Ana and Crystal are on Viewpoints!

Ana and I did an interview for the Viewpoints Podcast. We talk about knitting with visual impairments and share some tips and advice for other blind and low vision knitters.

 

Please check it out:  ViewPoints 1214 4-4-12 Knitting for the Visually Impaired

 

Also, check out  ViewPoints

A weekly, half hour radio program for people living with low vision

Find out more about the show and get links to the podcasts at:

www.ViewPointsPlus.net

 

JKnit Knitting Project Assistant for IPhone

I recently invested in an IPhone. It has been amazing to be able to use every feature of a phone. I haven’t been able to do that since I lost my sight ten years ago. But, rather than gushing on all the wonderful things I can do with the phone, I’ll just tell you about one app I found.

JKnit is a knitting assistant app. It costs $5.99 so I was very hesitant to try it out. Luckily for me it works perfectly with voiceover. The app allows you to keep track of your projects by the piece and by the row. You can use the online web portal to input all your project directions along with the row numbers they affect. Then you sync the app and all the information transfers to the phone. JKnit has a built in row counter and each time you get to a row it shows the directions for that row.

I’ve really enjoyed having an easy row counter. I turned off screen lock within the app so all I have to do is position voiceover to the counter plus button and sinply double tap each time I start a row. It will keep your place on multiple projects and it’s just so easy.

I can’t say enough wonderful things about JKnit. As a blind knitter it’s even more helpful since it allows me to have an accessible version of the pattern wherever I am. It’s true that I can also read online and text versions of patterns with the IPhone but having one integrated with a row counter is even better. The online web portal is also easy to use. Copy and paste your individual pattern instructions and you’re ready to go. I highly recommend it and the price is well worth it.

Here are some links to more information on JKnit:

JKnit Knitting Project Assistant App

JKnit User Guide

Ravelry Group for JKnit App Users

Direct Link to JKnit in the ITunes Store

Row Counter Bracelet

Karen’s post on i-cord gave me an idea for a row counter bracelet. This one is a double i-cord band that separates into two lengths of single i-cord, each with large beads that can be slid from one end to another, abacus style. There’s a divider that keeps the beads from sliding away from where they belong.

The idea is simple. The 9 beads on one length of i-cord each represent one row. The 10 beads on the other length of i-cord each represent 10 rows. Slide one bead from one side of the divider to the other each time you finish a row. When you get to Row 10, slide the 9 beads to the opposite side of the divider, and bring one of the other beads across.

While groovy in its own way, the bracelet isn’t the most stylish accessory on the planet, but it is practical and easy to carry around with your latest knitting project.

Materials

• 19 pony beads (9 of one shape, texture, or color and 10 of another). Pony beads are the pea or garbanzo sized beads with large holes, often used in children’s crafts. You can pick up some plastic pony beads at places like Wal-Mart and Michael’s, or you can order wood or glass pony beads from places like Shipwreck Beads.
• Small amount of yarn (DK or thinner). I used the Dk weight yarn leftover from a pair of socks. When I finished the bracelet, I still had enough to make plenty more. Worsted weight yarn is too thick to fit through the beads. Sport and fingering weight yarn work better. I worked from both ends of the yarn, so if you can’t find the other end, cut a length that is a couple of yards/meters long.
• 3.0 mm needles. Any needle that is 3.5 mm or thinner should work. I used a circular needle, but 2 DPN’s would have been just as well.
• Twist tie. This is the short length of wire you use to close plastic bags. They’re great for stringing beads and for sliding beads from the working yarn to the length of i-cord.
• Tapestry needle (for sewing and weaving in ends).

Bracelet

This really is a lot easier to make than it sounds. The goal is to make the bracelet a little smaller than you would like because the yarn stretches.

String 9 beads onto working yarn, and slide them away for now.

Cast on 6 sts.

Row 1: K3, P3.

Row 2: K3, bring working yarn to front of work, sl3.

Rep Row 2 until bracelet is 2 inches (5 cm) long.

String 10 beads to another end of yarn and slide them away for now.

Thread this second end of yarn through the 6 stitches on the needle so that the tail end is closest to the tip of the needle and the ball end is farthest. The result is 3 knit stitches followed by a working yarn, then 3 purl stitches followed by a second working yarn. You’re ready to work two separate pieces of i-cord.

Row 3: With first working yarn in back, k3; with second working yarn in front, p3.

Rep Row 3 until the separate i-cords are about 3.5 inches (9 cm) long.

Slide the twist tie through the 3 stitches of one i-cord. Fold the twist tie in half. Hold the working yarn next to the twist tie, and slide the beads down the working yarn and onto the i-cord. Slip the stitches back onto the needle, remove the twist tie, and do the same for the second i-cord.

