Armed with balls of wool, needles, and of course, some Braille knitting patterns, they’ve been busy working on soft knitted animals – many of which will go on sale at our planned craft fairs.
Did you know that we can provide alternative formats of documents to eligible people who have a print disability for free? This is because VisAbility receives funding from the Government’s Print Disability Services Program (link opens in new window). This initiative includes Braille knitting patterns.
22% of Australians have a print disability. A print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print. The Print Disability Services Program, funded by the Department of Social Services. Until June 2024, people can access the service for free if they meet criteria of being aged 65 or over or without an NDIS plan.
VisAbility can convert documents into Braille upon request. It’s just one of a range of alternative formats we provide through our Accessible Information Services. We have a team of experts who can offer guidance and services on accessibility offering a wide range of alternative formats including Braille, audio, accessible word documents and PDFs, tactile images and large print.
If you’re interested in learning Braille, we run weekly Braille classes.
Knitting prove pup-ular with clients
Clients have been using these patterns to create children’s character Bluey – a six-year-old Blue Heeler pup. The dog features in an Australian television series aimed at younger children.
Most people know that knitting and crocheting are relaxing hobbies. During the COVID lockdown, newspapers reported how Hollywood stars had taken up knitting. Sarah Jessica Parker and Ryan Gosling are among them. Olympic diver Tom Daley makes his own crocheted jumpers, cardigans, and tank tops, and has his own knitting Instagram page @madewithlovebytomdaley.
The pandemic may have spawned a fresh knitting craze, but VisAbility has offered Braille crochet and knitting patterns for many years.
We have been meeting VisAbility clients who are knitters and crocheters to discover why our Braille patterns are so popular.
I have been knitting for 55 years mainly beanies and scarves. It’s my relaxation. I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in my twenties, but it wasn’t until my fifties that I became legally blind.
The Braille patterns are fantastic because, otherwise, I’d be relying on others to either verbally give me instructions or record the patterns onto tapes. Of course, Braille books are more portable and convenient as well.
Faye is a volunteer at our Community Activity Centre, and she finishes the stuffed animals and sews them together. Bluey seems to be popular at the moment, but she’s also completed a ballerina and a monkey.
Faye – volunteer
I have been a volunteer for ten years at the Community Activity Centre.
I used to drive clients to and from VisAbility for their activities. My job is to sew the knitting patches together to make the toys. It’s social, and I enjoy a natter and a laugh.
I have always been a knitter. In fact, I I am in a routine and knit every day after lunch. It was my mother who encouraged me to knit. I made Bluey for my three-year-old grandson Luka. Knitting is therapeutic and relaxing.
It’s my me-time where I’m on my own indulging in my hobby. I have macular degeneration, so I can’t see detail. I use a magnifier and large print patterns.
Crafting has been my passion all my life – from Faberge eggs to decorated cards, lampshade coverings.
I’m more of a crocheter than a knitter because the needles are thicker, and you can see holes clearer. I’m at my happiest making crochet blankets.
Jennifer – volunteer
I am an avid knitter and came to the Community Activity Centre when I developed Graves’ eye disease which develops because of thyroid issues.
It led to double vision for a while. Coming here made me realise that low vision doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you want to do. My eyesight is better now but I have stayed as a volunteer because I love this place so much.
I can crochet quicker than I can knit. Knitting is harder to fix if you make a mistake. I had an infection that became serious with my organs shutting down and I lost my sight.
I crochet and knit while listening to my audio books from the VisAbility Library or doing household chores such as ironing. It’s easy to pick up, leave for a while and come back too.
I’ve always knitted and now I spend lots of time knitting soft toys. I have passed on my love of knitting to my grandchildren. It is soothing and satisfying when things come together.
My daughter reads the patterns onto a small dictaphone and I’ll listen back to it. It’s a bit of a team effort but it works well.
I am an avid knitter and always use Braille patterns because they’re easy to read. It doesn’t mean you have to stop and start all the time.
I have been blind since birth, but started knitting at age 13. My favourite project was a knitted blanket for my son, Greg. It was a Port Adelaide blanket in teal, white, black, and grey.
My son was in a hospital for thirteen weeks when he was just 20 because he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He passed away five years later, so that blanket holds special memories for me.
According to Google searches, knitting is now more popular than sewing and dressmaking. Want to take up knitting and crocheting but can’t read Braille?
How to get support
Please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
There are also a number of low vision support groups within Perth and across the state, which can connect you with like-minded people to build friendships and offer support.