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Knit 1 purl 1

I love knitting, haven't done a lot for a while though. Recently I have had a few friends have new baby girls, either grandchildren, neighbours or friends, so I thinks to myself, little fluffy bonnets, I've knit hundreds in my time, so i got my needles out and got some wool and trimmings. All started well then half way through the first bonnet my little fingers cramped NO I says don't you start!! Got the hat done and trimmed and have spent the last 2 days with numb, stiff pinky and ring fingers and very sore base of thumbs--methinks I don't want to play this game any more!!! I will not let you win RA

10 Replies

Congratulations on finishing the bonnet and hope the fingers have eased up.

We had our first grandchild last year and I tried knitting a pair of bootees. Tried being the operative word. Didn't get to the second row ............. nevermind I told myself ............. bought some from the hospital shop on my next visit (along with scratch mittens and a hat) and took pleasure in that.

I decided years ago that it's no good beating myself up about what I can't do now, I try and if it doesnt work out, well I tried. Being sad and upset about something I can no longer do just adds to the misery of RA so I try to find an alternative, may not be quite so rewarding but the best I can do in the circumstances.

Once your fingers are back to normal (normal for you) you could try knitting a couple of rows every day, not so much that it makes your fingers painful just enough to keep them more mobile. Even if you only knitted a few squares now and again you will get pleasure from it I'm sure.

Once again congratulations on completing the bonnet.


There is hope !!

After being diagnosed 2 years ago with Psoriatic Arthritis, I have started knitting again, and really enjoying it ! Since October, I too have knitted a bonnet and coat for a new born, feeling confident, I started small and knitted some hearts, stars and Christmas decorations for friends.

This years project is a Jumper for me !! I try and knit a little bit everyday, especially if the hands and fingers are stiff and it does help.

I agree with Judi, when your hands a feeling a little better, have another go.

Happy Knitting. Jo x


My whole livelihood and much of my existence as an artist currently revolves around doing embroidery and I am struggling with it now but will not give in. I think knitting would be harder than embroidery because of the needles. I have a sheet that OT gave me called "Using and Protecting the Joints in Your Hands" and it's about pacing and avoiding doing repetitive activity for too long. My GP did say I needed to develop alternatives to these "frenzied bursts of repetitive activity" but I haven't found one yet!

The thing for me is that it's such a labour intensive way of working and that's what makes it brilliant to look at when something's complete - but also what kills my poor fingers and wrists in the making. I've got to the mad stage of actually wishing the RA would go and find a less useful bit of me to attack again - but it doesn't work like this I know and knees and feet are pretty vital too of course!

But as for stitching and knitting - these activities are the ones that are most traditionally theraputic and meditative so it seems all wrong for us not to be able to do them doesn't it?!


Hi Tilda, I didn't know that's what you were doing! I have embroidered for as long as I can remember. And needlepoint, my Grandma taught me when I was 9-10yrs old.

I embroidered a tablecloth for my Mom 4 years ago, that took me 7 months to do. She so loved it, and now she is gone and I ahve it.

My other hobby is decorative painting and stenciling, etc.

Mostly I paint flowers on rocks, like pato stones, for garden paths. Heck of it is, I intended to be making ornaments for Christmas, and couldn't do it, my hand was shaking too much! I use some very tiny brushes and my strokes were far from tiny! Cheers, LoretXX


I envy you ladies who knit,i'm afraid to say i can't even read a knitting patern.So well done to you ladies who can.



I knit in a rather Penelope sort of way - Greek myth, Penelope kept unravelling her tapestry until her husband returned from the Trojan wars - at least I think that was the story! I suppose unravelling and re-knitting is cheap at least!! But for those of us with problems, I have had painful hands, but have always exercised them with knitting, needlepoint and typing. I think as Tilda says perhaps to pace ourselves is the answer. But to keep the joints mobile if we can without hurting ourselves. My tai chi teacher was showing me a hand exercise which involves making a fist then splaying out your hands as far as they will go. You wouldn't believe how complicated this can be when you think about the muscles and the joints involved! Anyway, I think I know how to do it properly now. And I think moving well so that we don't hurt our joints is the most important thing.

Hope that helps - knitting is quite mesmerising isn't it - although mine gets faster if I'm watching an exciting tv programme!

XX Cathie


We are featured in a new book called Hoopla the Art of Unexpected Embroidery - a Canadian publication - on the cover and within. And one of the other featured artists is a "manbroiderer" who was in jail for a long sentence in New York (or nearby). He started occupying his time embroidering using his old socks, unpicking them - and he would make postage stamp miniatures of his favourite baseball players or landscapes he had missed. He built up a reputation amongst the other prisoners for his skill and started doing them "on commission" - great big scary men would arrive with their old socks and an image they wanted him to recreate. And so in this way he was protected from many a scary situation and on release started exhibiting his tiny embroideries depicting tales of prison life etc and is currently working on getting embroidery programmes up and running in prisons all over the State.

Sorry for detour but your tale of Penelope made me think of this Cathie - the recycled yarn aspect mostly. The same author of the book we are on and in, Leanne Prain, also wrote a very successful book a few years ago (a prequil!) called Yarn Bombing about guerilla knitting and crochet - which is great fun. Both books have lots of pattens within if and when your wrists and fingers all feel ready for new adventures!



Will try the tai chi exercize, fingers almost back to normal, it is maddening that it takes 3 times as long to do something, and my RA is only mildish compared to some of you, but hey ho, will not give in as I like doing it and find it very relaxing, just pace myself a bit better in future, happy handcrafting girls


That sounds positive Cassap and no don't give in to RA - that's what i say too.

Mind you I start to wonder if my fingers will ever be normal again? On the other hand I was at a party last night and couldn't open the fizzy water bottle so had to ask someone to help me. This started a chat about people with weak hands etc and someone I haven't seen for years was saying that two of her friends and colleagues have got this awful thing called rheumatoid arthritis, and it's wiping them out so they can hardly function.

I tentatively mentioned that I have it too and this woman exclaimed "oh but you look so well - best I've seen you look in years! The people I know with RA are really crippled and their hands are a funny shape so you must have it really mildly?!" so I guess like you I've got off lucky so far. But to my frustration I still can't make fists with either of my hands any more despite working on the stress ball a lot - although getting closer than i was a month ago and my 2 worst fingers do bend to 45 degrees now so progress is being made slowly.

Hey I need to think positive because it's my birthday - I've just hit the grand age of 49! TTx


Happy birthday Tilda, I had my 52nd just a few days ago, apparently we are in the magic age group to get RA, lovely pressie from our bodies eh?? Got my little bonnet and a little cardy finished so am well chuffed, fingers are a bit stiff but ok so far, enjoy your day xx


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