NanaGenie here. I am new to this forum and would like to have a discussion about knitting ergonomics; specifically for those with physical challenges. I have arthritis in pretty much all of my body, and I am finding it hard to find just the right position in which to knit. Yes, I’m a senior citizen. I have many skeletal issues, and I am diabetic. Could anyone offer advice or suggestions on specific chairs, etc., that you might have found helpful in situations similar to mine? I have tried many things short of buying yet another piece of furniture, but still haven’t found the right one. I just want to say I appreciate your participation and thank you. Love this forum. I learn something new everyday.:slight_smile:

I don’t know of a specific chair. I try to change where I knit so that I’m in different chairs, all with good support. It’s also good to take frequent breaks, get up and do something else, if possible.
I’ve also heard that continental knitting (picking) is easier on hands than English knitting (throwing).
I’m hoping there are others with first hand experience who can help.

Thanks so much for your response. I do all the things you suggested, and they do help, but, alas, not enough. It’s not so much my hands, as it is my spine! Happy knitting to you and thanks again.

I have arthritis in my cervical spine, but fortunately I found diet helps so I’m not in pain often. (I’m 63)

I echo what Salmonmac said, but you said you already do that. Knitting with a different method may help with more than hands since some ways of knitting may have less stress on arms and shoulders which can also affect spine. Or alternate them if you can although that can affect gauge if you do it within a pattern.

Hi there NanaGenie, I am Wolfie. I am 66, I too have skeletal issues,
type 2 diabetic, knees replaced, lower back surgery, hip replacement,
and arthritis. I tried a plastic back lower back support item that I saw
at a local department store. I placed it in a soft arm chair. It HELPED!
You never know. Now, what about knitting?. My Neurologist said that
knitting is a contributor to my boarder line carpal tunnel in the right
hand. What I do when I knit is to change from knitting to “Parlor
Knitting”… That helps. Also, I read where people with hand issues are
switching to Peruvian or over the shoulder knitting. Also, buying knitting
pins which they attach to a shirt and bring the yarn down from that pin
You can see picture of this strange form of knitting on line. However,
trading back and forth between “Parlor” and “left” and “right” hand styles
has kept me in pretty good shape thus far. If you have not tried "Parlor"
style.Try looking it up. The right needle is balanced sort of like a
pencil between the thumb and pointer finger in a relaxed position.
You move your R. arm forward and back without using any gripping
of your R. hand. It truly gives the R. hand a rest from the standard
right hand position. These things have helped me to keep knitting
in relative comfort for years.
You may observe “parlor” being used on instructional DVDs so that
the instructor’s R. hand stays out of the sight of the camera.
I hope my way of doing things will work well for you.

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NanaGenie, Lucy Neatby uses the “Parlor” technique in her DVDs.
She has wonderful DVDs where you will be able to view the use of
"Parlor" knitting. I just though that you may truly enjoy her instructions.
Well, Good luck

This is great information, Wolfie, thanks.

Try Portuguese Knitting, too. I’m not sure if it’s just another name for what Wolfie said or a different method. I’ve never heard of the ones she mentioned, but there is a discussion in here about Portuguese Knitting.

I should have said Portuguese for the above technique. However the over the shoulder
knitting used in Peruvian or (over the shoulder) style is a variation of the Portuguese
in many ways. The yarn, in the Peruvian style is fed from over the shoulder where the
yarn is kept. In Portuguese style a pin is used to feed the yarn from near the shoulder.
I have been told that the Peruvian (Portuguese) knitting uses less hand motion.
And therefor is good for arthritis. I have heard that in Peru there are groups of boys
and men sitting and Peruvian knitting very fast. They make Chullo hats which they
sell. Your DVD tells more about the history of this style. I, personally, have not
learned it as yet. I may add it to my collection of variations on knitting for slowing
down the carpal tunnel syndrome. I believe that changing knitting styles during the
knitting process may prevent carpal tunnel. At least you are not repeating the same
identical movement for long periods of time. My neurologist has reservations about
repetitive knitting. However, he is picturing the typical knitting. He didn’t know that
one could hold the working yarn and the needles in different ways.
I am certainly NOT going to give up knitting.

I just hadn’t heard of it called anything else, but apparently all those methods are similar. It’s nice there are multiple methods of knitting.

And yes and I’m sure your doctor hadn’t a clue. :joy:

I tried to educate him a little bit, after he said that knitting causes
carpal tunnel. May be he heard what I said . If he is a doctor who
deals with carpal tunnel in his practice, he should become aware
of things that may be helpful for knitters. Rather than saying,
“stop knitting, it causes carpal tunnel”.

He & my orthopedist are more than thrilled to suggest taking
extreme nerve pain drugs !
YA… What could possibly go wrong with that idea ? !!!

MOST doctors are all about the drugs… Statins, pain med, diabetes med…anything, but diet or other treatment!!

Trying to educate him is all you can do whether it’s knitting or medication. Docs tried to give me pain med for my arthritis. I told them it no longer hurt and they asked how I did it. I gave up grains and the pain went away. Imagine that.

Excellent! Just a question. Was this pattern charted ?
Just curious. I always like charts. They give you such a nice
"blue print" to check with your written directions.

Yes, that’s weird how gluten messes with your life. You would think
that grain would be wholesome. I’m all into almonds & almond flour.
I find that most of my DOCTOR$ are more worried about getting out
of the examination room and to the next patient than spending a
second listening or talking about your problem.
That adds up to about $1,000.00 a minute by my calculations.
Got to make those Rolls Royce payments on time !!!

Sorry…The first answer was for the Cabled Sweater. Then I
went to your post and forgot to hit reply for the other. Oh well,
it was just a side note. Not important…

This was a comment that I made about a cable sweater. I didn’t send it.
Now it popped up here. Someone sent me instructions on what to do.
This is all new to me so I didn’t understand the instructions. I was talking
to Jan at the time.

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You’re not alone, Wolfie, we’re all still figuring out this forum. It’s definitely smarter than me at the moment! haha.

@Jan_in_CA I think I’ve heard you mention that before about giving up wheat to rid yourself of arthritis, but I forgot entirely. I’m glad to hear it – I believe it! I’m only 42 but I get horrible arthritic symptoms if I have caffeine. I think this is unusual. My doctor says caffeine can be inflammatory for some people, I guess I’m just one of them. I was so relieved when I figured out all I had to do was stop drinking decaf tea (yeah, just that little bit was doing it) to get rid of it. The other day I had some pain and I was wondering what I might have eaten, since I knew it wasn’t caffeine. It’s crazy how food can affect us!

@amy Yeah, it made a huge difference. I had no idea caffeine could be inflammatory! Fortunately that doesn’t bother me. I still get some pain on occasion and don’t know what is causing it. But, arthritis damages the joints and that can’t be corrected, but less inflammation does help a lot.

No knitting…no coffee. Gee whizz, the two things I look forward to.
Well, isn’t that special.