I know far too many folks who have given up crochet because it hurts their hands. This is one reason that I continue to learn as much as I can about how our hands work and modifications that can help us avoid injury when crocheting.
Something I have observed when watching other folks crochet, and when crocheting myself, is that working into actual stitches instead of spaces can create greater tension in the hand and wrists. That tension can translate to pain in the neck, shoulders and even our backs if it goes on too long.
It is one of the reasons I like crocheting and designing lace or open-work (holey) stitch patterns so much. Those types of stitch patterns are easier when working with “furry” yarns as well.
One of the simplest of open-work stitches is the V-stitch. Once you get the initial foundation rows set up you will very rarely need to stitch into the top of a stitch. I also love how drapey the fabric is with this stitch and have used it often as my “go-to” stitch pattern when I just want to make a quick scarf.
My favorite version of the V-stitch is (Dc, ch 1, dc) in same stitch or space. The stitches can be worked into the Chain-1 spaces of the V-stitches on the row below or worked into the space between V-stitches to create an off-set pattern.
Another great hand friendly stitch pattern is the classic Granny Square. The “shells” of the square are all worked into spaces with a slip stitch ending each round.
Like the V-stitch there are a number of versions of Granny Squares out there. The version I tend to use the most has 3 dc “Shells” divided by a chain 1, then chain 2s for the corners. After the center “round” or square is completed additional squares can use a new color or be repeated in the same color. I tend to turn each round as I often work my granny squares in a continuous yarn strand, instead of the typical multi-colored squares.
If you find your hands getting sore from tighter projects have a few holey projects at hand to mix things up. You just might be surprised how much happier your hands will be.