Crocheting Without Eyesight

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 4 Comments

It is interesting to learn about the ways that different people crochet. Back in March, Rachel shared a video with adaptive crochet methods for the legally blind. This got me thinking about what the term “legally blind” means and the fact that any of us could possibly become legally blind. Will we still crochet? If it ever happens to me, I would like to! This led to a web search about blind crochet. What I found was fascinating.

Crocheting without Eyesight Stategies and Inspiration on @crochetspot by Caissa McClinton @artlikebread

What is legally blind?
According to, “Being legally blind means that your best seeing eye cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses to any better than 20/200.” For example, a person with corrected vision could fully perceive a poster that is 90 feet away (or the distance between home plate and first base) while a person who is legally blind would need to be 9 feet away (halfway across a large bedroom) to see the same details. The article on further states, “If a person has a visual field of only 20 degrees [as opposed to 180 degrees], considered tunnel vision, he or she can be considered legally blind.”

Learning to Crochet Blind
Yet whether a person is fully sighted, is completely without sight, or lies anywhere in between, he or she can still crochet. But how will that person learn? In truth, it depends upon the person. Some people have learned to crochet before they lose their sight but have to modify their techniques to continue. Others learn to crochet while never having seen yarn or a hook before and do so purely by touch.

I found a very informative thread on that spoke about teaching crochet to a person that is blind. The original poster wanted tips on teaching her sister, who was “almost totally blind” to crochet. One commenter in the thread self-identified as “totally blind” and shared their perspective. They recommended starting with a J (6.0 mm) or K (6.5 mm) hook and described the following method.

“I would first make a foundation chain for her and then let her feel it. Then teach her how to do a foundation chain either by letting her hold your hands as you do it, or by just explaining it to her. By letting her feel what a foundation chain feels like before teaching her, she’ll be able to know what the chain should feel like when done correctly. I would do this for each stitch.”

The following tip could be helpful for any crocheter, but worked well for the commenter.

“Another thing that I have found extremely helpful is the fact that each stitch has a “mountain” and a “valley” The “mountain is the main part of the stitch that is going horizontal. The “valley” is created by the vertical bar that seperates the stitches. This makes it a lot easier for me to count my stitches.”

And finally, the commenter shared tips on finding patterns.

“As for patterns, just about every website I have used for patterns is accessible for computer screen reading programs. Even Adobe Acrobat Reader, if it doesn’t work with the screen reader, has a built-in text to speech program.”

I guess that is yet another wonderful thing about the internet – it can make information more accessible to everyone.

Yet even without using the computer, a blind crocheter can find patterns published in braille. Copper Dots has a list of crochet pattern books in braille for sale. To connect with Blind and Partially Sighted crafters, try this Yahoo group, which is currently still active. Vision Aware shares a useful page with tips about setting up your work space, doing the craft, and finding more information.

Finally, I wanted to share two websites with inspiring stories of blind crocheters and beautiful crochet work. The blog Crocheting Blind is blog started by two crocheters who are legally blind. The work is beautiful and they also share tips to help people improve their handiwork! The second is a post on Crochet Concupiscence entitled 15+ Inspiring Blind Crocheters and Visually Impaired People Who Crochet. Both are good reads!

So what about you, my friends? Have you ever thought about blind crochet? Are you or do you know anyone who is blind and crochets? What did you think of the resources I shared here? Do you have any resources to share? Please leave your thoughts, ideas and questions in the comment section below.

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  1. Jeanne Guarnery says:

    My Mother was blind and did both knit and crochet. She made afghans for church fundraisers. This made her feel like she was contributing to the church. She did know how to do both before she went blind. She was an amazing woman.

  2. A Bert says:

    Both of my grandmothers could crochet. My maternal grandmother did knitting & crocheting and she was the one to teach me when I was 9 years old. She was an amazing decorative painter- as was her daughter, my Mom. My paternal grandmother crocheted more. The whole family has some of her blankets or beautiful tablecloths. she went blind in her 80’s, but my Aunt would buy her yarn and she would continue to crochet!!! I always thought it was amazing!! I have tried to crochet with my eyes closed! I do ok! I would like to think that I would continue to crochet if I had limited sight!

  3. Varsha says:

    Oh yes ! My mum was diabetic and she could crochet and knit till the end. I feel once a crocheter always a crocheter …… Cheers to life!

  4. Bethany Rose says:

    I am teaching myself how to crochet, and it has taken awhile since there is not anyone to show me if my work looks right. For awhile, a friend who is also blind, would feel my work to help me figure out if I was understanding online tutorials. Sometimes the “hand-over-hand” technique is helpful; it’s not just a technique that’s used for blind little ones anymore. Along with providing verbal instruction and tactile demonstration (where the crocheter touches your hands), you might try hand-over-hand if the concept is difficult to explain or understand. In this teaching technique, you’ll stand behind the crocheter, reach your arms over his or her shoulders and manipulate your student/friend’s hands so that the motions become familiar. I love your idea of the mountain/valley concept. I’m going to have to put that in my general notes to help me count stitches. Also, Horizons for the Blind has several Braille books on crochet, knitting and loom knitting. You can also get materials from the National Library Service. I didn’t check the country of origin, so if the blogger isn’t based in the United States, maybe the materials from NLS and Horizons will be helpful to other readers.

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