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.

The Problem with Unfinished Objects

Two falls ago, I made a pair of fingerless gloves. Well, that’s not true. I started a pair of fingerless gloves.

I began at the fingers and bound off at the cuff. But when I was more than halfway through the mate, I decided the bind off wasn’t stretchy enough, so I frogged the mate and frogged most of the cuff of the first glove.

Then last fall, when I was halfway through the mate for the second time, a friend asked me how to close the holes at the bases of fingers. I’d put the gloves down so long ago that, in the interim, I learned how to make no-hole gloves, but I didn’t remember how exactly I’d done it, and I noticed my fingerless gloves would benefit from the new technique, so I frogged both again to start over—again.

Now the gloves are done. The first one is bound off loosely and so is the second. But the second isn’t bound off completely. I’ve got a circular needle in the lone loop that is left after a bind off.

The needle has been there since Christmas or maybe January. My plan was to write out the no-hole instructions and send them together with the gloves to my friend, who has moved to a place with snow. But I haven’t. I keep thinking my instructions aren’t as clear as they should be, keep thinking the gloves can be a little better, keep thinking I don’t have a box the right size or tissue paper to wrap them in. I keep waiting for the quality I know I’m capable of, for the perfect gifts to cheer a friend, but what I’m really doing is putting off the moment my friend can warm her hands.

Round Ridges, Welts, and Stripes

Here’s how you make garter in the round:

Rnd 1: K.
Rnd 2: P.
Rep Rnds 1 &2 for pattern.

If you’ve ever actually made garter in the round, you notice a little seam at the place where one round ends and the next begins. You don’t mind. In fact, you like it because it’s got a cool faux-sew feel, so you happily garter in the round wherever applicable.

Then one day, you’re feeling perfectionistic. Maybe you’ve attended a workshop with lots of spiffy knitters, or maybe you’ve read a blog that’s made you feel inferior in your modest yarniness, or maybe you’ve spent the day commenting on the imperfections of others and feel it’s time to move yourself one step closer to quintessence. Whatever the case, the seam is bothering you.

You notice the imperfect garter is caused by the fact that each round doesn’t line up with its neighbors. It’s really obvious when you work two rounds of knit stitches, one round of purl stitches, and two more rounds of knits. As you examine your work closely, you discover that the first purl stitch of the round is next to and below the last stitch of the round. They can’t line up, just like the loops in the wire spine of a spiral notebook don’t form a closed ring.

Suddenly you experience an overwhelming desire to make flawless garter in the round. You don’t know why it’s vital, but it is, and it’s more urgent than a potato chip craving or a yarn jones. You Google; you ask; you experiment; and finally, the mystery is solved.

Here’s how you make garter in the round without the faux-sew seam:

Rnd 1: K till 1 st rem, sl1.
Rnd 2: P all sts of rnd; slip first st of next rnd; new beg of rnd after slipped st.
Rnd 3: K all sts of rnd; slip first st of next rnd; new beg of rnd after slipped st.
Rep Rnds 2 & 3 for pattern.

Notice two things are happening:
1. Each round is one round plus one stitch long, so the beginning of the round is always moving. When you’re new to this, you can place a marker at the beginning of the round, moving it as you go, but once you get used to identifying the slipped stitch, you can do it without a marker.
2. You’re always slipping the last stitch of the round. This pulls the higher stich down to the level of the lower stitch.

The same technique helps you with welted stitches like:
Rnds 1-2: K.
Rnds 3-4: P.
If the welts consist of 3 or more rounds, you still have to slip the last stitch of the round, but the beginning of the round can stay where it is—no moving required.

The technique is exactly what you do when you work horizontal stripes of different colors.

You make incredible garter, welts, and stripes in the round. You are most amazing!

Just Hangin’

The other day, my mom, who is my crafty accomplice, was at one of those Dollar Plus stores, the ones that sell a little of everything, from the groceries and toilet trees you use everyday to the gadgets and containers you can’t find anywhere else. She found a perfect holder for the spare yarn that can’t be put away because it’s being used in a current project, but probably shouldn’t be cluttering up the coffee table or CD rack.

According to the label, the container is meant to hold stuffed animals and other small toys. It’s shaped like a drum or the sort of pan you boil vegies in. Well, it’s shaped like two, one stacked on top of the other. It’s made out of a fine netting or mesh, the stuff collapsible laundry hampers are made out of, and to give it shape, it’s got three plasticky wire rings, one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle, where the two drums or pots meet. Each of the drums or pots has a hole in the side. This is where you reach in to fill the container with yarn or to pull another ball out. There’s a loop on the top surface for you to hang the contraption.

