The Allusive Finished Object

For most knitters, and I think most people, there is a completion rate that is needed to feel like the activity being pursued is valid or worth the time that is put in to it. In other words, if I don’t finish anything, I don’t feel like an accomplished knitter. The needed completion rate varies with each person, and for me, it varies with time. At the moment, I am 100% certain that I am choosing the wrong projects because I feel like I am getting exactly no where with my knitting.


The first problem seems to be that I’ve cast on approximately 18 fingering weight sweaters and cardigans. Well, only 2, and another with DK yarn with a small gauge, but it seriously feels like 18. These sweaters are going to be wonderful when I finish them, but the knitting time for a fingering weight sweater is probably twice that of a worsted weight version.


Rose Cardigan

Soft Texture Pullover

Windswept Cardigan


In an effort to remedy this, I am making a cardigan for my son with bulky yarn. He is smaller, and the yarn is bigger, so it will take less time, right? Yes, but he has grown since I bought the yarn, and I am worried that I won’t have enough yardage to finish the sweater. Between worrying about running out of yarn and the need to sit by my computer when I work on it so that I can follow the chart, the sweater still isn’t finished. If I wait much longer, he is going to grow again.


Urban Hiker Cardigan


And, don’t forget about that beaded shawl that I was making great progress on until I had to stop because there was some crazy mistake that I needed help fixing. It has been fixed and waiting on me to work on it for months now. The problem with that one is that it is now taking something like an hour to knit one row, involving a whole extra level of motivation to pick it up.


Stockinette Haruni Shawl


On top of all that, two of the sweater projects have mistakes that I have to fix before I can continue the knitting. They are not major mistakes, I just don’t want to take the time to do the least fun part of knitting. At some point, I will though. In the meantime, I think I need to find a few quicker knits to balance out the more long-term projects.

New Facebook Page and Group

I have set up a new Facebook Page and Group. They are works in progress, but please go ahead and follow or join as you like!



Follow Working Out Kinks and Fingering Yarn on Facebook to get notifications when we post to the blog!


The new group is here: Facebook group for blind knitters and crafters. This group will mostly be restricted to blind and low-vision crafters, but a few sighted members may be approved on a case by case basis.

Getting Started – Knitting Resources for Blind and Low-Vision Knitters

Over the past few days, I have been working on reviving and updating the blog. One thing I have noticed is that it might not be entirely obvious how to get started with knitting when you are blind or low-vision, and it would be helpful to consolidate the resources available for blind knitters into one page. That page will take a little longer to finish, but I wanted to post this information as a sort of precursor to the complete page, which will be coming soon.


If there is anything that you think a blind or low-vision knitter should know, or if there is a resource that has been helpful to you as a blind knitter, please share it with us in the comments so I can include it on the resources page. We already have some listed in the blog roll, but I want to make sure we don’t miss anything that might be helpful.



A Few Notes on Knitting While Blind


Learning to knit can be a daunting prospect for many people, including those of us who are blind or visually impaired. The good news is that it really doesn’t take a lot of tools or materials to begin. Essentially, all you need is a set of needles and some yarn. OK, maybe some scissors, but that is it.


As far as being able to knit without seeing what you are doing well or at all, it’s not a big deal. Most blind people do things every day that sighted people are unable to imagine doing without seeing. I always have to laugh when we lose power for some reason and my husband and son scrounge for the camping lanterns like they have to have light to see or something. To me, it’s not a big deal that the lights won’t come on. It is also not a big deal to me that I can knit.


So, when I learned to knit, my sister-in-law simply took some time to think about how to explain things verbally. When we sat down for my knitting lesson, she let me feel the needles and the stitches to show me what she was doing. Then, she watched what I did while I was learning and fine-tuned what I needed to understand what to do. That last part is exactly what any knitting instructor does, so no one needs to stress about teaching a blind person to knit.


As I have written in a previous post, I wanted to write tutorials because not everyone has someone to teach them to knit in person. And, while there are a lot of knitting tutorials online, they largely rely on pictures or videos when the explanations get harder to verbalize. For people who can’t see those, they are much less effective. My hope is that the written descriptions of techniques that Ana and I have posted to this blog will help to remedy this problem for anyone who is blind or low-vision and wants to learn to knit.


