Working in an office setting, it’s not uncommon for me to periodically come across the term ergonomics. I’m reminded to mind my posture, not look at a computer screen for too long, and adjust my computer monitor and chair height. A lot of these recommendations can also apply to yarn crafting, whether it be knitting or crochet. Here are some tips so that crochet can be a pain-free experience.
My ideal crochet spot is right next to a window to get a good amount of natural light. The best times I actually get to crochet? On gloomy days or at night once my son is asleep. Since I can’t always count on great natural light (or, rather, take advantage of it), I make sure to crochet in a well-lit area. I have a regular floor lamp that works just fine but you could also invest in a craft lamp that gives off light similar to daylight.
Our eyes will strain and tire anytime we demand that they focus on one area for too long — crocheting is definitely one of those times. So along with using proper lighting, your eyes will also appreciate a break from time to time. You can do something as simple as looking up at the opposite wall for a few seconds every few minutes. I also recommend doing eye exercises at least once an hour or more often if you notice your eyes hurting sooner.
Hands and Wrists…and Elbows, too
Even though crochet is a gentle hobby (I’m thinking: in comparison to jet skiing or tackle football), our hands can really take a beating. The very repetitive motion that is calming to many, can become painful if we crochet for too long without taking a break. I will admit: I often get carried away and tell myself “one more row” until my wrists start yelling in pain. To prevent strain to your hands, wrists, and even your elbows, be sure to do hand/arm stretches often. Here’s an excellent hand, wrist, and finger stretching routine video from SmartStretch.
Look at the picture on the right. If you replace the laptop for a crochet project, does it resemble you? If so, you’re sitting wrong! Ideally, you should crochet in a seat/sofa/chair that allows you to have both of your feet flat on the floor, gives you great back support, and is comfy. If your choice of seating doesn’t support your back, you can always place a pillow on your lower for back support. I, personally, don’t like sitting with my feet on the floor but I do sit in a recliner with the foot rest up; this still allows me to keep my back and legs and straight.
– Don’t sit for too long. Get up, move around, get some good circulation going to your legs.
– Shake it out! Set your work down, get up, and shake from your head down to your feet. It’s fun, and funny for anyone watching you. You reserve the right to do this only in the comfort of your own home.
– Show your shoulders and back some love. Every half hour alternate between shoulder/neck/back stretches and hand/wrist/arm stretches.
– Know when to stop. Sometimes there is no amount of stretches or breaks that will feel better than just leaving your project until the next day. If going to bed is the alternative – always choose sleep…you know who you are, Up-All-Night Crocheters.
– Above all: be kind to yourself.
What other things do you do to avoid pains and aches of crochet? Let me know in the comments section below.