Knitting without Sight

Many knitters knit without looking while conversing with others and may not think about that fact. When I point this out to sighted knitters they then realize, yes; they do knit often without looking. Here are ideas to make it easier to knit with vision loss.

Organization: Be organized with a system of labeling the color of yarns and sizes of knitting needles, in a format that works for you. In the Appendix of my Needle Arts books you will find adaptive ideas for labeling supplies non-visually.

Two friends who have knitted without sight all their life use the following systems of labeling in braille. Braille the skein label with the color or place yarns in bags with braille color label on the bag. For leftover yarns, tie a braille label onto the end of the ball of yarn. Needle sizes can be identified with a braille label attached with a rubber band onto the end of the needle or add braille adhesive label to a standard needle gauge. Keep track of colors when knitting with different colors in a project, using yarn loop knots at end of yarn or use different shape bobbins or paperclips. Knit markers, stitch holders or safety pins of various sizes use for placement of pieces and stitch patterns.

 Supplies for beginner knitters: different sizes of larger needles, size 10 minimum to size15; bulky yarns or strips of fabric 1”-2” wide from sheeting or knit T-shirts; large safety pins as markers; a recording device for: Q & A, the learning session to refer back to and other note taking info while learning.

Beginners start with finger knitting. Then graduate to large size needles with bulky yarn or knit fabric strips so it will be easier to feel the stitch, to understand what the stitch is and to more easily be able to problem solve the dropped or mistaken stitches. Once the skill is learned the smaller needles, smaller stitches and less bulky size yarns will be easier to manage, especially with dropped stitches.

Learn stitches in the following order: casting on, knit stitch, casting off, purl stitch, increase & decrease, yarn over, etc. I prefer teaching casting on with the continental double needle knit technique. Because the tension of the first row is more consistent making it easier to tactially feel with less confusion. And the knit stitch is learned in the process, so the actual knitting process starts with more ease.

Project Suggestions: Using fabric strips make a sampler or trivet or coaster or pillow or rug; with worsted yarns or thinner make a scarf, belt, hat, cell phone holder, baby size blanket, slippers, etc.

Pick out a pattern: There are knitting books available in braille for braille readers from the American Printing House, Our Special Magazine, National Braille Press, Blind Mice Marked. Or have a friend/reader record patterns on a recording device. Or scan patterns with a scanner, transfer to a disc or a braille embosser. Graphs need to be dictated.

 Handling dropped stitches: Catch a dropped stitch with a small safety pin and go up the ladder of yarn above using safety pin. Use the pin to loop the stitches over or under to make the desired stitch pattern. For some, this is easier than using a crochet hook. There is also a tool, “Fix-A-Stitch”, that may be easier to use than a crochet hook. Imagine a 3-inch crochet hook with hooks at both ends. Crochet hooks can be stored in plastic snack lock bags and labeled.

Resources: “Fix-A-Stitch”, www.FixAStitch.com includes video and written instructions

Knitting Guild of America

“Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How to Enjoy Needle Felting Without Sight
” by Shireen Irvine Perry. Sample or purchase Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How to Enjoy Needle Felting Without Sight: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/415878

“Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How To Enjoy Making Braided Rugs Without Sight” by Shireen Irvine Perry. 
Sample or purchase Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How To Enjoy Making Braided Rugs Without Sight: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/415873

“Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How to Enjoy Machine Sewing Without Sight”, 
Sample or purchase Needle Arts with Vision Loss: How to Enjoy Machine Sewing Without Sight: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/530511

“Projects for Kids of All Ages, Kids Knitting” by Melanie  Falick

 

Enjoy Knitting with or without sight!

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