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

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jocelynedenault
    May 08, 2019 @ 09:40:53

    Hi there!
    Very happy to see you revive the page!
    I am not blind but I teach knitting to French speaking blind and visually-impaired ladies in Montreal, Quebec.
    I also have a web page questionstricot.com with info and explanations of some concepts related to knitting (choosing yarn, recipes and patterns, how-to’s…) and video tutorials with lots of explanations: my knitters appreciate being able to hear me tell them what and how to do things.
    I also devised some tools to help them: a needle and a crochet gauge, and row counters (bracelet and necklace) available on my website (which I could offer you to sell if you wish.

    Bottom line: I am happy that you are there because I was thinking that maybe I should translate my page and now I don’t. I will simply refer the English speaking to yours!

    If I can help in anyway please do not hesitate to contact me?

    Greetings

    I
    Jocelyne Denault
    questionstricot.com

    Reply

    • crystal
      May 08, 2019 @ 11:13:35

      Jocelyne, thanks! It sounds like you have a great resource for French speaking knitters. I’ll be sure to include your info on our resources page. I am also interested in the tools you have designed, so I will email you about that.

      Reply

  2. Donna W. Hill
    May 09, 2019 @ 21:52:36

    Crystal, I’m so happy you’re reviving this. I’m sure it will bring more blind knitters into the fold.

    Reply

  3. Lynda Lambert
    May 10, 2019 @ 08:03:16

    I was pleased to find your blog through Donna W. Hill’s blog post today. This is a great resource and I will also share it. Occasionally, I publish a post on knitting at my Walking by Inner Vision Blog. In the last one I featured a photo of Donna’s dog, MO, wearing a scarf she creating using a pattern I adapted for my own use. I have profound sight loss – cannot see the stitches, yarn, or even the colors. I try to use patterns that have only K and P stitches – I have troubles with a lot of stitches.
    Here is my last post on knitting.
    http://www.lyndalambert.com/onerowscarf/

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Knit a One Row Scarf – Walking by Inner Vision

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: