Knitters enjoy their craft without gift of sight

March 3, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Believe or not, knitting is quite popular among people who are blind and visually impaired.

At the Blind Service Association, knitters meet twice a month to exchange patterns while chatting away. A year ago, the Blind Knitters Club started at Blind Service Association.

Expert knitter Elizabeth Kurmmetz has been knitting since she was 11 years old.

"Some of the things I've knitted: the sweaters I have on, three sweaters, two sweaters over here," Elizabeth said. "I have some skullies there, I have a scarf and a hat matching, I make these little mice."

Elizabeth, who is almost 80, lost her vision from glaucoma.

"I follow patterns, usually telling me so many knits, so many pearls, whatever, and I do that and then I feel how it feels, texture-wise," said Elizabeth.

Gina Falvo was born with a vision impairment.

"My aunt taught me how to knit when I was about 10 years old," Gina said, "but I kept away from it growing up because I thought it was so much harder than crocheting.

"Liz has been quite an inspiration for me, so I started knitting scarves and I even sold some scarves."

Gina can see some colors, so good lighting helps her knit.

Knitting is not just for women. Steve Zielinski enjoys being part of this club.

"I never knew a thing about knitting before, I wasn't even able to do a simple slip stitch to start a project," said Steve. "And so everything I've learned I've learned through this class here and the people that work here and volunteer."

Giving back is one of the things they do together.

"I have been making hats for people who take chemo," said Elizabeth. "When they lose their hair then you can make a soft-knitted cap for them They don't want something's that rough because their heads are tender."

And they also create useful items.

"One of my inventions that I came up with myself is the cane holder," said Gina. "You can slip your cane into the holder and then even hang it on your door so that on your way out you wouldn't forget it."

If you are interested in being part of the Blind Knitting Club, they meet the 1st and 3rd Friday of every month. For more information go to

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