Recently, I rather sheepishly told a good knitting friend of a knitting injury. My left index finger was suffering from multiple punctures and lacerations caused by repeated encounters with thin, sharp, pointy sticks. I wondered if she experienced the same thing..?
I was selfishly rather hoping so, as I hadn’t heard of this condition before, but surely I’m not the only person who punctures herself with a knitting needle in a small moment of inattention? I felt like a total klutz.
Yes, she replied. She too suffered from holes in her index finger. So! I was not alone in this painful side-effect of enthusiastic knitting.
We then went on to share an exchange of the inconveniences of having to wear a plaster while knitting:
- The soggy plaster. Do you get that? When you are wearing a plaster/bandage on your finger, and then you get up to do some housework, and the thing gets wet, and then you sit back down to knit and find that your finger is all uncomfortable, wrapped in a cold, soggy thing. Change to plaster no.2.
- The incorrectly applied plaster. That’s when the end of the plaster is attached to the wrong side of the finger so that knitting needle finds itself in contact with it – knit, stick, knit, stick, then the end lifts up, and you find the needle tip becomes coated in sticky, and then the yarn sticks to the sticky needle… and it all ends in great irritation, the removal of said offending plaster and correct application of plaster no.3 for the day.
- The frayed plaster. After a sustained period of knitting, the plaster begins to fray at the edges. See point two above for the effect of such fraying. This requires plaster no. 4.
- The dirty plaster. Covered in jam, dust, grass clippings, whatever else you’ve been doing… necessitating plaster no. 5.
- The insufferable plaster. After a while, it all gets too much. The restricted movement caused by that piece of silly plaster at the end of one’s finger is so irritating that I have to take it off, and risk the consequences of unprotected knitting.
It’s all fine for a while. I gingerly knit using a different side of my finger, carefully avoiding the sore, bruised and holey bits. Then someone says something, or I look away for a second, distracted, and YEOW!!!! Gaaaaah!!!!! This causes the family members in the room to stop, stunned in their tracks, to watch me dancing the dance of pain and rage at having poked yet another hole in the affected appendage. There’s a small silence as I wind on plaster no. 6 for the day. Elastoplast should sponsor me.
Funnily enough, I find my 4mm DPN needles to be the biggest culprits. I think it’s because they’re a cheaper brand of steel needle. The original protective coating has worn off and the metal is exposed. If you examine the points under a microscope, you’ll probably find a mass of sharp, lacerated edges. Repeatedly slicing the skin hundreds of times, it eventually starts hurting as the slices go deeper, and deeper… well, that’s my explanation for the sudden appearance of several long shallow cuts on the tip of my index finger.
The past couple of weeks have been particularly bad. Not only was I nursing an extremely sore index finger, but I somehow managed to bash the skin off my thumb knuckle in an accidental encounter with a sharp-edged cupboard shelf. Thumb knuckle injuries are nasty. Because the joint is continually bending, it means that such injuries don’t stop bleeding very easily.
Sore fingers don’t make happy knitting. So the game was called (or at least hindered) on account of injury. But hopefully (she says, finger still bandaged) things will start to improve soon. That, or I may have to look into surgically implanting extra thick skin on to the pad of my left index finger.