The other morning on my walk with my dog, I was thinking about something I couldn’t solve, and I shrugged.  I laughed out loud, as that little shrug, with a slight tilt of the head, I learned from a little two year-old that comes in the shop with her mom.  I was retelling the scene to a customer, who shrugged, her turban delicately twined about her head.  “Oh, that feels good, right here,” she said, indicating the spot between her shoulders.  Sometimes it does us good to shrug, to say, “Okay, I can’t solve that one,” and let it go.

A summer day visits in late February.

This reminded me how important it is for knitters and crocheters to take a break every 1/2 hour or so and do some stretches.  Shrugging is one of those exercises.  Tilting the head from one side to the other, and looking over the shoulder, first one side, then the other,  also help relax the muscles in the neck and shoulders.

Another place we unwittingly carry tension is in our hands.  Sometimes on my walk, I pay attention to my hands, which are fisted up, and deliberately relax them.  Taking a break from holding the needles or hook, stretching the hands out, shaking them, and pulling the hands and individual fingers back, in the opposite direction they’ve been while you worked, will relieve tightness.  Link your fingers and push away from you, palms out, then lift your hands above your head. This will not only stretch the hands, but will stretch the muscles in your back.  Even just rubbing some hand cream into your hands will give them a break and loosen them up.

If your project is particularly intense, you may want to remember the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eye strain for people who are on their screens a lot.  Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds, and focus on something 20 feet away.  If you find yourself rubbing your eyes, you know it’s time to make a change.  At the very least, get up, make a cup of tea, pet the dog, and smile.  After all, you are doing what you love—knitting!