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Five tips for knitting with super size needles without a lot of pain

Winter lilacs WIP

I won’t lie.  Knitting with huge needles (sizes 17, 19, 35 and even 50) can be tough on your hands! I use size 17 and 19 needles regularly, and have learned how to do so without a lot of pain in my hands and shoulders. And now I’m sharing those secrets with you!

  1. Use lightweight needles. I have a beautiful, gorgeous pair or lantern moon size 19 knitting needles, which are so heavy I exhaust myself before I even begin.  If all your knitting energy goes into holding your needles upright, you’re in for hand pain.  I now use inexpensive, lightweight bamboo needles or even hollow plastic super lightweight needles.  Makes a HUGE difference for me.  I can knit for several hours, instead of my hands cramping up in less than an hour.
  2. Don’t use metal needles. Seriously.  Metal needles are hard on my hands.  I never use them anymore.  Metal super size needles?  Yikes!
  3. Use the shortest possible needle length (or circular). Longer needles = heavier needles = harder to manage needles = harder to balance needles.  I’m personally not crazy about circular needles, but for shorter needle length, they’re hard to beat.  The shorter length of needle each hand has to balance and hold, the easier the knitting is for your hands.  I’ve even used two double point needles, rather than straight needles, for smaller pieces.  SO much easier on my hands.
  4. Keep your needles in good condition. If you’re using wood needles, keep them waxed and/or polished.  Easy waxing tip:  rub with a sheet of waxed paper!  You can even use a wee bit of hand cream on the tips of your needles (this is a Lily Chen trick).  I’ve found that some, more expensive, bamboo needles develop tiny splinters or nicks at the tips pretty quickly.  And just sand then down with fine sand paper and wax.  Done.  the more you have to struggle with your yarn as you knit due to snagging or catching with your needles, the more quickly you’ll exhaust your hands.  Conserve your energy!
  5. Cushion your fingers. I hold my needles oddly, resulting in my pinky finger getting compressed by the needle.  If I’m on a mad knitting jag or deadline, this can be pretty painful!  But one day, I got smart, and wrapped some gauze around that finger.  Problem solved.  You could probably knit yourself a little finger cozy (hehe) or use a tube of fleece or any number of similar solutions if you’re finding super sized needles are creating callouses or bruises or sore spots on your fingers!

There are my five secrets for knitting pain-free, despite using super sized needles.  What have you found that works for you??

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