Needle size adjustment

OK, if it weren’t for beginners asking weird questions, life would be boring.

Has anyone expereniced eye strain working with smaller needles? I started out with a size 13, and life was good and I was happy. Now, my new project, a sweater, calls for a size 6 needle and when I get to the purl step, I can feel eye strain and a headache starting.

Is this normal? Are there some people that just cannot use small needles.

I am alittle bummed about this. :wall: Any tips.


When I went from crocheting afghans to crocheting doilies, all of a sudden I was all thumbs…thin thread, tiny hook, small stitches. I focused a lot better if I had my glasses on rather than contacts, and the lighting had to be pretty good, too. Size six isn’t all that small – maybe you just need some time to adjust. :shrug: Good luck!

Try holding the work at varying distances from your eyes, which feels best?
Also, I get sore eyes from looking at close-up work: there’s a vast improvement if you remember to look away from your work every row or two and focus on something further away. Do it for more than 3 seconds. I find it very helpful.


I don’t like using smaller needles, just because they’re harder to hold (makes my tendons hurt) and there’s so many stitches. I knit sweaters on size 10.5 or 7mm and 7.5mm with worsted. But I like the looser stitches too. I think a denser stitch for a sweater would be much to warm for me.


Sarah, I will try to take your advice, on looking away once in a while. It seems to be the purling that really gets me.

I am determined to complete this project, my next will be with a large needle, I think.

Gee, does this mean no sock knitting for me, because small needles aren’t my favorite right now. :pout:

Thanks everyone.

I find for me the most important thing is good light. I guess I am at the age that it makes a difference. :teehee: Maybe a pair of glasses just for knitting might help too. I just got a pair and I only use it for knitting when the stitches are small and the yarn is dark. He gave me a weak perscription but it makes a difference.

Marilynn, another thing that makes a difference is light or dark colored yarn. Stitches are easier to see with a lighter color; black can be difficult especially with smaller needles.


“Knitting glasses” (reading glasses in a strength that sharpens your vision while knitting). Even if you don’t need glasses for reading or distance.

Bright, non-glare light focused on the knitting.

Blink. It moisturizes your eyes and renews the tear film that de-fuzzes your vision.

Re-focus. Every time you finish a row, look at the far the side of the room.

Lubricant eye drops. Also called “artificial tears.” Even better than blinking. They soothe your eyes and keep them moist. Three good drugstore brands are Refresh, Tears Naturale and Systane. Do NOT use astringent eye drops that promise to “get the red out.”

Magnifier. One of those things that clips around your head and has lenses several inches from your eyes. Some of them come with several sets of lenses for different degrees of magnification; some have a light included. Another type of magnifier hangs around your neck and rests on your chest, but I don’t find it comfortable for knitting.

I was going to say get a really good light. Look for one that says something like “vision saver”, “natural light”, “daylight” or “craft and hobby lighting”. It made a huge difference for me. I picked one up for $20 at Home Depot and it works pretty well except when I’m using dark yarn.

Thanks again guys, I knit by a Ott Lite, so I don’t think it is the light.

I just have to relax and take a breather more often. It is the purling that is getting to me.


I experience the same problem when socknitting. For me it’s as you said, more strain with smaller knitting. I do as everyone else said, good light, use my glasses and I find that if I just stop knitting and close my eyes for a few minutes that they are then fine when I open them and begin knitting.