Break the yarn of the i-cord that is farthest from the tip of the needle. Thread it through all 6 stitches, and continue with instructions, using the remaining working yarn.

Row 4: K3, bring working yarn to front of work, sl3.

Rep Row 4 2 inches (5 cm) more.

Bind off.

Sew Cast-on and bind-off edges together, and weave in all ends.

Divider

You can make the divider in a number of ways. I’ve tried all of these methods, and they all work, so it’s really a matter of which one you like best. The hardest part for all is securing the divider so that the beads can be pushed through intentionally, but not slide through on their own.

The method I’m using now is the first one listed. When I find someone with a camera, I’ll post a picture.

• Find a decorative button with a post in the back. Thread a 6-inch (15 cm) length of very narrow ribbon, yarn, or string through the post. Position the button between the two single i-cords. Wrap one end of the ribbon around one of the i-cords and thread it through the post; wrap the other end of the ribbon around the other i-cord and thread it through the post. Adjust the ribbon so that beads can be pushed through the loops. Then holding both tails together, tie an overhand knot with both ends to secure, trimming excess.
• Take a short-length of narrow elastic. Wrap it around one piece of single i-cord, then the other in a figure-8. Sew it in place, making sure the figure-8 loops are big enough to push the beads through, but not so big the beads can slide through on their own. If you don’t have any elastic, but you have some Fixation, Esprit, or another highly elastic yarn, you can make an i-cord loop that does the same thing.
• Make a rectangle that is roughly 2 inches (5 cm) long and 5 inch (1.2 cm) wide. Wrap it around both single i-cord strands. Then sew the two ends of the divider together (with seam in back),, sewing front and back of the divider together forming a waist between the single i-cords so that beads can be pushed through the divider.
• Make a length of i-cord that is 9 inches (22 cm) long. Fold the i-cord in half. Slip it under the bracelet. Pull ends through loop as when you make fringe. Then tie ends into a bow. Work loosely to give yourself enough room for pushing beads through.•

Review: APH Score Card as Row Counter

Many blind and low-vision knitters have a problem finding a good way to keep track of what row they are on.  One device I’ve found useful to count rows is the score card from APH.

These score cards are about 3” by 10” and very thin so they will go into most project bags easily. There are two rows of ten buttons each that can be used to count up to 110. I use the top row for tens and the bottom row for ones. The cards are made of thin plastic with a cardboard backing. They can be bent if you, for example, sit on one. However, they are very brightly colored so they would be easy for a low-vision person to see.

As for durability, I would say that, with care, they would last for a very long time. Now, if you compulsively press and un-press the buttons while talking on the phone, the plastic will break down and you’ll have holes where your buttons should be.

I like using one of these as a row counter. They are easy to lay on the table or couch and mark each row with just the press of a button. This can be done one handed so there is minimal interruption to your knitting or crocheting.

I would recommend these to anyone looking for a convenient way to count rows without a lot of hassle. You can find these score cards at APH and they are two for $15.

APH Score Cards

For other row counting ideas see Ana’s post, Asking Stitchers and Counting Rows

Asking Stitchers and Counting Rows

Blindness brings on the most interesting problems. They’re never the sorts of things sighted people think: I can get dressed, clean my house, go to work, and eat just fine, and I deal with other people’s lack of imagination as routinely though rarely as successfully. The problems tend to be in the little things, in the details, where the devil lies, as some would have it. Row counting is a prime example.

I can knit complex lace work while listening to a literary novel I plan to teach or discuss with one of my English teacher friends, but keeping track of which row I’m on, aside from simply observing the pattern, is not so easy. Commercial row counters don’t really work because they have either no tactile markings or tactile markings that are so small they’re hard to distinguish even with super blind fingers. So for ideas, I turned to my yarn council.

The Blind Stitchers Google group is fantastic. I learn a lot from the other yarn crafters on the list. Tips range from the practical to the truly inspired. Here’s a list of row counter substitutes they came up with during several discussions on the subject.

• Add coins or can tabs to a container or baggy.
• Count out X number of pieces of candy and eat one after every row.
• Make little tears along the edge of an index card.
• Move pegs on a cribbage board or Scrabble tray.
• Place one safety pin in hem of shirt or arm of couch for every row.
• Place strings or safety pins in work to mark repeats or X number of rows.
• Slide (Braille) Tags or can tabs on a ring.
• Slide Beads on a string or bracelet.
• Use Brynolf Pocket Counter (discontinued).
• Use abacus.
• Use cell phone app.
• Use PDA (write down the row you are on, deleting and changing the number with each row).
• Use Scorekeeper from American Printing House for the Blind.