I noticed it last week.
In my family, passed down from my Polish-American grandfather, come the gnarly fingers. It has cursed my mother as well as my grandpa, and it appears prior to arthritis that is, from their reports, quite painful. I have always hoped that the gnarly finger gene passed me by. I have slender fingers. They are rather nice, if unmanicured, and I would like them to stay that way.
I am slightly obsessive, and I think--know--my friends will tell you (or my family at least) that I am actually more than slightly obsessive. Okay, I am very obsessive. An obsessive knitter who keeps all her stitch markers in the same place, must use the same size, shape, and color stitch markers for the same project, and if there aren't enough little purple holders, I will forgo them entirely and just keep track in my head. No matter if that means I have to rip rows back more than the average knitter with their mis-matched markers. I also need to put groceries on the belt neatly, arranged by what is cold and what is room temperature, then by size and shape. That is so that I know that the right things go in the right bags, and I can keep track of them. This is why I do self-check out. I get stared at less.
This freakish turn of my personality became evident yet again when, while knitting, I looked down and noticed a little swelling above the distal joint of my middle finger (no, it did not come from obscene hand gestures). I lean my right needle against this portion of my finger as I knit. And, because I am a tight knitter, with, what Elizabeth Zimmerman would say, a lot of tension, I have created my own deformity. I am a freak, with gnarly finger(s) in the making.
My solution, because knitting is so imperative and the way I knit cannot be changed (I have tried) has been to apply a band-aid over the offending part of my finger, with the hope that I will protect my bone from damage. I did this when writing caused a similar bump years ago, and the bump went away.
Or did it?
I began to wonder days ago, if this is the same bump. This was confirmed through this week, as I noticed how often that part of the finger is used through my day. I use it to balance my fork. I use it to hold my pencil or pen. I use it far too often. That assertion was again confirmed with my discovery of a corresponding callus above the bump (lump? Can finger deformities kill a person?).
And then I discovered the true cause of my problems.
The circular knitting needle.
I have begun, with the need to knit La Digitessa, Spina Di Pesce, and the Firestarter, to use metal knitting needles for the first time in my life. Metal doesn't give, at all. Not even a little bit.
We all know from my constant complaints (at least on this side of the blog) that I bend double pointed needles when I knit with them. I snap size ones after a few months of constant use. My size twos develop a curve. I looked at my size sevens the other day and saw that they too have a curve. I never use them. How is that possible?
Wood can curve. Stainless steel? Not so much.
I determined this morning that only by setting aside my circular ways and getting off the Addi for good can I cure my freakish problem, which is bound to repel men and cause me to die old and alone, covered in wool fragments and cat hair.
So, I tried to knit on La Digitessa with wooden double points.
And it doesn't work.
There is a reason it was written for circular needles. That is what works. Mom let me know that her size one or two wooden Addis had the cable snap off where the metal clamped it to the wood. The metal creates a narrower portion of the needle, and on a tiny wimpy sized needle, it can cause problems for knitters who are abusive. If my mother is an abusive and tight knitter, tight enough to damage needles, than I am a violent, brutal, cruel knitter. I would break those needles faster than my Brittany size ones and I snapped two of those in 24 hours.
So this blog entry is my way of kissing my pretty hands goodbye. I am giving them up for something I love more than them. I give them up for knitting.