I have been a weaver for at least 40 years. My first exposure was shortly after loosing the limited vision I had and transferring to our school for the blind. They had a large rug loom that was already threaded and I learned how looms work and how to weave on one. Fast forward many years, I used a small table loom where you do all the weaving by hand, learned some specialty stitches and enjoyed getting to design on the go. I also learned hoop weaving which I enjoyed using yarns of different textures so I could keep track of the colors. I have also woven on a large triangle loom again where the weaving is all done by hand. But my go-to is my four harness floor loom.
I hate crafts where I need a lot of sighted help as I seem to always arrive at that spot when no help is available. So, I was conflicted about spending the money for a floor loom afraid that it would turn out badly. My husband and his parents surprised me with one for a birthday gift and I’ve been weaving ever since.
I have only taken a few classes but I understand the principles and have figured out my own adaptions. I plan to post about various approaches in case other blind folks want to take up this activity.
I find that using yarn that is knitting worsted weight is easier to feel than thinner weights. Also many of my practices are to put tension on the yarn so I can more easily feel what is happening. I often hold the yarn with my last three fingers leaving my first finger and thumb for manipulating. I usually use a six dent reed which mean the beater bar has six slots per inch. I tried a 12 but could not feel the yarn as well and found it to be stressful. I thread my own loom, very carefully and with lots of time. At the moment I am part of a prayer shawl ministry so I weave shawls, tying onto the previous warp to skip rethreading the loom. I like this as I dislike threading.
I modified the threading tool making it about four inches shorter so that I could hold it and still feel what was happening at the end of the tool. this means that when I thread the loom, I first thread everything through the beater bar, and then through the heddles.
I am sorry for the weaving jargon but anyone who is a weaver or wants to be will know these terms.
More in a future post about yarns and patterns and some other adaptive techniques.
I am also willing to talk with anyone embarking on learning to weave without sight.. Just drop me a line.