Remember at Christmas, how I said I'd knitted until my wrists ached in order to finish Peter's present? Well, it's come back to bite me. I have RSI.
Naturally, I was sitting here two weeks ago reading about Tama's tennis elbow, thinking I'd been lucky, when this flared up. The day before, I'd manually rolled my first ever centre-pull ball:
It ached a bit afterwards but I cast on the next pair of socks anyway and started knitting, waiting for the point where I'd have to haul a big knot of yarn out of the centre of the ball (so far, I've had one tiny tangle, but nothing more). Saturday morning, I was still waiting and still knitting, when my right forearm began to ache. I rested it for the remainder of the weekend, but using the mouse all week at work aggravated it a lot. I could only knit a row or two in the evenings and my right little finger kept going numb. So I gave up knitting, which almost killed me.
Finally, last Saturday, I got the chance to buy a wrist support. It has made a big difference because it's made me conscious of my movements. I've worked out that the real cause of the problem is being lazy and dropping my wrists when I type or when I use the mouse. Knitting just aggravated it. (I have wrist rests at work, but you shouldn't actually use them to rest your wrists - they're a reminder to lift them up to work.)
I'm not sure how long I'm going to have to wear the support. But I may have found a way around the restriction on my knitting. My knitting-buddy Kate has just taught me how to knit continental style. Because you hold the needles over the top, it doesn't strain the muscles at the back of my wrist (in "English style" knitting, you hold the right needle like you're holding a pen, bending the wrist back). I'm slow, I'm not sure of my tension yet, and I'm still having problems conquering purling, but I am so glad that I'm able to knit again! Thank's Kate.
Kate's off to Wisconsin tomorrow for at least the next 8 months. I'm going to miss her. She's the only knitter I regularly see. Here's me, Kate and Nicky at Kate's leaving lunch on Thursday.