When knitting needles attack

Knitters of the world, I need your advice.

So there’s this thing, on my finger. It goes away when I stop knitting, it comes back when I start again. It gets a lot worse when I knit something on small needles, for example these socks I’ve inexplicably just cast on.

I keep spelling it “Herimone’s Everyday Socks” instead.

It gets red and sore, and then hard and unyielding, and I’m reasonably sure it’s the beginnings of a callus. What I’m not sure about is how to handle it.

This photo brought to you by nervous nailbiting.

Now, I can’t be the only knitter in the world who has this going on, but a quick Google seemed to only find people who have issues with the tips of their fingers (from pushing the needle through). Mine, as you can see, is on the side of my ring finger and the cause is pressure from the right needle as I knit.

Help I’m doing it wrong

Am I the only person this happens to? I’ve tried for a couple of months to learn to hold that finger away from the needle. No luck, I just can’t do it. So right now I’m resorting to wearing a sticking plaster over the affected area in an effort to give it a bit of extra padding and reduce the friction. This does help but I don’t think it’s a long term solution, some soreness still happens anyway. I’ve also considered learning to knit more in the continental style instead of just using it for fair isle like I do now. That doesn’t really appeal, and for all I know would just end up causing the same problem on a different finger, but if it’s the only solution I’ll go for it.

One thread that I read on the subject of the fingertip calluses included the suggestion “wear it with pride”. There is a certain allure to the idea of just letting it harden up and become more permanent, and being rid of the soreness. But that would be unsightly and even I, with my distinct lack of vanity, would feel even more uncomfortable about people seeing my hands than I do now (read: habitual nailbiter).

Another thread suggested holding the right needle under the armpit, which works great for people who knit with straights a lot of the time but not so much for magic loop sock knitters. Hrmm. Help?

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7 Responses

  1. Jennifee says:

    Might be a cyst of some sort. I have one on a knuckle that comes and goes. Sometimes they’re red and sometimes not. I don’t think a callus would hurt that much and for that long. Hope it heals fast.

    • Michelle says:

      I think it’s just lasting this long because every time it gets sore I stop, and then start again and it gets sore again. I’m not letting it get past the soreness stage into the (presumably ugly) more permanent hardening up non-painful phase.

  2. Kylie says:

    I’m sorry you are having this problem. And this might sound silly, but have you tried curling that finger up closer to your palm. All the best and I hope you find a solution.

    • Michelle says:

      I’ve tried, but then it’s difficult to hold the needle with only my little finger free to stabilise it. Guess that’s what the people who suggest knitting with a needle under the armpit are talking about, but it’s not an option with circs 🙁

      Thank you for the suggestion!

  3. Becki says:

    I have no clue how to help you, but I sure hope you find a solution. I’m planning on giving knitting a go here sometime soon and I’d like to know how to avoid this. ;^) Seriously…it does sound like it’s uncomfortable and I hope you find relief.

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you. The most commonly suggested thing so far seems to be just to let it harden up and live with it. Will report back with how ugly and noticeable that turns out to be :\

  4. Ophelie says:

    Oooh, yes, I have that too (but on my middle finger, since that’s the one I rest against the needle). It’s now a proper callus, (un)fortunately, so it no longer gets sore. I’ve had a few puzzled manicurists ask about it (and about the occasional crack on my index fingers from working with tiny needles).

    I wish I had advice beyond this, but you’ll eventually build up a callus and it will stop hurting. Motivation to knit more?

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