In the next section, I’ll list a few tips for learning to knit as well as links to tutorials and other resources that I think are helpful.



A Few Notes on Learning to Knit


To learn to knit, I recommend using needles in the mid-range of sizing. If they are too small, it is more difficult to see or feel the stitches you are creating, and if they are too large, it is likely that your stitches will be less defined. Also, your needles should always be the appropriate size for the yarn you want to use. Typically, a beginning knitter should begin with what is known as worsted weight or size 4 yarn. For this yarn, the needles will probably be either 7, 8, or 9 in US sizing.


As for learning to knit, many communities in the US have yarn shops or knitting groups that are already established. For example, our local knitting guild offers free beginner knitting classes at our local library a few times each year. Try to find something like that in your area if you can. Knitters are some of the friendliest people, and most will be willing to help you learn.


If you can find someone to show you how to knit, great. If you can’t, there are plenty of resources online, including written tutorials on this blog.



Online Resources


See these tutorials for written descriptions of the knitting basics.



A slip knot is one of the most common ways to begin with knitting or crochet. There are other options, and if you find this part too complicated, any loop or knot will do to get you started.


Tutorial: Slip Knot



The foundation of knitting is the cast on. See this tutorial for the knitted cast on.


Tutorial: Casting On



The two basic stitches in knitting are known as knitting and purling. See these tutorials for written descriptions of each.


Tutorial: Knit Stitch

Tutorial: Purl Stitch



And, last but not least, is the bind off. There are many ways to do this, but this tutorial explains the knitted bind off.


Tutorial: Binding Off



Here are a couple of other helpful resources. This is not a comprehensive list, but two of the most useful resources that I know of for blind and low-vision knitters.


To find a community of other blind knitters who are incredibly friendly, experienced, and willing to answer any question a new knitter can think of, check out the Blind Stitchers Google Group.


For a learn to knit book written by Davey Hulse, a fellow blind knitter, see this post with more information. The Touch of Yarn by Davey Hulse

The Touch of Yarn

Contributed by Davey Hulse


Once again, Crystal and Ana have really honored me by asking that I update my article about my book “The Touch of Yarn, Beginner Knitter’s Primer”, copyright 2009.


The first question you should be asking is:  Are you blind or just another sighted author trying to teach us something.  I’m totally blind and have been since grade school.  So, I’m one of us.


Most people ask why I wrote it, and the simple answer is:  Because when I started knitting around Labor Day of 2007, I couldn’t find a set of instructions or book that really spelled out each step in absolutely clear terms.  How do you hold the needles?  How do you control the yarn?  What’s a stitch?  Where do I set the ball of yarn to keep it under control?  Oh, and what’s a ball of yarn?  The stuff in the store looks more like a tube or a disk!


So, once I picked enough brains and did enough trial and error, I got the basic skills under my belt.  Then as new people joined our blind knitter group, I started trying out my skill at explaining things is simple, straight forward language so that there couldn’t be any mistake what I meant.  It worked.


And, so, the Touch of yarn was born.


The other thing was that in all the instructions, no one gave any real guidance about sorts of projects that would bring success quickly, and I know that for myself if I don’t have success pretty quickly, I get frustrated.  That’s why every chapter and lesson has its own project that can be done within a couple or three hours, long enough to learn the skill but quick enough so that the project is done and the student can move on.


I’d watched many first-time knitters take on a scarf with ordinary worsted weight yarn on medium sized needles.  That’s a project that is somewhere around nine or ten thousand stitches.  When a person is just learning it’s going to take a minute or so for every five or six stitches.  Fifteen hundred minutes or twenty-five hours is way too long for a first project.  No wonder in many of the bags of yarn I buy at the thrift store there are obvious scarf projects done by beginners.  They get bored and frustrated and give up.


Before I started writing the book, I thought my audience was going to be only low vision and blind knitters.  But when I started having friends and family use the lessons, my sighted family members were really excited.  My daughter wrote in her blog that the typical lesson book with all its pictures just confused her and that for the first time knitting instructions were making sense.  A special ed teacher who had also been a mentor for a youth knitting guild was extremely complimentary and said that she wanted to use it for her sighted kids.


