Cease and Desist

The four most physically painful experiences of my life so far are as follows:

  1. Being on the receiving end of a broken blade at a fencing meet during my sophomore year in college.
  2. Getting doored by a minivan while approaching the corner of Grove and Polk on my bicycle.
  3. My second-semester senior-year kidney stone.
  4. The last five miles of last year’s Nike Marathon.

The repetitive strain injury that I’ve received from knitting does not rank among these four events, but its impact on my life has been far greater than any of them. I had fully recovered from the fencing accident after a week; that minivan door left me with a sore shoulder and a pretty bruise, but not much else; I passed the kidney stone; and the marathon? I finished it, and that was that.

Last week I finally admitted to myself that the pain in my shoulder was not going away, and that switching to Continental has not helped (there’s no doubt that it’s easier on my shoulder than English——and I am now an official convert——but right now any knitting is too much knitting). The good news is that I’ve seen my doctor, I have an appointment with a physical therapist, and the prognosis is very good. In all likelyhood, I’ll be knitting (Continental) again in a couple of months.

For the bad news, let’s go to the pictures.

This is going to be a baby wrap. Since it’s all garter stitch, I figured it would be a good project to work on while learning Continental, and I was right. You can even see where my gauge finally evened out. Too bad I can’t finish it yet. Or at all. Estimated completion date: whenever the next baby shows up in my life.

The first half of a new pair of socks for my wife (Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch). All things considered, I’m not too sorry to have put this one down. It’s not a Cursed Project, but the resulting sock is sort of . . . um, weird, and all the yarn switching was starting to drive me insane. That heel flap did teach me how to knit English and Continental at the same time, which made me feel like a Jedi Master of Knitting. Estimated completion date: sometime before “‘Till death do us part.”

Sigh . . . I shouldn’t have even bought this yarn. What was I thinking? This is all for a sweater I’m designing, and since it’s for a major publication, that’s all I can say about it here. As such, it’s my top-priority project, and it’ll be the first thing to get on the needles once the results of my physical therapy are in evidence. Estimated completion date: as soon as f@%*ing possible.

In the meantime, I can finally take care of all of those non-knitting knitting projects, like doing the math on a pattern that I’m submitting for the fall issue of Knitty, mapping out the design for the above-mentioned sweater, cleaning out my knitting corner, and giving my wife unsolicited advice about all the things that she’s knitting. I’ll also finally get around to putting up the Danica Gallery (thanks to everyone who sent pictures! It’s still not too late to send me one!), setting up a free-patterns page, and doing a few nips and tucks to the entire site that I’ve been neglecting for a while.

And hey . . . if you feel like offering condolences about my shoulder, don’t hold back.


  • anne says:

    Awww. I’m sorry. (Really!)

  • Faith says:

    That sucks about your shoulder! A few months ago I hurt the tendins (sp?!) in my arm from knitting too aggressively and couldn’t knit without pain for several weeks. It was so terrible! I feel for you, really! Hope you get well soon. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing more of your patterns.

  • P-) says:

    Poor poor boy and his poor poor shoulder….I hope you are back on your needles soon!!!

  • Daniel says:

    Did the same thing working on my cotton sweater back in February. Trameel. Get yourself some Trameel. Homeopathic remedy. Good stuff.

  • Miss Bliss says:

    Oh maaaaaaaaaan…that sucks but sometimes injury is the only thing that will get us to slow down and work some variety into our activities. LOVE that green yarn…so beautiful. Best of luck with the PT and I’m sure you’ll be back knitting up a torm soon.


  • me says:

    Sorry to hear about the shoulder. I worked several years for a pizza joint where we stretched the dough by hand, so I can imagine that the pain from that repetative strain is about the same… it really hurts! Hate to tell you this, but may never fully go away. It’s been ten years for me, and despite what the PT says, it still hurts if I work too long with it.

