Chronic Pain & Crafting, Part 4: Crafting Tools as Adaptive Tools

Part of the appeal of knitting and crochet is the way you can take some sticks and string and like magic turn them in afghans, sweaters, dresses, cushions, or anything your heart desires and your mind can dream up. At its core, yarncrafts require very few tools other than yarn, a selection of needles or hooks, a tapestry needle, and scissors. But have you considered that some of the other, optional tools, might assist with your chronic pain or fatigue? 

Ball winders and swifts can assist those with repetitive strain injuries, arthritis, or difficulty grasping small items, like yarn, when it becomes tangled. 

Hand-held steamers are lighter weight and easier to maneuver than heavy, wet sweaters when it comes to blocking

Did you know that most yarns that don’t contain lanolin (such as cotton, superwash wool, and acrylic) can be machine washed on the gentle cycle? Always test with a swatch first, but if you have back or mobility issues, the ability to put heavy wet sweaters through a spin cycle before laying them flat to dry can make it easier to wash those hand knits. 

If you have difficulty working with small, straight tapestry needles, consider using one with a bent or curved tip. 

In addition to these suggestions, there are a plethora of magnifying and illuminating devices available on the market, from knitting needles and crochet hooks that light up, to magnifying Ott Lights, project lights and magnifiers you can wear round your neck, and more.

If some of these suggestions seem over the top or unnecessary to you, then remember: being “able bodied” is a temporary state for all of us, and many experience it for only a short time, if at all, during their lives. 

What physical tasks in your crafting do you struggle with? What work arounds have you found? Let me know below!

Like what you see? Check out What Moving Taught Me About Chronic Illness.