So, what can you learn from the book?  And, what kinds of projects can you get done?


It will take you all the way from buying your first supplies and knitting a piece of fabric about 4 by 4 inches (10cm by 10cm) through what I call advanced beginner skills.  Can you knit up a fancy scarf?  Yes.  Can you knit up a sweater using cables?  Yes.  Can you sew stuff together?  Yes.  Can you fix things when you make mistakes?  You bet.


And, there’s enough in the book that if you are adventurous and creative, you can even take a pattern from the Internet and modify it to make it truly your own thing of beauty.


I’m not much of a self-promoter and it feels awkward for me to sort of hawk my wares to you, but I’d really love you to be able to knit and to have the sort of success that I’ve had.  At my granddaughter’s third birthday I gave her a hooded sweater that I had knit up.  It was just as gratifying to hear the adults in the room muttering, “You made that,” as it was to have the little sweetie put it on, say “It fits,” and come over and hug me.  Also, when my Mom suffered a heart attack, I knit up an afghan and got it to her for comfort and her naps during her recovery.  Later she said she used it every day.  I knit my Dad a shrug to keep his shoulders warm.  He used it up until his recent passing.


And, of course, I can’t count the number of smiles I’ve had as I feel one or another of the many scarves and shawls I’ve made my wife as she wears them.


So, come along and join me in this wonderful, addictive and creative art form.


Davey Hulse, Salem, Oregon


Ordering The Touch of Yarn, A Beginner Primer


Pick a format:


Hard Copy

Print: $25

8.5 by 11 Braille (2 volumes): $30

11 by 11.5 Braille (one volume) $25


Electronic: $20 each

MS Word


.brf for 8.5 by 11 (2 files)

.brf for 11 by 11.5 (1 file)


Ordering process:


I use PayPal.  My account is:


Deposit the money into that account, then email me with your choice of format.


If you want hard copy, I’ll need a physical address.


If you want an electronic copy, please specify which one.


When I get notification from PayPal that the money has arrived, I’ll begin processing the books.


Thank you for your interest in my book, and happy knitting.




A New Knitting and Blogging Beginning

When working on this blog a few years ago, there came a point where I felt, and I think Ana did to, that we had covered the majority of the basics of knitting for blind crafters, and we were going to have to begin thinking of a different type of material to keep contributing to the blog. Around this time, I went back to college, and life suddenly became much busier. Sadly, writing for the blog was the ball I dropped in the juggling act of life. The good news is that we all tend to go back to things we love doing, and I have wanted to get back to writing about knitting. I also find myself in that limbo between graduation and landing a job that plagues so many students, so this is a great time for me to refresh the blog and begin adding new content.


I have spent the last 6 years or so being a full-time college student, so between that and being a mom and wife, my knitting has taken a backseat to the more stressful things in life. One of the best things about the past year, which has been a bit less hectic, has been getting back to knitting. Now I am in that all too familiar knitting situation – too many works in progress leading to nothing ever getting finished. In some ways, it is like I am still finding my rhythm again. I am working on way too many sweaters and cardigans on light weight yarn and small needles, which is not helping the situation at all. Over the next few weeks, I will post about the projects I am working on, and hopefully roll out some new ideas meant to help blind people who are learning to knit or crochet.


One of my ideas is a YouTube channel devoted to video tutorials for people who can’t see the videos well or at all. The videos would essentially be verbal descriptions of knitting skills much like our previous blog posts have been written descriptions. There are a lot of video tutorials out already, but I find most of them very frustrating because the person speaking in the video usually assumes that the viewer can see what he/she is doing in the video. At the same time, it is easier to listen to a video and do the steps than it is to try the new technique while reading a blog post. I think the answer is videos based more on verbal descriptions. Most likely, there will still be a visual component, but it won’t be required that the listener see the screen to use the video.


Please let me know in the comments if you would be interested in video tutorials for blind and low-vision crafting. We are also open to any ideas about how we can make this blog even better for our readers, so give us any ideas you have.