Adaptive Hookery – the NEW Standard

Most activities traditionally have a right way of doing things and a wrong way, but I believe that’s not exactly the case!  So I like to say there’s a standard way and a nonstandard way of accomplishing the task.

Take knitting and crochet for example…. if you watch the instructional videos online for learning techniques for these crafts, most of them feature a common theme for holding the tools, holding tension on the yarn, and how to yarn over – amongst all the other tidbits involved in the project.  While these techniques are admittedly the standard, quite a few folks may not be able to accomplish it exactly the same way due to various limitations.  I really hate for people to get scared off from experiencing the love and wonder of being able to create things with their hands – it is truly heartbreaking for me

So I always tell my students that really, ultimately, when it’s all said and done, how you got to the finish line is no where near as important as that it looks how you want it to look when you get there!  I do my best to hammer it in (oh, come on.. metaphorically of course 🙂 ) that it’s ok to hold your hook a little different, or yarn over backwards from the way your friend does, or to even use a different tool altogether than what is recommended in the pattern.  Follow a process of trial and error to find what is comfortable and works for you.  There is no wrong way, as long as you are happy with the results!  Of course, there are some things that make a difference, like matching gauge, but as long as it’s meeting gauge requirements with your adaptations – you are GOLDEN!  The only “right way” is YOUR WAY! 

This unconventional philosophy is particularly critical for handicapped crafters… (honestly, I’m not sure what the politically correct term is, but since I fit in this category, I feel like I can label it however I want 🙂  )

You may not know it, but I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis for about a year now, with flares coming and going randomly, and determining which body part will be impacted next is like eating a box of chocolate with Forrest Gump (cmon, can’t you hear him saying “you’ll never know what you’re going to get?”).  As a die hard crafter of all sorts, I started to panic trying to figure out how to keep my hooker mojo going during flares.  And I came up with a doozy for crochet!


When my right hand & wrist get inflamed and useless, I wear a brace to provide a little extra support.  And because I lose the ability to grip during a flare, I ram my hook between my fingers and into the brace… and channel my inner one-blade Wolverine by moving and rotating just my forearm..

It works like a charm!!  It sure ain’t pretty to look at, but it definitely gets the job done and allows me to keep getting my craft on.  I tried to take and edit a video on iMovie, but apparently my skills are challenged and I couldn’t figure out out, LOL…  Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to show you my adaptive talents in motion.

For now, here are some links to a few creative adaptive tools that are out there.  I haven’t used any of them, but they look pretty neat!  If you are an adaptive crafter, have ued any of these tools, or know someone who fits the bill, feel free to comment and share!

Norwegian Knitting Thimble – helps folks who may not be able to hold yarn tension
Clamp-It Suction Base Hook Holder – great for folks with use of only one hand
Electric Yarn Ball Winder – helps keep your yard nicely wound without needing alot of hand or wrist strength and dexterity

Remember …. the only right way is….. you got it – IT’S YOUR WAY!


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