Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with a condition that has lead to a visual impairment called Iow vision. I’s been quite a journey of learning, coping and adapting. I’s not the end of the world, and there are many tips and tricks to help. You just got to know about them! Hopefully my story will help someone out there! If this is your first visit, you may want to start with the first 5 or 6 posts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What was I thinking?

What was I thinking?  

Overexposed picture that shows the pattern.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me about a brand new knitting shop not far from our house. Since I enjoy knitting almost as much as beading, I had to check it out. It was delightful! They had samples hanging on every wall, and I wanted to make them all. The next day I attended a lecture by a man named Ron, who was describing a kind of wool called Buffalo Gold. The yarn, he said, was the second warmest wool available. It doesn’t pearl up or shrink, and if you get it wet, it will still keep you warm. He went on to talk about the American Bison and how the wool is produced, etc. etc. Meanwhile, he had this wonderful pair of fingerless mittens. I put them on and they felt soooo good and they were soooo pretty. I wanted to make them right away.

Ron didn’t have many colors of yarn and so I picked a hunter green. I checked my gauge by knitting a 2-inch square, bought some double-pointed size 3 needles, took my yard and pattern and I was on my way.

A day later, I sat back, totally frustrated. What was I thinking??????? The yarn is beautiful, but it has a little fuzz on it and if you aren’t careful it will split. Hunter green is a great winter color but it’s dark and hard for me to see. Size three needles make a tightknit fabric but the stitches are teeny tiny! And the gloves, gorgeous as they were, have a right twist with every K2 in stockinette and then an alternating left and right cross cable every 5 rows (for the non-knitters out there, what this means is,it's a fairly complicated weave).

One is almost complete!
It was slow going. I would knit a stitch and rip out a stitch. I completed a row and pulled out a row.  Pretty soon I got out the light and the optics. The little clip-on spectacles that I hated six months ago are now my best friends. They clip right over my glasses and have a couple different positions. When I position them in front of the distance part of my bifocals, I can hold the knitting farther away from me. When I get into trouble or have a difficult row (those cable stitches), I move them in front of the lower part of my bifocals and move the knitted fabric closer to me. Focusing farther away is easier on the eyes, but harder on the back; focusing closer is easier on the back, harder on the eyes.  I’m learning that using these relatively inexpensive clip-ons (A whole set from Amazon costs about 20 bucks) gives me flexibility. 

My work space for the bead class! See the
loupes and the clip-ons. The charlottes are
those teeny tiny beads in the front on the left.
In the middle of my knitting project, the Baltimore Bead Society sponsored a bead show with a class by one of my favorite instructors. I haven’t worked with little beads for over a year -- Just too frustrating.  Well, I thought I'd give it a try and signed up for Amy’s 6-hour class. Again, what was I thinking? Size 15’s and charlottes!  I packed up my special needles, Ott Light, clip-ons and my special, special eyeglasses with the telescopic loupes that look like what the dentist wears. Off I went awaiting what the day would bring.

I started slow, but within an hour had caught up with the class. I used to be the “fastest” beader in all the classes. It no longers matters. I was enjoying the new relationship I had with the beads.  The meditative and therapeutic quality of the beads was back and I had achieved bead-nirvana once again.

What I had learned is that yes, I can still do what I want. I may be slower and the results may not be perfect, but I can still do my knitting and beadwork.

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