I can feel them!" the woman told me. Right around me there was a buzz of people at our biennial knitting exhibition. We had some unexpected but welcome television coverage this year and people had been coming in through the door all the morning.
One of those who had come to 'see' the exhibition was a woman who was clearly legally blind. She had brought some knitting with her, as people sometimes do. She wanted some help. The friend she was with can also knit but neither of them knew what to do.
Somehow, if there is this sort of problem, it is a matter of "Ask Cat." Other people will know the answer but they seem to think that I am the only person capable of explaining it to someone else with a disability. I wish they would try sometimes...my paws do not work nearly as well as theirs!
But, I do know what the problem is in this instance and it is easily solved so I say,
"If you get yourselves a cup of tea I will find someone to mind this so I can show you."
Show? Yes of course. There are ways to show people who cannot see what you are doing and she may have enough eyesight to see what she needs to do anyway. What she is doing is shaping something with a technique called "short-rowing". It involves counting stitches and then turning and working the stitches back again. It was at the point where she turned that she was get the hole.
They are sitting with cups of tea when I finally find someone to mind the history exhibition which forms part of our display. They know I do not have long to help so we do not waste time.
I talk her through what she needs to do and then ask her to do it twice more to make sure she feels confident. She completes another row and a slow smile spreads over her face.
"Thankyou. I knew I should be able to do it. I only needed someone to show me how."
"You're very welcome."
We chat for a moment longer and I suddenly think of the section for visually impaired people in our annual "Royal Show" and ask if she is aware of it. No she is not. I take a name and address and promise to see she gets the necessary information to enter something.
"Now I know how to do this I might," she tells me thoughtfully and then, with another smile, she tells me, "Anything is possible."