Malayna Nicolls

Give Your Body Some Care!

crochet strain injuries prevention

You may have heard about the healing powers of crochet, but many of us know that long sessions can tend to wear on the body. Meet our newest Columnist, Malayna, and learn how to treat yourself with some love and care so you can get back to hooking more comfortably! ~ Editor

This has saved my very life. Imagine a mom, 2 young children. A husband that works hundreds of miles from home for weeks, if not months, at a time! Winters here get to be -40 degrees Celsius for days to weeks on end. No family nearby …

Anyone else feeling their blood pressure rising just thinking about that situation? Fast forward to today. Winter, yes, it is that time again. Kids are now 18 and 13. Husband works from home. I love him, but I now see him every single day.

Different situation completely, but still life for this dedicated introvert. So, where do I seek solace? Crafting, of course! I have spent many moments carting kids to activities, happily hooking in the karate dojo, dance studios, stinky wrestling gyms, and most recently, the horse jumping arena. Art to the rescue every time.

Crafting gave me a creative outlet. A space to feel that I was accomplishing something. Accomplishing anything other than the merry-go-round of dishes, laundry, housework, groceries, and children. Rinse and repeat. Crafting gave me a piece of myself back — a yarn lifeline.

yarn lifeline

What to Do When Crafting Hurts!

So, imagine my surprise when my right elbow, my crocheting arm, started aching. Massage helped but did not resolve this pain. I chose to ignore it. I mean, I am a healthy woman. I'm a woman who creates, hear me ROAR.

My body roared louder, and I am now on hiatus from hooking until my RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) heals. So, in short, my dear fellow artists, my habit did hurt me.

But it does not have to hurt you. That is the point. You can learn from my mistakes.

Repetitive Strain Injuries – What You Need to Know

According to, a repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an injury to part of the musculoskeletal or nervous system caused by repetitive use, vibrations, compression, or long periods in a fixed position.

In English: My Arm Really Hurts Me!

Here are symptoms that you can start to be aware of yourself:

  • Burning, aching, or shooting pain.
  • Tremors, clumsiness, and numbness.
  • Weakness in the hands or the forearms.
  • Difficulty with normal activities like opening doors, chopping vegetables, turning on a tap.

Is it inevitable? Is this now my lot in life? No more crafting? Give me crafts or give me death! O.K. Perhaps that is a little extreme, not to mention the correct quote is “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”. But I think you can feel my sadness in this situation. It is almost Christmas!!


PLEASE NOTE: Take care when starting any new exercise or stretching regimen. Consult your doctor if you have severe pain. We are not medical experts and can't diagnose your physical issues. Please use common sense.

A Little Prevention Really Does Go A Long Way

What is a artist to do to prevent the misery of RSI? Follow me, dear ones. Let us take a little road trip down another love of mine. YOGA.

I can already hear the thoughts of horror escaping from your very vivid imaginations! As well as the expletives that come along with … Oh no girl, I do not do the YOGA. I do the YARN.

yarn not yoga

By Sharree at Yours Truly By Rose. All rights reserved. ©2020 Happily Hooked.

Patience now. Hang in there. Do not panic. Would I wish this on anyone? No, I would not. If I could prevent RSI for you, I would. I shall. Do you trust me?

All right, how could you trust me? You have never met me. (I have just always wanted to say that quote. Such a great movie line. And back to reality.) Yoga is not that scary. You may even like it. If it helps you keep crafting for many years to come, that is a good thing. RIGHT?

strings of yarn

Equipment Maintenance is Key

In order to continue at peak hooking function, we must MAINTAIN our equipment. What are we without our hands, arms, and shoulders? Your body is your tool to create. Take care of it and give it love.

A great place to start … is with the BREATH. Necessary and yet a very overlooked healing medium that we have within us.

Breathe – Just Breathe

While sitting comfortably, place both hands on the upper chest — the area of the heart. And notice the breath come in the nose and gently follow it as the upper chest rises. As we exhale through the nose, feel the chest decompress.

The hands will feel warm to the accessory muscles located here. These muscles are often tight. Just notice and breathe.

A song I love, and I want to send to each of you. Listen to the song and breathe.

Give yourself some love. Feel everything else wash away. Just for a moment. Be gentle! The whole point is to start tuning in to your own body. Listen to it. Take care of it.

A Little Movement Makes A Big Difference

Another song I am loving is this one. As your music is playing, move into a Sufi grind. (See image below music link.)


sufi grind yoga pose body

Image courtesy of

You do not need to be sitting cross-legged. I have participants do this pose in a chair, standing up and seated. Find what feels right for you.

As we rotate our torso in a clockwise direction, we inhale forward and exhale to the back.

Do as many circles as comfortable. Reverse directions.

This pose warms up the hips and spine. Massages internal organs. Engages abdominal muscles, releasing stiff hips and lower back muscles.

Stiff Hips = Stiff Spine = Stiff Shoulders

Your beautiful body is a superhighway. When we get congested at one junction, all major junctions will feel the impact. Crafting can cause your body to feel congested. Let's fix that.

Now, continue your breath and gently move the spine.

arching cat yoga pose body

Image courtesy of


Again, it is not important where we are. If the ground is not comfortable, remain seated. If seated is not comfortable, stand up and rest your hands on a countertop or table.

As we inhale, the tailbone tucks in, and each vertebra follows the curve of the spine until we look like a cat stretching. The neck always follows last. No forcing. Following the breath. Feeling the muscles along the spine open and relax.

As we exhale, the tailbone moves as if it is pointing at the wall behind us. The amount of movement is different for each person. Respect your body. The vertebra of the spine follow the motion, with the chest (heart) now reaching forward with the neck and head last, looking like a cow would with a sunken back.

Repeat, following your breath and your body.

To End Is to Begin

Yes, to end the session work out the shoulders. Crafting can cause shoulders and other parts of the body to tense. Work out the shoulders, allowing us to begin or keep beginning a new WIP!!

rolling shoulders yoga pose body

Image courtesy

Simply follow the breath as you roll the shoulders up towards the ears. Exhale, feeling the shoulder blades slipping easily down the rib cage and settling on the back. Inhale up, exhale back.

Throughout your practice, take note of tense areas. This is our body’s way of communicating with us — more on that next time.

Keep Hooking!

~Malayna Nicolls

strings of yarn

If you'd like to join our community at Happily Hooked, we'd love to have you! Our Member's Only Area has loads of great videos with wonderful information like this to keep you in tip-top hooking shape!

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malayna nicolls
Malayna Nicolls
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Malayna Nicolls. Heart of a crocheter. Wisdom of a yogi. Mother of 2, wife, animal lover.

Malayna Nicolls

Malayna Nicolls. Heart of a crocheter. Wisdom of a yogi. Mother of 2, wife, animal lover.

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