Monday, February 14, 2011

How to Teach Blind People to Crochet

crochet image by Lytse from Fotolia.com

Super interesting and fun article to write.  In my investigation I watched some very insightful videos from Perkins School for the Blind.  For example: "Do not grab or move the student´s hands. Just as you would not stick your hands into someone´s eyes to get them to look at something, you should not grab a blind person´s hands. If you want them to feel something you can gently offer what you want them to "see" in front of their hands and invite them to touch it." See also Reflections on Deafblindness: Hands & Touch



Skill:  Moderately Easy

Things You'll Need:

  • Size N, O, P or Q crochet hook (10mm to 15mm circumference)
  • Heavy worsted to bulky yarn (12 ply to 20 ply thick)

A person who lives without the gift of sight may find that crochet is a wonderful and easy activity to learn, since it is based largely on memory and counting and not necessarily on visual capacity. Crochet knit creates a raised texture, which helps a blind knitter count stitches. I recommend starting with a large scale hook and thick fiber. Once the student has learned the basics of crochet, she may choose on her own to switch to smaller hooks and lighter weight yarns.

 Step 1

Close your eyes and crochet a square yourself first. This will help you to empathize with your student and understand the difficulties she may encounter in her first lesson.

  Step 2

A straight rectangular scarf is an easy first project.
Crochet is a pleasant, stimulating activity
 that is quite easy to learn.
Ben Bloom/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Crochet a chain stitch very slowly inviting the student to freely feel your hands as they move. It would be best for you to do this while standing or sitting behind the student with her back to you and your arms around her or while sitting by her side so that she can experience things from your perspective.

Step 3

Once the student has learned the basics, more intricate designs can be taught.
Ask the student if she would like you to repeat the task and do so as many times as necessary. Hand her the hook and yarn when she feels ready to try. Once she has created a chain of 20 to 25 stitches ask her to hand the piece back to you.

Step 4

Show the student how to do the double-crochet stitch, inserting one into each chain stitch, again performing the task while the student feels your hands. Repeat as many times as necessary until the student feels confident enough to try herself. Answer questions and advise the student as necessary.

Step 5

Continue this manner of teaching for the third row, then encourage the student to turn the work and try it on her own for the fourth row. Make sure she knows that for a straight scarf she must have exactly the same number of stitches in each row. After several rows, show the student how to close off the final stitch. The student now knows enough to knit herself a scarf.

Tips

Be patient and sensitive to what the student is experiencing as a blind person. Things that you take for granted as a sighted person may not be as evident to a visually impaired person.

Stitchmarkers are useful accessories for marking one´s spot, especially for more intricate crochet knit designs.

Warnings

Do not grab or move the student´s hands. Just as you would not stick your hands into someone´s eyes to get them to look at something, you should not grab a blind person´s hands. If you want them to feel something you can gently offer what you want them to "see" in front of their hands and invite them to touch it.

Key Concepts

  • blind crochet tutorial
  • visually impaired crochet
  • teach the blind

References

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