Ergonomics of Knitting – Carson Demers

"I’ve been a knitter much longer than I’ve been a physical therapist or an ergonomist, but I still remember my first addi experience.  I was knitting an afghan with let’s say “rustic” wool, and (horrors) bamboo needles.  Ah, the ergonomically unenlightened knitter that I was.   More time spent than one would hope for the amount of fabric produced, I confess my forearms were positively sore.  Then one evening while working on that project in a knitting circle at a local yarn shop I spied them.  Shiny, sleek, and downright sexy (yes, a knitting needle can be sexy!), someone across the table was working with an addi Turbo®.  I can’t lie - I was indeed first impressed by how beautiful those needles looked.  But, it didn’t take much observation to see how effortless they made that knitter’s work.  Stitches were soaring.  So then and there I bought a circular to replace the bamboo needle I was using.  Smooth, fluid, and best of all comfortable, my knitting experience was transformed.  

That was my first addi Turbo® and I’ve been a fan ever since.  I’m a lot more ergonomically savvy now than I was at that time and I still love my Turbos.  They pair perfectly with yarns that offer resistance on other needles, reducing the work of forearm and hand muscles. Their cables are strong, smooth, well behaved and support even a heavy afghan without fuss.  I love how the reflective surface of the needle creates value contrast with nearly any yarn - which makes using them easy on the eyes in more ways than one.  Comfort is always an ergonomic priority and addi Turbos® help me knit comfortably."

It's no secret that we are fans of Carson Demers and his work to help fiber artists continue making with less opportunity for injuries. his book, Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting contains all the information you could need to help ensure a long life of comfortable crafting. We are also delighted to offer this book for purchase in our shop and online. 

Imagine being told you have to stop knitting because of discomfort in your hands, arms, neck, or back. Imagine the sense of frustration and the longing to get the needles back in your hands. Imagine the lingering doubt you might have when you can pick them up again: “What was I doing wrong after all these years of knitting?” “Will I get hurt again?” “Will I have to stop knitting forever to make this pain go away?” Maybe you’d like to be a faster, more efficient knitter, or a knitter who produces more projects, but you’re not sure what’s getting in the way.

This book will help you understand the ergonomics of knitting so you can improve your safety, efficiency, and productivity in knitting. You’ll learn to identify ergonomic risks that contribute to injury and reduce knitting efficiency. Throughout the book, you’ll be provided with activities and guidance to improve your knitting ergonomics so you can knit more confidently and comfortably. Through instruction in stretches, exercise, and self-care, you’ll also learn how to manage the discomfort common to knitters before it becomes an injury, and how to recognize when it’s time to seek help from a health-care professional.

Want to knit comfortably? Get your very own copy of Carson's book here:

About Carson Demers:
By day, Carson is a physical therapist who runs an ergonomics program for a San Francisco Bay Area medical center. Every other moment, he’s knitting, spinning, designing, teaching, writing, or otherwise up to some fiber fun with a watchful eye toward ergonomics. His passion and experience in fiber arts combine with his expertise in physical therapy and ergonomics to create a unique skill set that he eagerly shares with the fiber community at local yarn shops, guilds, and major knitting events across the country. He is a regular contributor to Ply magazine.

AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary

I really enjoy reading and collecting knitting books, but I have a special place in my heart – and on my craft room shelves – for stitch dictionaries.  Several months ago, when I first saw the announcement about Interweave’s new book Alterknit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel, I immediately got excited and knew it would soon become part of my library. Like most people in this industry I have a craft room in my home, complete with shelves upon shelves of books. Vintage and new stitch dictionaries share the shelf, and for the most part, they offer traditional or traditional-inspired motifs. When this book arrived, I realized it was unlike the majority of books in my collection.


Flipping through the book for the first time, I was impressed with the wide array of Andrea’s color-work charts.  Being a pretty conservative guy, I definitely enjoyed seeing her version of standard, classic geometric motifs.  What really surprised me, was how much I enjoyed and was inspired by her less conventional designs! She has masterfully addressed more contemporary shapes and filled the pages of this book with unexpected patterns.

Motifs such as the Escher-inspired bats (page 70) could easily become a pattern on socks or gloves!

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When I turned to the Broken Shield chart (page 89), I imagined a fun blanket with blocks of this pattern in in different colors. I like how the lines play with each other in this design… it’s such a neat optical illusion.

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…and then things got really fun! I have never seen a pattern book with a “Poopin’ Pig” chart in it (Page 115)! Andrea, you’ve really made some designs that made me smile!Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 9.52.50 AM.png

She has truly included options for all knitters!

The book then goes a step further and offers several full patterns that incorporate some of her motifs – included are mittens, a hat, a cowl, and a couple sweaters.

I think what I like most about stitch dictionaries is that they inspire me to think.  To think about what I would make for myself with a certain motif or who would be the perfect recipient for the wacky Poopin’ Pig design!  This book really is full of inspiration, and judging from how inspired I am after spending an afternoon reviewing its offering, I’m certain it will guide me from project to project for years to come!

Happy Making!


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Chuck Wilmesher is the Director of New Product Development for Skacel Collection based just outside of Seattle, WA, and spends his days working to create new products for us to enjoy. He is also an avid knitter and fiber fanatic.