Knitting Blindfolded




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Little Cabin Knits is a biweekly podcast all about knitting, mental health, advocacy, my pregnancy journey, and life happenings here in the wilds of Alaska with a little bit of Hygge sprinkled throughout. I’m your host Emily. I am a knitter, crafter, mental health therapist, and explorer of my home state of Alaska


This week’s episode contains:

Admin

’Raise a Cuppa

On the Couch

On the Shelf

A Time for Hygge

Contemplation Corner


Admin:

“Project Down Along” is going strong! I am seeing a lot of people post on IG and on the Ravelry thread their FO's so keep it coming!

  • PAL (project Along) is running from January 1- May 31st

listen to past episodes for a list of all the other amazing donations/prizes we have for this KAL/PAL

o Remember to use the hashtag #projectdownalong2022 on IG and I’ve also opened a FO thread in our Revelry group of Between Knits and Purls.

o We are also getting close to the end of the PAL so make sure you have entered in all your projects to win these amazing prizes! Remember I am choosing winners at the end of May (hopefully but if I am unable then as soon as I can podcast after baby is born) from both the Raverly thread and those that used the hashtag on IG :)


I was recently interviewed for the audio podcast "Gravel Knits" in which I had a rollicking good time with my friends Kelsi and Caitlyn. You can find the episode, which is called "GK Off The Trial Episode 14: Interview with Emily from Little Cabin Knits" on all major streaming apps and I have also linked the episode in my show notes at www.betwweenknitsandpurls.com.


’Raise a Cuppa

It's been a bit over three weeks since I last podcasted. Mainly because I have been so tired my friends, and I didn't think I was knitting enough to share anything with you. I have had a few health scars that led me to the ER once and OB triage a second time. These visits have led to more instruction to lay down, usually on my side, as much as possible and it is hard to knit while laying down in that way!


But I have found moments to knit here and there and it has given me encouragement.


Life here in Alaska moves on and we can see the transition from winter to spring here. Spring is not a pretty time in Alaska. It is full of dark colors, mud, windy days and days that we feel are to hot to handle (38 degrees at this point) all because our blood has thickened and slowed over the winter months.


But there is also excitement in the air, people are breaking out their bikes, and going hiking, trudging through the mud and muck because it just feels so good to be moving more freely. The air is thick with molding leaves and each step reveals new smells seeping up from the wet earth. But we breath them in deeply because for so long the snow has masked the smell of earth and growth.


People are out spreading their huge piles of snow over their driveway and street as they are so eager to get the soppy mess gone and reveal the fresh earth below.


Yesterday I was on my way home from my OB appointment and I even saw a woman driving a convertible with the top down and wearing short sleeves. I looked at the temperature in that moment and saw that it was 42 degrees out. Balmy by our estimation!


The days are getting longer and the sun stays bright so we find ourselves with more energy to do things. It is a strangely depressing and exciting time here in Alaska.


Mr. Radio continues to enjoy his new job, and I am working furiously to prepare my job for the time I will be taking off in a little over a month. I continue to train my coworkers but I am also lining up guest speakers to present while I am out of the office.


At night Mr. Radio and I continue to work on preparing for Jimmy's coming, though I get tired faster and since I am not allowed to lift 90% of things I often feel bad as I lay on the couch or recline in the chair and direct Mr. Radio in things to do.


This week my new desk arrived and Mr. Radio put it together for me so we have been working on finally organizing the nursey/office, though it is sort of unsatisfying as we still do not have a crib and so there is little we feel we can do to prepare for his coming in that room. But still we find little projects here and there to inspire us.


We have also been taking our evening walks and I was so excited last week when I completed the entire 1.6 mile route we used to take with ease before I was pregnant. I was extremally exhausted afterwards but it felt so good to have sore muscles instead of a sore belly lol.


All in all life has been good to use these past few weeks.


On the Couch

Tendrilly by Dee O'Keefe (link to Ravelry)

Knit using Brava worsted minis in the colorway Marina.

Using US 7's

pattern is a lace and cable motif.


