10 ways to relax while you knit:
I love knitting but when I started it wasn't very relaxing. Also I am a working mom of young children and as you probably know this brings plenty of challenges. I've been referred to a physical therapist twice in the past 3 years. Once to solve a frozen shoulder and another time to address neck tension so bad that it caused long-term headaches behind my eyes. Unfortunately my tense knitting was not helping matters; so I had to re-learn how to knit in a relaxed manner. Here are some of my techniques and I hope they help you.
1. Make sure you have everything you need within your reach (ex. pattern, scissors, yarn, waste yarn, errata, row counter, row markers, cell phone, baby monitor, etc)
2. Sit so that your head is supported; relaxing your neck muscles will immediately relax your shoulders
3. Sit so that your arms are supported and you can easily see your knitting with your head relaxed (I use pillows propped under my elbows.)
4. Relax your jaw muscles
5. Read through your pattern before you start knitting and look for potential gotchas. Highlight increases and decreases, repeats and circle the numbers for your size.
6. Pretend that you are holding something fragile alongside your needles. I like to pretend I'm holding a bird egg along with my needles; this helps to loosen my grip.
7. Stretch your neck, arm or hand muscles
8. Use the best tools/yarn you can afford for your project (Bamboo needles with a cotton yarn that has no stretch and doesn't move nicely across the needles will make your knitting a tense affair.)
9. Relax your eyes; if you are working stockinette or some other easy stitch let your vision get a little soft.
10. Don't knit when you're hungry or feeling rushed; if you have a few minutes and want to do something knitting related browse through a knitting magazine or read the next step of your pattern
Let me know what you do to stay relaxed while you knit. I'd love to hear your comments.