So far, it seems to be working, though I miss the lovely yarn accent in my decor.

New Written Chart

I’ve updated our Written Charts page to include the written chart for the Moon and Stars baby blanket. A kind volunteer translated it in June and I’m just now finally getting it uploaded. Better late than never I say. Enjoy!

Check out the link for the Written Charts page at the top to find the new text and a few others.

Knitpicks Color Descriptions

Earlier today I was doing some yarn browsing online. I was technically supposed to be getting a couple balls of yarn for a baby blanket I’m making. It looks like I’ll be about 3 or 4 balls short in two different colors. Knitpicks didn’t have any more of one color I needed. After some venting and measuring I decided I could still make the blanket with the yarn I have. It will just be a bit smaller.

Being on the Knitpicks website is never a good thing for me. Well, I think it’s a good think but my checkbook might not agree. So, while I was browsing through the Felici fingering self-striping sock yarn I was feeling mildly irritated. I was going to have to call a friend and get her to describe the colors for me. Seeing as this is the same friend I just vented to about the shortage of blanket yarn I didn’t really want to bother her. We’ll not even mention the fact that I’m not supposed to be buying yarn for the rest of 2012. Then I decide to click on the View Larger Image link for a color way called Time Traveler. I’m a big science fiction fan so the name appeals to me. I’m thinking in my head that there just might be more information about the yarn. Probably not, but just maybe. I get the surprise of the day. They have color descriptions of each color way. How totally awesome is that? I checked a couple of others to see if they all had it and they do. Then I look back over the information right before the list of colors. Lo and behold if I slow down just a little there’s a line that says “Click on each thumbnail to see larger images and color descriptions.” Imagine that. I have no idea how long these descriptions have been there. I’m pretty sure they weren’t there when I first started shopping at Knitpicks but who knows. This will make my yarn shopping so much more informed and even more fun. Like I need another reason to buy more yarn. I have a feeling that Time Traveler will be in my stash very soon.

Yes, it really is a Ravelry app for the IPhone!

And it works with Voiceover!!

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying there needs to be a Ravelry app since I first got my IPhone. Just a little over a year later my dreams have come true. Yay me!

 

Wooly is a new app for Apple IOS. It’s definitely a work in progress but it looks like the developers have the potential to make this a great app. I’m already impressed. We all know about the trepidation every time we have to buy an app. Is this going to work with Voiceover or not? At first glance this app is almost completely accessible. The only thing I had a problem with was something called Happiness. First of all I didn’t even know this feature existed on Ravelry. Apparently it adds descriptive words based on how high you rate a project on the Happiness scale. My Petri Shell now says it is an Uggh! On the Happiness scale. I must have done this with the app but I can’t recreate the action. This project would have actually been something like 90% which is a lot better than Uggh! Other than that I could edit all the things the app says I should be able to edit. One very exciting thing is that I could adjust the progress percentage. I can’t do that on my PC. I tried to explain how awesome this was to my husband and it just went right over his head. Poor darling probably thinks his wife is crazy. So far though the most totally awesome thing about Wooly is its photo uploading feature. You can take a photo from within the app and upload it directly to Ravelry. Had previously mentioned husband take photo of me in Petri and I had it uploaded in about 30 seconds. We all know how long it takes with the usual digital camera to computer to Ravelry to project method. The app has the photo option from within each individual project so it eliminates that step. There are also photo editing features right in the app.

I’m really excited about this app. It has a lot of great features and the potential for many more. I’m going to contact the developers about the one issue I had with accessibility. Oh, and the edit button says 14gear. I think they could fix that without much trouble. Wooly costs $2.99. I would have paid more so this is a really great price.

 

For more information:

 

Wooly in the ITunes store

 

Ravelry group for Wooly

 

There are also Ravelry apps for Android and Windows users. Check out the article on apps for Ravelry on the Ravelry homepage. You might need a Rav ID to see the article.

 

One last interesting thing is that Ravelry developers are creating a mobile site. It can be found at m.ravelry.com. From my windows PC this site is totally inaccessible. From my IPhone it appears to work fine from a quick glance over. It looks like you can use it to browse all your project information plus a few other things. The developers say they are updating it as they add more features so it’s not finished yet.

 

 

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