No, no … the title does not refer to knitters who can’t handle criticism! Rather: How do knitters cope with thin skin on their fingers?
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Fragile or thin skin that tears easily is a common problem in older adults. Aging, sun exposure and genetics all play a role in thinning skin. Certain medications, such as long–term use of oral or topical corticosteroids, also can weaken skin and the blood vessels in the skin.
Over the last six months I’ve been dealing with a cutaneous drug reactions. The skin on my fingers is easily lacerated, ripped or torn by so many things: the corner of a magazine, a tine of a fork, pressing the gear shift on my bike, a hair clip, a flower stalk, the plastic lid on a container of butter, et cetera. I couldn’t cook, bake bread or work with fibers. Agony.
I waited for about two months for my skin to heal. I then carefully put Band Aids on my fingers and made a salad. It seemed to work until I pulled the Band Aids off; skin came off with it.
I waited another month of no cooking, baking or knitting before I tried again. This time I wrapped my fingers in gauze and tapped the gauze down with “sensitive skin tape.” The bandages slipped off as soon as I tried to slice a carrot, leaving exposed skin that would inflame and tear. So I rebandaged and tried to knit: the tips of my needle kept getting caught in the gauze!
Another month later, after watching me trying various ways to bandage my fingers all the while gazing longingly at my brotforms and knitting, Thor brought home (from Costco) a large box of powder free, latex free, nitrile exam gloves. After wrapping my fingers with gauze and sensitive skin tape, I slipped on a pair of nitrile exam gloves. Eureka! Not only could I slice fruits and vegetables, but I could open containers of butter and twist open the bottle of olive oil! I made two loaves of sourdough Jewish rye and two loaves of sourdough raisin rye!
After waiting (impatiently) for another week, I tried to knit. I left the gauze bandages on my fingers in their most sensitive spots and then slipped on a pair of the exam gloves. My fingers felt so clumsy I couldn’t knit comfortably.
I waited another week. My fingers seemed to have healed enough that I decided to try knitting without the bandages. Instead, I slipped on fingers I had cut off a nitrile glove. Eureka! I could knit – granted, carefully – but I could knit!
Unbandaged, while my fingers look scaly and peppered with healing sores, they’re healing!
Fully bandaged and ready to knit or cook, I look a bit like a proctologist ready for her patients.
But I don’t care: My fingers are finally healing, and I can cook, bake our favorite sourdough breads and knit again. I am a happy woman.