4 tips for crocheting without pain

Oh, how we love to crochet! We do it as often as we can, for hours on end!

But sometimes, our body suffers from our enthusiasm. Our fingers hurt, our shoulders tense up, and tendinitis makes it hard even to hold the hook.

How can we crochet without pain? I am not a doctor or a physiotherapist, but I have been crocheting a lot for decades – and I have 4 tips that I hope can help.

Please note that this is all about prevention. If the damage is done and you are already hurting, please see a doctor!

Manage your time

You’re back home from work, dinner is finished, and you can at last settle down and crochet for hours until you go to bed!

But that might not be such a great idea…

Crocheting means repeating the same, tiny movements over and over again. When you do this for hours on end, you can end up hurting a lot from repetitive strain injuries.

My tip: intervals. I suggest that you take regular breaks.

To help me remember to take breaks when I delve into a fascinating project, I use a timer. When it goes off, I put down my hook and go do something else for a little while.

How long you can crochet and how long your pause should be depend, of course, on your specific situation.

I personally try not to crochet for more than 45 minutes at a time, and then take a break for at least 15 minutes. This enables me to continue crocheting after the break without injury.

Of course, it is frustrating to have to stop, but I tell myself that in the end, this enables me to crochet more. Crocheting in intervals means that I no longer have to refrain from crocheting for days or weeks because of tendinitis.

Manage your posture

Yes, I know, she’s knitting … But it’s pretty close!

How are you sitting while you crochet? Slouching on the couch? With your shoulders pulled up to your ears and your work right under your nose?

Take notice of your posture, and modify it according to the needs you observe. Perhaps the slightly firmer armchair will be better. And perhaps your back will get better support if you simply slide a cushion behind it.

When you concentrate on your stitches, it’s so easy to tense up, tighten your shoulders and bring your work close to your eyes. When you do this for a long time, you put a lot of tension on your muscles. Try to remember to lower your shoulders and relax your arms.

I’m nearsighted, and I often find myself holding the work very close to my eyes. When I deliberately lower my hands, I almost always realize that I can see my stitches perfectly well even with my work on my lap.

If your hands, arms and shoulders feel tense, it might be a good idea to use your break (when that timer goes off!) to massage yourself and do some stretching. You don’t necessarily need to do anything very complicated or specific, but if you want to dive a bit further into this, there are plenty of exercises to be found with a simple search on the Internet.

Manage your activities

Always making the same, small movements puts a lot of strain on our muscles, joints and tendons. So, having lots of hobbies is a good thing!

Do you have something else you love to do? Knitting, sewing, baking, woodworking? Changing activity to do something else means that some parts of your body will get a well-deserved break, while you stay creative.

You can also vary your crochet projects. Working with a big hook is fun and gets quick results – but it can also be quite a strain on your hands. If I have an ongoing project using a 6 mm (US J-10) hook or bigger, I try to also have one going with a 3 to 3.5 mm (US D or E-4) hook. I find that using the smaller hook is more comfortable – it might be the opposite for you!.

Manage your hands

Once more, it’s time to have a good look at ourselves!

Let’s start with the tools – what kind of hook do you use? A thin metal hook, or one with an ergonomic handle? I find that the latter puts far less strain on your hands.

There are many brands and shapes of ergonomic hooks. At the moment, the ones I find the most comfortable are the Tulip hooks – they are also the ones I sell in my shop.

The material of the hook itself also matters. There are hooks in metal, wood, plastic…. Perhaps you will find that warm wood or lightweight plastic is exactly what you need.

Changing hooks is not too complicated. However, the way you hold your hands also counts.

For example, how do you tension your yarn? Do you pull with your index finger, lift your little finger or weave the yarn around all your fingers? There are so many ways to do this. We tend to always use the same method, but it can be very useful to try another one.

Changing the way you tension your yarn isn’t easy, but I think that it’s even harder to change the way you hold your hook. Nevertheless, that’s what I’ve done.

Like many crocheters in Europe, I learned to hold my hook as I hold a pen, and I crocheted in this way for many, many years. One day, I had to face the facts: if I crocheted for more than 15 minutes, my hands started to hurt intensely. I realized that I had a choice to make: change the way I hold my hook, or not be able to crochet at all.

It was very hard for me, in the beginning, to hold my hook like a knife. This is what is natural for many crocheters in the US and for people doing Tunisian crochet. But I felt extremely clumsy, as if I were just learning to crochet – a very uncomfortable situation for an experienced crocheter like me.

I kept working on it and managed to change how I hold my hook. At first, it was slow, uneven and, honestly, very frustrating. But it was worth the while. Today, I can crochet without pain.

So, there you have my 4 tips:

  • – manage your time
  • – manage your posture
  • – manage your activities
  • – manage your hands

How about you? Do you have any ideas on how to make crocheting more comfortable or more ergonomic? Or do you have a specific problem when you crochet? Let me know in the comments!

Shipping suspended

As of today, France is in lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In order to minimize all risks, and not put a strain on postal services in the current situation, I am suspending all shipping of physical products.

This is a difficult and unprecedented situation, causing much anxiety. These past few days, I have found solace by knitting and crocheting while listening to podcasts and watching videos on fiber arts.

I’m planning to prepare some educational and hopefully entertaining content in the coming days and weeks. I will probably increase the publication frequency of my newsletter, to help those of you who so desire to take part in this. Feel free to subscribe to the newsletter (click here) to stay informed.

I will also continue to publish patterns. Pattern downloads continue to work as usual!

Take really good care of yourself and your loved ones.

Shipping dates December 2019

Shipping of physical products will be suspended from the 21st December 2019 to the 2nd January 2020. To have your products shipped before the Christmas holidays, you will need to place your order at the latest on the 19th December 2019 at noon (Paris time), so I can ship it on the 20th.

Postal services generally take longer than usual in December. Also, please be aware that a strike movement will take place in France from the 5th December and for an unlimited time, which may cause additional delays.

Unfortunately, for personal reasons, I also must suspend shipping from the 2nd to the 13th of December. I am truly sorry for this. I explain the reasons behind this decision in my latest podcast in English, linked below.

Pdf patterns are of course available via download 24/7 as usual. For gift-giving, please consider the gift vouchers available in the shop, also delivered as pdf’s.

Thank you for your understanding – I wish you a lovely December month!

Flower brooch

Welcome, readers of Simply Crochet !

If you are looking for the layered flower brooch featured in issue 81, the tutorial is here.

The flower was included in my newsletter in May 2010. I still publish my newsletter every month, with an in-depth crochet tutorial free of charge. You can find the one from January 2019, the first in a series on mosaic crochet, by clicking here.

If you enjoy it, and you are as passionate about crochet as I am, please feel free to subscribe!

New international shipping option

I am very happy to be able to offer a new, much more affordable international shipping option: Delivengo.

This option is available for shipping outside France up to 2 kg. It will work for most yarn orders, but might not be available for heavy books.

As always, I apply a standard shipping fee to your orders, so you know beforehand how much shipping will cost. For shipping with Delivengo, this fee is:

– 7.80€ for destinations within the EU (outside France)
– 8.50€ for Switzerland and countries outside the EU

If you have any questions regarding shipping and shipping fees, feel free to send me an email.

Delivengo is trackable, but the packet will be left in your mailbox or at your door, without signature. If you want a delivery with signature, please choose La Poste (French postal services).