Knitting by Blind Faith

What’s Going On?
Monday, June 16, 2008, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Knitting,Life

Okay, so I know I’ve been eerily quiet lately, and you all are wondering what’s going on. Quite a lot, actually. I have been busy with work, and have been grateful for Knit Night and church, which are my respites from “life”.

The sock is slow going. I discovered that the sock was too big for me, even though I was achieving gauge. I switched to a size zero, and it seems to be helping, but the stiches are smaller and harder to work with if dropped.

I found a blind knitters group on Ravelry, and they have given suggestions for using lifelines, which I’m going to try. I love all my knitting friends, but you have no idea how good it feels to meet other knitters who have been known to frog projects because of a mistake they can’t fix, or who work with their stitches a little further back from the needle tips than what might be considered “normal”. It’s great to have validation and to know that I’m not the only one who does things a little differently!

On Saturday, I went over to S.’s house to continue her knitting lesson. She learned the knit stitch, and this is the swatch she was working on when I left.

Garter stitch swatch, 40 stitches by 4 rows.

We had to work on getting her to wrap the yarn correctly. I taught her to knit Continental, so she wasn’t really wrapping the yarn to see how it would go. I think she was trying to do some sort of maneuver to scoop the yarn off her index finger through the loop, like in purling, rather than dragging the loop of yarn that already lay in between the two needle tips back through the stitch on the left needle.

I did two things to rectify whatever it was that she was doing wrong. First, I showed her what each step of a knit stitch looked like, so that she could see exactly what was happening with the yarn and how the knit stitch was made. This was critical at the point where the working yarn was wrapped around the needle. I opened the stitch really wide so she could see what was going to happen next, and how the loop on the right needle was actually formed.

The second thing I had her do to bring it home was to have her do a clumsy throwing technique. I had her drop the working yarn, insert the right needle into the stitch, pick up the working yarn, wrap it around the right needle from front to back, drop it again, then bring the right needle through. Because she didn’t have to hold the working yarn, this allowed her hands to be free to take in more of what she was doing for each step of the process. This proved successful, and as you can see, she’s doing quite well. And don’t worry, we only did the clumsy throwing technique for one stitch!

RAM and I and S. and her boyfriend went out to dinner after the knitting lesson. Then, RAM and I went to see what was going on at Bike Fest. Joy did well with the crowds and loud music, but we decided to avoid them and take a nice walk.

RAM, Joy, and I walked the river walk and sat on one of the benches overlooking the river, just like on the night of our engagement. It was such a nice night!

The river walk zigzags over the river with nothing but a 2-inch high ledge on each side. It was a great exercise in my trust in Joy. She did well, but I thought at one point she was going to jump into the river after a mullet! That was a little scary, but I was impressed with how well she did, overall.

Yesterday, RAM’s parents came over to celebrate Father’s Day at our pool. We floated on rafts and played with RAM’s radio controlled boat. I also got to speak to my dad and stepdad on the phone, which was nice. I miss them terribly!

RAM and I are preparing to attend a rally tomorrow to save our public transportation. Many riders have been speaking to the commissioners and writing letters pleading with them not to cut the funding for this service. Since decisions are being made next month, tomorrow we are all rallying together to show that there is a real need for this service.

On a much more cheerful note, I found Debbie Macomber’s new Blossom Street book, Twenty Wishes, on Of course, I haven’t read Back on Blossom Street yet, so I’ll have to read it first before I read Twenty Wishes. It just recently came out electronically in Braille. It felt like a long wait. But, wow! The next book is out already!

It’s unfortunate that Back on Blossom Street is not on Audible. This means I can’t read and knit at the same time. :( Life is so unfair! I mean, how can one expect to read a Blossom Street book and not knit at the same time??? That’s like asking someone to go without whipped cream in their hot chocolate, or to eat cake without icing! It’s just wrong! Fortunately, Debbie Macomber’s books are so good that I can easily lose myself in them and forget that I am not knitting.

A Little Bit of This, a Little Bit of That
Monday, June 9, 2008, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Life,Reflections

This weekend, RAM and I took a trip to Orlando to see his friend, Larry. Another friend of ours had restored an antique radio for Larry that had belonged to Larry’s family, and RAM and I made the delivery this weekend.