Casting On This Weekend:

Robot Knit Amigurumi by Ami Gaines (Ravelry Link)

Ami Gaines Etsy shop


Woodland Tales Animal Mobile by Amanda Berry (Ravelry Link)



On the Shelf

Jelly Roll Blanket by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears (link to Ravelry)

I can't believe it my friends but the 8 month saga of Jimmy's baby blanket is done! I expanded the main blanket by inserting a strip of self striping leftovers on each end. I then measured the blanket again and was pleased to see that before blocking the main body measured 30" wide by 41" long Perfect!

I then took the evening to weave in all the multitude of ends and washed the blanket in the tub. I then laid it out to dry over my drying rack - I just let it dry as it would without pinning it out.


I then used undyed fingering weight to crochet the border. I am used the book "Every Which Way Crochet Borders" by Edie Eckman to help me navigate this and choose from the 100+ border designs she has in the book to pick the just right one. Mr. Radio and I poured over the designs and in the end decided that a simple shell border was what we liked best. I have to say it turned out perfect! I love the simplicity of the whole thing and the colors just make me so happy. I could stare at this blanket all day and I can't wait to wrap my baby boy in it!


This blanket also counts for another of my #projectdownalong2022 entries and that gives me a lot of encouragement as well. So far I have finished 5 projects that I had been languishing in my wip pile.



Personal Skill Set

As I mentioned earlier, I was interviewed by my good friends at the audio podcast, Gravel Knits, that was an interesting experience. I had held lots of interviews with others in our knitting community but I had never been interviewed. To say I was nervous is an understatement. As per usual I was very open and honest during the interview, sometimes perhaps a tad to honest lol.


At one point I was asked to relay how I learned to knit. Technically my mother tried to teach me to knit when I was younger around the age of ten and twelve but it didn't stick. Then when I was a missionary at the age of 21 I learned to knit by a beautiful blind Maury woman I met in Elko Nevada. She would invite us in and let us talk to her about the gospel and she was always knitting. Soon I was asking her about it and our visits evolved into her listening to our lessons and then she giving me lessons on knitting. She insisted that I learn to knit without sight as she did. Now she knit beautiful things, I recall a sweater she was working on in multiple colors, at the time I had no idea what that technique was called but even today I am blown away at her ability to do such intricate work blind. This beautiful woman taught me to knit scarves in your basic garter stitch. I often wonder what else she would have taught me if I hadn't been transferred back to Las Vegas.


I related this story during the interview and one of their listeners reached out to me and asked if I could talk more about knitting without sight. I think this is a goal of most knitters, to learn how to knit without having to look down, or in the dark in case you are in a movie theater or loose power. I never learned to knit the more technical stitches such as lace or color work without sight, however, I can give you insight into what she taught me as it has stood me in good stead over the years. I can knit garter and stockinette without looking down. I can carry on conversations, walk, and watch movies in the dark without fear that I will make a mistake as long as the pattern is that easy.


So today I will provide the insights she imparted to me all those years ago...almost 20 years exactly in fact.


My friend started me out by just handling the yarn with my eyes closed. She only ever had me knit with worsted weight as she taught me (I didn't even know about other weights of yarn like fingering weight until two years after she first taught me). Showing me by feel how to hold the yarn in my hands and to feel it gliding through my fingers. She had me wrap the yarn around my pinky, then up through the palm of my hand and over the tip of my pointer finger. I learned the feel of the yarn as it glided through my fingers and I was so excited when I figured out that by bringing my pinky close to my other fingers it could slow or even stop the movement of the yarn. I played around with running the yarn through my fingers that entire week.


Then she handed me a pair of wooden, straight needles and told me to carry them around for a week and just play. Not with yarn but handle them on their own, twirl them and so forth. I remember at one point pretending to play air drums with them in the car. lol.


When next we met she sat in front of me and guided my hands through the casting on process. Looking back on this now I am even more impressed because she had to reverse her movements to provide me the correct movements to cast on. she taught me the method of using a slip knot and then knitted cast on.


She had me repeat this cast on process over and over with her hands on top of mine so I couldn't really see what I was doing as her hands blocked my vision. This then was my assignment for that week- to practice casting on over and over without looking. This I found extremely difficult and I almost gave up a few times because I would make such a mess of things. Much yarn was ripped out, cut and thrown away that week. But I am glad that I persevered because this simple cast on method set me up for success the next week when she taught me how to feel the yarn for the knit stitch.


