Many crocheters pass yarn over a certain finger to control their tension. I pass the yarn over my index finger, and the yarn often ends up chafing my finger after just a few minutes of crochet. It happens to me even with the softer yarn.
Depending on your yarn and tension, you may experience this sort of uncomfortable chafing too. I’ve compiled a few quick fixes that you can use to save your tension finger! Most of these use items that you may already have around the house.
This was my favorite solution for a long time. I’d tape the part of my index finger that the yarn slides over before working.
- The tape wouldn’t slide around.
- Can crochet for hours without being chafed.
- Removing the tape irritates skin underneath
- Potentially harmful substances from tapes adhesive absorbing into skin
- Does become wasteful after a while – can’t use the same piece of tape indefinitely
- Not exactly portable
- Doesn’t look nice!
This was a decent solution for a while, and it allowed me to crochet for hours pain-free.
I always wash my hands after handling yarn because I’ve read that yarn can contain chemicals (like carcinogens). Whenever I had to put down my crocheting to do anything – get a drink or use the bathroom – I had to wash my hands. That meant removing the tape pretty often, so the skin underneath would get pretty dry and irritated.
- Protected my hands fairly well
- Portable – a few band-aids in your hook case doesn’t take up much room
- Expense. If you crochet daily, you might end up spending $6 a month on band-aids. You could’ve used that to buy an extra skein of yarn a month!
- Taking band-aids off your finger everyday can leave skin dry or irritated.
- Inadequate coverage. Some band-aids aren’t as wide as tape, so if you’re crocheting with multiple strands of yarn at once, the yarn may not stay on top of the band-aid.
- Wasteful because band-aids are not re-usable
- Adhesive is potentially unsafe for long term use
- Doesn’t look nice
Taping a piece of tissue around your finger
Cut out a piece of tissue in the shape of a rectangle, roll it around your finger snugly, and use a piece of tape to hold it in place. The tape should only be applied to the tissue and not to your skin.
- No adhesives on skin
- Protects skin very well
- Delicate, so taking it on and off is a hassle
- Not durable. Since they don’t last forever, you’ll need to make more of them, which isn’t convenient.
- Doesn’t look nice
Crochet a finger cover
- Easy and quick to make
- Free patterns for them can be found on Ravelry, or you can design one yourself by crocheting a tube the width of your tension finger.
- Customizable with different colored yarn
- Sometimes too bulky, which can throw off your tension
I used worsted weight yarn to make mine. Making this finger cover out of thinner yarn might solve the bulkiness issue, but I didn’t have any yarn thinner than worsted weight.
I made this particular one using The Nerdy Knitter’s available for free on Ravelry. It includes a little loop that you’re supposed to thread the yarn through.
One thing I didn’t like about this loop feature is that the yarn can still come in contact with your hand and chafe it. Also, if you didn’t cut your yarn afterwards, the finger cover would be stuck to that project. So you wouldn’t have the freedom of being able to swap out a particular finger cover without having to cut the yarn.
This meant you’d either have to make multiple finger covers, or you’d have to cut your yarn every time you switched projects. This might mean more weaving in or re-joining yarn.
To bypass these problems, I just ended up not using the loop at all.
Make a finger cover out of fabric
This was my favorite solution. I had some scraps of fabric leftover from hemming a maxi dress. I cut a short rectangle out of one of the scrap pieces (approximately 1.5 inches by 2 inches. Then wrapped it around my finger until it was snug. Not so tight that it’ll be uncomfortable, but not so loose that it could spin around. I carefully pinned the fabric in place to mark where to sew, then hand sewed it together.
- Thin and comfortable. Doesn’t interfere with tension
- More finger flexibility than when using tape or crocheted finger cover
- Easy to put on and remove
- Looks nicer than band-aids, tape, and tissue on your finger
- Customizable with different patterns/colored fabrics
- Cost can be nearly 0 if you have extra fabric lying around
- Some time and effort involved (maybe 15 minutes)
- You’ll need a thin thread, which you might not have
- You’ll need extra fabric, which you might not have
Other Fixes I’ve Heard About But Haven’t Tried:
Yarn Guide Rings
I’ll admit I’ve personally never tried these, mostly because there’s almost always a negative review for every one that I see. Some people think they’re great, but others claim it just didn’t work for them.
If you do end up trying these, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Some rings have sharp edges. I often see complaints of metal yarn guides with sharp points where the metal was cut, but not properly blunted. This can either hurt you, or snag on your yarn or clothing. Sometimes, plastic rings will have sharp edges from extra plastic that wasn’t properly removed or sanded down.
Sizing can be an issue. Some rings aren’t one-size-fit-all. Read the reviews or look at the measurements before you buy. You don’t want to end up with a ring that’s too big or too small!
Finger guards are basically like little socks for your finger. They come in many materials, like cotton, rubber, and latex. You can buy them online or in pharmacies. They’re also called finger guards or finger cots.
You can also wear a glove. You’ll want a thin glove so your hands can remain dexterous enough to crochet. Pharmacies sometimes carry thin cotton gloves for keeping moisturizing lotions on your hands overnight.
I hope that this information was helpful. Have you discovered your own fix that wasn’t mentioned here? Or have pros and cons to add to some of the fixes I mentioned? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below!