Knitting Needles For EDS & Pain

May 15th, 2014

When you are a keen knitter (or any thing else) and you are faced with a condition which over time means you struggle with hobbies you once loved, it can be difficult to accept. This is the case for people with Ehlers-Danols syndrome (EDS) <that’s me! hypermobility syndrome (HMS) and arthritis as well as many other conditions!

I struggled on for a while with my metal needles and I wondered why I was not enjoying it and getting so achy,I knew this day would come and as with so many other things I knew it was the beginning of the end to my knitting, though hard to accept it was just one of those thing with EDS, you make the most of what you can do and you struggle on as much as you can until you either do it a lot less or have to stop altogether. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying at the first hint of a problem I give up, I would like to think I keep going until the choice is made for me, but I think when I start to struggle with things the little me in the back of my head says it is nearly the time to put this hobby aside.

Well, me not being the type to give up on what I love quite so easily, and  me just being stubborn! thought that if I had to give up knitting it would not be without a fight!

It wasn’t long before I learned that metal needles send vibrations up your arm and reach your neck and back, so not all that surprising I had very sore achy shoulders and neck then…so off I trotted to buy some bamboo needles, lovely!

I really did like them, and i did feel quite a bit of benefit using them, but there were a few problems, the thinner ones broke a lot, the amount of 4mm needles I went trough!… and my arms still ached!

Although there was some relief the main problem now was the amount of arm movement I was doing. I tried all sorts of things, knitting continental style (holding yarn in other hand) putting the needle under my arm, or between my legs, but it was all so awkward! And I still had all that weight to hold!

As I was assessing what the problem was I realized that the weight of what I was knitting was an awful lot, it is rather heavy on the needles and as it grows it just gets heaver!

So with a bit of a search on my laptop (a lot of searching about) and some research, I found that circular needles take the weight really well, it’s not all about knitting in the round and in my case I use them for both flat and circular, it is about taking the weight of what you are knitting to give your muscles and joints a rest, and shorter needles so arms aren’t flapping around like a chicken (you all know what I mean!)

The circular needles that most shops sell are metal ones, and as I had already ruled this out I had a search for bamboo and acrylic, this is when I came across the knit-pro range, they had such a good range of straight needles, DPN’s, circular needles…everything! woohoo!

And then the best discovery of all…a whole range of interchangeable circular needles 😮

This means you can choose the type of ‘tips’ you want and the length of cable and screw the needle size you want on to the cable length you want to use, there are even really short cables and needles so you can knit small things in the round, I really like the super short ones, in the round or not! and the thin (3.25-4mm) ones don’t break easily like my old long bamboo ones! The sets are a reasonable price and you get lots of needle tips and some cables, adding to he set is much cheaper too as you only need to buy the tips, my husband also bought me some connectors that attach cables together so you an have one really long cable to knit on.

The cable is much thinner than the needles, this is because once you have knitted onto your needle the size of the stitch has been made and when it drops off the needle tip it doesn’t get smaller it stays to the size of the needle you have been using.

They do so many different types of tips, most have great reviews and I have chatted to a lot of people about them who also love them, one or two tips people are not so keen on but others are, I guess it depends on what you are looking for in your needles! best thing to do it give them a try and make your won decision, they do starter packs with a few different tips (made of different material) and since I first discovered knit-pro they have started selling cubic needles which are said to help with grip so sound perfect for people like me!

Also as a little side note, my son has HMS and he can knit, he has always struggled more than other children I have taught but I one day he picked up my needles cast on and knitted away so I bought him his own fixed circular needles and he is away with the knitting 🙂

As with anything new it takes a little while to get the hang of but not only have I found that my pain is much better I have also found I am much quicker too!

Knit-pro aren’t the only company who sell interchangeable knitting needles but I have spoken to  a lot of people about them and they say they like them the most, some people have even switched over to them from other interchangeable sets.

A few years ago I really thought I would be turning my back on knitting, another hobby along with horse riding, hiking, cycling, yoga…you get my drift, another hobby I felt had come to an end and I was (and just about am) still in my 20’s.

Thanks to knit-pro I am knitting away, making things for schools, charity’s and films, and weddings, I am designing and returning to the artistic side of me, I would really like to sell more knitting to people, give me a purpose and not let my EDS take over my whole life!

So anyone out there feeling the need to give up, have a search around, find something that can be adapted to your needs, not just in knitting or crochet (they do great hooks too!) but for lots of hobbies there are many items that can help with the problems we are having, a little time and research and you may just find the thing you need.

Thank you to hyper-mobility association for giving me something to think about xx

 

by Juniper Askew

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