We met Larry’s roommate, Debbie, who is a doctoral student. Debbie and I chatted while the guys got caught up. It turns out she has studied aroma therapy, and she makes soaps, lotions, and bath salts, scented with herbs.

I should mention here that one of my favorite places to visit in the Orlando area is a store in Downtown Disney called Basin. I love their bath bombs, lavender bath milk, and sugar hand scrubs. I even made my own scented candle there once.

Well, Debbie’s products are so good that I bought hers this time instead. She saved me money and a trip to Downtown Disney, which was a bit out of the way.

Of course, my knitting went with me, as usual. I’ve been practicing those double decreases, and they’re coming along nicely. I’ve gotten some very sane, logical, and level-headed suggestions that I should start with some worsted yarn and a plain vanilla sock. The truth is, all of you who have said that are right, and I know this. But I just want to try this, even if it doesn’t work out. I want to challenge myself. Even if it means one step forward and two steps back, even if I don’t succeed this time, I will come away from the challenge a better knitter and a better person.

RAM and I have started going to church again. We lost Loyal during a time of prayer and fasting last year, and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to go back after that. The church we are attending is a smaller church closer to home. The people are friendly, and the Word is preached unashamedly and with sincere hearts.

One of the things that caught my attention was a statement that one of the pastors made in one of his sermons: our lives are a pendulum. We are never standing still. We are either moving toward God or away from Him.

I hadn’t given it much thought, but as I look at my life over this past year, I would have to say it’s true. I have moved from turning my back on God, to listening to His still small voice calling me back, to slowly making my way towards Him, to actively and earnestly seeking Him. Now, I feel alive again, and my spiritual hunger and thirst have been rekindled.

As I reflect on the times I thought running away was the easy way out, or those times I have tried to make God conform to my will instead of conforming to His, not allowing Him to form me into what He wants me to be, I am grateful that He never let me go. I am grateful that nothing can separate His child from His love.

Those Darn Double Decreases
Wednesday, June 4, 2008, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Knitting

The Jaywalker sock I stared this past weekend was going along just fine…until I finished the ribbing and got into the actual pattern. I ended up frogging it because I was having trouble with the double decreases. To make the double decrease, you slip two stitches together as if to knit, knit the third stitch, and pass the slipped stitches over that knit stitch and off the needle. Well, every time I tried it, all three stitches would come off the needle together. I worked on the technique and started to get the hang of it, but it felt so awkward that I wasn’t sure I was on the right track.

I made poor RAM watch videos at just to see if there was anything I might be missing. He lovingly tried to interpret what he saw, but he is not a knitter, so neither of us was one hundred percent sure that what we were doing was right.

Well, last night at Knit Night, I told my friends of my sock knitting woes. The Healing Teacher whipped out some scrap yarn and spare needles, and Judah showed me the decrease. It turns out I was on the right track all along. I just need to be sure to hold that top stitch in place as I bring the slipped stitches off the right needle. Then, I can drop them off the left needle tip.

I’ve decided not to work on the sock for the moment and instead take some scrap yarn and make a pattern swatch. I want to practice those decreases until I can do them in my sleep–or at least, until I’m comfortable with them–before knitting the actual sock. My friends and I agree that this is an ambitious project for a first sock, but I am eager to take on the challenge.

On another note, I finished the diagonal baby blanket! Well, except for weaving in the ends, which I hate. If I had used the Lion Brand Pound of Love yarn, I only would have had two ends to weave in. But I used the Sirdar Snuggly DK, which comes in 50-gram balls, so I have considerably more than that. (Photos coming after I weave in those darn ends.)

As I was working on the blanket last night, I held it up for my friends to see. They unanimously agreed that it was the perfect size and not too small. So that means my nephew gets to be the recipient, after all. And here I thought I didn’t have enough yarn! Don’t you just love how God miraculously provides?

I guess Peace will have to keep waiting for her blanket. I’m sure she won’t mind, as long as I throw in a few extra belly rubs with my apology.