Due to a question in the comments yesterday, I'm worried now that I'm sort of misleading you guys on how you're supposed to care for your hands. So guess what this post is about?
Here's the rule. PAIN BAD. If your knitting causes tingling, or pins and needles, or numbness, or pain, take a break. Period. Pay attention to how you hold yourself when you're knitting, and fix any problems - I tend to hitch my shoulders up weirdly and they get stiff, so I work consciously at relaxing them, or sit in a way that keeps me from hunching up. You've got to do that kind of thing if you plan to knit long-term. (I could also make a comment here about how knitting German style with the yarn in the left hand is more ergonomically friendly than knitting English style with the yarn in the right, but someone will get mad, so I'm not gonna say it. Nope. Not me.) I also suggest sitting in a comfortable seat with good light, but I realize that reality doesn't work that way.
For beginners, remember, knitting is like any other physical activity. You've gotta build up to it. You're using muscles in ways you never have before, so to sit down and use those muscles for twelve hours straight is not good. Would you run for 12 hours straight? Not unless you worked up to it in a big way. If you did suddenly decide to run for 12 hours, you'd develop many of the same cramping, tingling, owie problems in your legs, as you get in your fingers from knitting like that. (When I went back to knitting after a year off to have the baby, I could only knit for about fifteen minutes at a time. I had to build up to it.) Muscle fatigue, that good tiredness you get after a workout, is fine. Anything more than that is not.
When the pain starts, STOP KNITTING. Take a break (a real break, not a quick run to the john), run some hot water over your hands (increases circulation), and kind of wiggle them around to loosen up everything. Slowly build up how long you knit, until you can maintain for longer amounts of time. These stories you hear/read about historic knitters doing crazy things like knitting a pair of socks a day or a Fair-Isle sweater in three days? Those were done by women who'd been knitting since early childhood and were used to it. (Not to mention they had different priorities - they were knitting stuff for sale so they could EAT.) Once you've knit steadily for a couple-five years, you can do the all-day knitathon too. (Though I'm not convinced it's good for you.) You've got to BUILD UP. Think marathon running. Same idea.
If anyone's gotten the idea from reading here that knitting through pain is okay, it's because I have nerve damage in my hand that causes pain for no good reason, all the time. Even then, if I can tell the difference between fatigue and nerve weirdness, I will take breaks from knitting or typing or whatever I'm doing. And I get sent to a hand specialist every few years for a checkup to make sure I'm not ignoring something important. So I'm (as usual, it seems), a weird case. Don't follow my example unless your doctor says it's okay. Seriously.
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled sarcasam. I think I've found the Ohio photos. (Bells, I took pics of the neighborhood for you.) And I caught the husbeast sitting under my full-spectrum light looking at my Bendigo Wool color card last night and snapped a picture. Hahaha.