    Oof… the hitting the van item makes me wonder how much damage was done to the van. Our city decided to put a bike lane on the shoulder of the biggest throughfare in town, and not one week after the section near our home was finished, a rider ran the red light, broadsiding my best friend’s van. The rider was not in good shape, as you can about imagine, his injuries were to be expected given speed and lack of a helmet, but what was boggling was the five thousand dollars in damage to the van! Broken window, smashed quarter panel, buckled hood (funny thing about the shape of a van, if you hit it at a 90 degree angle in the front half, you will make your way to the hood, eventually)… crazy, man, just crazy.


  • Sandy says:

    I am praying for a speedy recovery for you Yarn Boy! Hope you are better soon!

  • Jen says:

    I had a repetitive strain injury from typing. It was really, really bad so my heart goes out to you. I basically had horrific tendinitis in both arms. To heal, I had to do my physical therapy and stretching religiously and give my body plenty of time. It was a two steps forward one step back process. Drinking lots of water helped, too.

    So now I am all better and spend a lot of time on the computer again. Sometimes if I knit too much my injury flares up, but since I have been way too lazy to do PT, I don’t worry about it. If it bothers me too much, I just take a break from knitting for a few days and resume PT.

    So give yourself plenty of time to heal, do your PT, and stay hydrated. Good luck to you!

  • Carolyn says:

    Sorry about the shoulder pain! Pain there is almost as bad as back or butt pain, pretty much any normal activities that are at all productive involve your shoulders. (I know, mine get inflamed when I use the computer far too much…)
    I’m working on by far the brightest Danica scarf you’ll ever see. So in a few weeks (whenever I have time to finish it…) I’ll send you a few pictures. But for now, just imagine hot pink and bright bright orange, with a little neon green thrown in there, and you’ll have a good picture.
    Oh, and now I’m excited for the new Knitty sweater. I picked up a sweater design book last week, and after I get done w/ the 3 projects I’ve begun (danica, socks and wristwarmers), I’m gonna try my hand at knitting myself sweaters.
    Boy I need a weblog. Then I wouldn’t have to ramble on yours!
    Cheers and good luck with the shoulder…and the mountain of work you have!

    (P.S. Love the socks too. Tell the wife I’m totally envious.)

  • Teresa says:

    About that shoulder, have you considered having a worksite ergonomic’s evaluation? After finding out that my upper arm was too short to comfortably use the arm rests on my chair, I changed chairs, and along with some passive yoga stretching, no more pain. Small changes in your work/knit environments may help the PT re-align your shoulder girdle.

  • Meg says:

    Condolences galore from a random East Coast stranger. *hug!*
    I’m here because I just noticed the new knitty was up, and I am in an absolute frenzy of delight over your hat pattern. I have a bald-headed friend who I promised a hat last November, and as yet I’ve made 3 attempts at, and all of them have been varying levels of ugly. In any case, I hope your shoulder gets much better as quickly as possible, so that you can get back to the important business of bestowing your knitting genius upon the world.
    Take care!

  • Courtney says:

    As a confirmed “knitaholic”, I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be unable to knit! I just found your blog via Knitty, and I’m really hooked (no yarncraft pun intended). The Danica scarf you designed is great. I’m going to start on one as a Christmas gift for my brother very soon. Keep blogging, and best of luck with the shoulder recovery!

    PS – I agree with a previous poster about yoga. It really can heal what ails you.

  • Carolyn says:

    Just thought I’d come back to this topic and let you know that the ‘combined knitting’ technique is amazing. I just started experimenting with it today (well, yesterday by now…) and I’m already back in the flow and transitions between knitting and purling are nearly seamless. My gauge is much better for it too. And my shoulders don’t move much at all, which should be good for your shoulder…
    Oh, and I’m working with nearly the same yarn (the Galway brand) in more of a ‘Granny Smith Apple’ green. I have a pretty turquose too.
    Danica is still in the same spot as when I commented before because I can’t decide if it’s too thick or not…I think I’ll finish it, but not make it super long as planned. Perhaps just long enough to pin around my neck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *