A grandmother who lost her sight after her pet dog ate half her face today revealed she has knitted hundreds of festive stockings by using her “mind’s eye and memory.”
Wendy Hamriding, 56, of Ribbleton, Preston, now wants to set up a knitting class for visually impaired people where those who have lost their sight can meet others in similar situations and share their creativity.
Wendy, a mum-of-two and a grandmother-of-two, was an alcoholic and had been drinking heavily before falling down the stairs of her home and lying there unconscious.
Wendy believes her mongrel dog Cassie was nibbling at her face to try and wake her up but got carried away and ended up taking off the top half of her face including her eye.
Surgeons rebuilt Wendy’s face but she was blind for almost two years while medics battled to save the sight in her remaining eye.
Wendy actually regained some of her sight after specialists used a miraculous procedure to create her an artificial cornea using her tooth which they implanted in her cheek before putting it in her eye allowing her to see.
Sadly, Wendy’s newfound sight was shortlived as she suffered a bleed in her eye which took away most of her restored vision.
Wendy explains: “I have now got retinal damage and a membrane has grown in between my retina and lens and has taken away most of my sight.
“All I can see now is light and dark shadows and sometimes I can see red, green and orange.
“However, I cannot see people or make out faces and if someone walks past me, all I can see is a shadow.”
Despite Wendy not being able to see, she is a whizz with a pair of knitting needles and has been knitting Christmas stockings as well as “Santa Pants” which are used to put presents such as a bottle of wine and chocolates in.
Wendy says she “knits from memory using her mind’s eye” and has been giving her finished products to her carers, nurses and family members who have all been delighted with them.
Wendy says: “I have been knitting since I was 11 and even though I can’t see what I am doing, I am able to knit by using my memory and feeling the wool and stitches.
“I used to knit stockings before I became blind and I use one of my old stockings as a template to knit more stockings.
“I have knitted nearly 100 stockings now and I put tartan bows on them and then give them to people such as my niece, my carers and my nurses.
“I have also made around four pairs of ‘Santa Pants’ that you can put Christmas presents in.
“Although I can’t see the finished results, everyone else tells me they are wonderful and seem really pleased with them.
“I have met another lady who has lost a lot of her vision but she can still knit.
“I would like to get a knitting class started for visually impaired people to show them that even though they can’t see, there are still things they can do.
“Knitting gives me pleasure and it is nice to make things for other people.”