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12 Beloved Free Knitting Patterns Perfect for Hurting Hands

Do your hands hurt from arthritis or another health issue? These patterns, projects, and equipment may help when knitting is a struggle

Reader Brenda had a charity knitting quandary that, I believe, many other ambitious knitters also face.

I love reading your letters but wish I could take a more active part. Due to a stroke down my left side, I am struggling to knit but haven’t given up yet. I am waiting for a knitting aid, which my son has ordered, but while I am waiting I keep trying small items.”

My heart ached for her. I’ve heard from many other knitters that arthritis, carpel tunnel, tendonitis, and other health problems keep them from knitting for charity the way they want.

No knitter should have to sit on the sidelines because of their health! I asked the Knitting for Charity Facebook page for suggestions when knitting is a struggle, and I received many thoughtful responses.

Small Items to Knit When Knitting Is a Struggle

Preemie hats/clothing: This is probably the number one suggestion, and it’s a good one. If you struggle with knitting, preemie hats and other clothing are great choices because they don’t require a lot of knitting time. One Facebooker linked to this page of 35 free knitting patterns for preemies!

Squares: Blanket/afghan squares are, of course, a charity knitting staple because it takes so little time to knit them. KasCare (formerly known as Knit-a-Square) has a great, easy pattern for an 8″ x 8″ square . Other square patterns can be found on this page (scroll down a little to get to the squares).

Washcloths: Exchange your acrylic yarn for cotton, linen, bamboo, or hemp yarn, and you can knit the exact same squares to make washcloths. These are appreciated by many homeless and domestic violence shelters. You can knit the simple pattern offered by KasCare, or you can check out one of KnitPicks’ many wonderful free dishcloth patterns.

Other Possibilities: Other suggestions incuded mittens, plain small teddy bears, and cat toys. Depending on how compromised one’s hand(s) might be, any of these could be good alternatives. Pattern possibilities are linked below.

Mittens: Easy Mittens for the Family
Small Teddy Bear: Mini Pookies
Cat Toy: That’s Very Mice

Special Patterns: Knitted Flat Preemie Hats

When knitting is a struggle because you have hand pain, circular knitting can be especially difficult. So I found several preemie hat patterns that you can knit flat.

Newborns in Need Knitted Hats: These patterns–Baby Set (fits 4-5 lb baby) or Premature Baby Set— include flat-knitted baby hat patterns. Just click and scroll down for the hat portions.

Garter Stitch Hat

Pink Lady: Available in both French and English.

2lb – 3lb Preemie Beanie: Scroll to page 2 for the preemie hat pattern.

One More Option When Knitting Is a Struggle: the Knitting Machine

If the above patterns don’t work for you, but you really aren’t ready to give up on knitting, you may want to try a knitting machine.

A knitting machine is a bit like a knitting loom, but rather than using a hook to work stitches over pegs, you’ll wind a hand crank that does the work for you. Many folks use these rather than knitting needles simply because it is so much faster!

Below are three options from Amazon for knitting machines, ranging from least to most expensive. (The following are affiliate links; for more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.)

NKOK Singer Knitting Machine

addi-Express Professional Knitting Machine

addi-Express King Size Knitting Machine

addi-Express Extended Edition Knitting Machine

When knitting is a struggle, you might not have to give up. Brenda, and anyone else whose health has made knitting more difficult, I hope these patterns are just what you need to continue charity knitting!

And stay tuned: in an upcoming post, I’ll share more ideas on how to knit even with compromised hands.