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Wednesday 16 October 2013

Pain friendly crafting

I get a lot of joint pain all over & lactic acid burn if I exert myself, even a little bit. It's something I deal with but that makes crafting very hard. Until recently I wasn't crafting at all, it was just too hard & I couldn't think of anyways around this. However, a couple of months back I joined pinterest & with so many amazing crafts out there I felt like I had to do something. I started out by making marshmallow (you will have seen my post) but things have snowballed a bit since then.
So I thought maybe I'd let you in on the projects I've been working on & the fun I've been having...

Finger knitting projects from flax & twine

Simplest of all the things I've been doing is finger knitting. This is so easy to do & so much fun. The basics are so simple (my mum says it's like the French knitting she did in school? it reminds me of scoobies that I did at school) & it gives an amazing chunky knit effect that can be used as part of all kind of craft projects. I'm planning to turn my finger knitting into a couple of the pillow above but there are all kinds of great ideas if you follow the link.
Chocolate Marshmallow from Chocolate & Zucchini
Once I'd made marshmallow I was hooked on this sweet making thing, (I have made two subsequent batches of marshmallow, made fudge, invented a marshmallow recipe & driven my family crazy). I made an adaptation of these chocolate marshmallows for my foster brother who is the biggest chocoholic you have ever heard of. I added chunks of white chocolate in the middle & substituted the cocoa powder on the outside for a mixture of cornflour, icing sugar & cocoa powder. This recipe is really great as a starting out point though & I totally recommend it. 
Free pattern from cogknition
So, I started knitting again, which is loads of fun. Knitting can be really hard with joint pain - I gave it up because it hurt my hand so much I had to stand over a sink of hot water, soaking them.
What I've found works for me - regarding knitting & joint pain - is
  1. Large Needles: My smallest are 8mm & the 9 & 10 mm ones are a lot easier to work with
  2. Natural Fibres: Natural fibres make the wool stretch better & are easier on your hands when knitting
  3. Bamboo Needles: I don't know if this is a myth or not, but apparently bamboo needles are easier for people with arthritis & I find that they are easier for me to use than my old metal ones. They're not as cold which also helps.
That aside, I never really got past knitting a scarf last time I was knitting & I only knew two things, how to knit & how to purl. My grandma always said she was going to teach me but she hasn't really knit in years... So anyway, after one very basic scarf I'd exhausted pretty much all I knew & had no-idea what to tackle for a second project. This is what I landed on I the end. It is a 'herring bone' scarf & involves knitting stitches together & 'Knit Right Loop' increases - all of which you can find video guides for online. It's a great for me as it involves following a proper pattern & yet is still not that hard. I'm using 8mm needles rather than the 4mm needles they recommend but I can't hold the 4mm needles & the scarf seems to be working out just fine. I think I want to tackle cabling after this...I guess we'll see...

What crafts do you guys do? Are there any other pain friendly crafts you would recommend?

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