Adaptive Aids for Knitting

Adaptive aids increase an individual's abilities to do perform everyday tasks by promoting and improving autonomy, self-reliance and community participation. They can be devices, like utensils with easy-to-grip handles; appliances, like a bathtub lift; or activities, like knitting.

Knitting and crocheting are such wonderful adaptive aids because they allow you to be creative and independent while enjoying yourself. If you or someone you care for could benefit from using an adaptive aid for knitting or crocheting, allow tips and activities below to guide you.​

Use a Different Needle

Older woman knitting with plastic needles

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If you're already an experienced knitter who's having a hard time knitting lately, switching to a different needle might be all you need to get back to work. Knitting needles are traditionally made out of aluminum, which, when compared to other materials, isn't lightweight, and it's also cold to the touch.

Knitting needles made from bamboo and plastic are much lighter and more pliable than aluminum, taking the stress off of your hands. Circular needles, unlike straight needles, redistribute the weight of the knitting materials from the hands and wrists to the lap.

Get a Knitting Machine

Ultimate Sweater Machine

Photo from Amazon

If you want to knit projects larger than socks and baby booties, why not get a knitting machine? Serious knitters can make all kinds of things, like sweaters and blankets in all sorts of styles. Knitting machines hit a range of price points, but they tend to fall on the expensive side. The addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine is mid-range; the Ultimate Sweater Machine (pictured) is more expensive.

Get a Knitting Loom

Knifty Knitter looms

Photo from Amazon

A knitting loom is a fun and easy way to knit without the problems traditional knitting methods can cause. They are not only helpful for people with disabilities, but for anyone who lacks a crafty side. Some manual dexterity is necessary to pull loops of yarn over the pegs of the loom. Knifty Knitter looms comes in a variety of sizes, so you can make everything from scarves to socks.

Use a Knitting Thimble

LoRan Norwegian Knitting Thimble

Photo from Amazon

The Norwegian Knitting Thimble is helpful for people with manual dexterity. It uses tension to control the individual strands of yarn. If you have trouble hanging onto strands of yarn, this thimble may be what it takes to get you knitting by hand again. The Norwegian Knitting Thimble is particularly useful when knitting Fair Isle patterns.

Get a Yarn Ball Winder

Stanwood Needlecraft Large Metal Yarn/Fiber/Wool/String Ball Winder

Photo from Amazon

A yarn ball winder is helpful for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis that makes rotating the wrist and hand painful. It is recommended that you follow the directions to use the winder as instructed or else the yarn may end up twisted in the gears. It works best with small- to medium-sized skeins of yarn.

Prices for yarn ball winders vary. You can find them in the yarn and knitting sections of most craft stores.

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