She patiently taught me how to feel the stitches on my needles, and to separate them out, again by feel alone, so that I could knit. She used the old nursery rhyme to teach me the knit stitch:


In through the front door,

Around the back

Peep through the window,

And off jumps Jack!


All this was done by feel alone and it was a slow and painstaking process, but because the cast on had been so difficult for me this new technique was easier to master. The toughest part for me was learning to hold the needles close together and trap the new stitches on the needle so they didn't fall off. But because she had taken things so slowly with me, my confidence in handling the yarn was pretty solid.


For weeks, perhaps even four, all I did was knit that knit stitch. When I did allow myself to look at the fabric I was creating I would get discouraged as it was not pretty or even. In fact there were distinct holes in the fabric where I had dropped stitches, or perhaps did an unintentional yarn over. Some stitches were tights, others were so loose you could see through them. But my friend had warned me that this would happen and that I should look on this as my training period and just remember to enjoy the feel of the yarn and movement of the needles.


My friend never taught me another stitch as I was transferred back to Las Vegas before I had mastered the knit stitch to her satisfaction. But the ground work had been done. Knitting was a visceral experience to me, calming my anxiety and keeping me centered at a time I needed it. I knit and ripped out the same skein of yarn for months after I parted ways with her.


Now I know my explanation is not great and in fact could be seen more as a story then instructions on how you could learn to knit without sight. So I was curious to know what else was out there on the internet about this. I found a beautiful blog called "working out Kinks and Fingering Yarn" that I have linked in the show notes if you would like to read about knitting blind from an actual person who is sight impaired.


I also found a video on YouTube from a young woman who is sighted but wanted to learn to knit by feel when she was in college. Her method and suggestions are definitely directed to a sighted audience but I still thought it could come in handy for some of you.


Knitting blindfolded , or without sight, is a great skill to master whether you have sight or not. Just remember to be patient with yourself. Give yourself challenges to master such as a certain number of stitches to nit by feel and then check your work. Knit a swatch or with scrap yarn to hone this technique. I would not suggest trying this on a current project as you may find things difficult, frustrating and end up ripping out the project in the end. I also recommend starting from scratch again. Just like my friend taught me, to feel the yarn and tools before we actually put them together. Good luck on this journey my friends!



A Time for Hygge

On the subject of knitting blind I thought I would make up a little game to play for A Time For Hygge this episode.


Invite a friend, partner, or child to play along with you for this.


Each of you gather objects from around the house, say 10 items or so, and place them in a basket, or a pile. But don't show them to your "opponent." Using a handkerchief or scarf, blindfold your opponent while they are in a comfortable seated position. Place one object from your pile into their hands and allow them to explore it by feel. Perhaps set a timer for how long they are allowed to explore the object if you are feeling especially competitive ;) then ask them to name the object.


If you want to bring in more mindfulness to this game, you can invite them to describe what they are feeling through their fingertips as they explore the object. Is it cold or warm to the touch? Soft, smooth, hard, or textured? What shape can they feel through their fingertips? Does it make a sound?


After they have named the object place it down in front of them and record their answer. Continue through each object you gathered and at the end take of the blindfold and explore the answers with each other, perhaps have a few laughs about their answers.


Alternative sequence to the game would be that after each item is explored and named by the blindfolded person, you can uncover their eyes and reveal the object to them and then you take a turn at being blindfolded.


This game, or exercise is fun, challenging, uses mindfulness techniques, and can teach us important skills around using other senses that we often take for granted.


Contemplation Corner

“When we still our mind and stroll through the human landscapes around us, we can see astounding images sneaking from undisclosed places, and hear roaring sounds behind unsuspected walls. If we take the time to listen to the blistering flurry of the silence and look at the inconspicuous specks in our surroundings, our world can turn into an explosion of little wonders. We realize that we finally recognize the things we have overlooked, due to our deafness and blindness. ("Fish for silence.")”

Erik Pevernagie - Belgian artist

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