Tagged: Blind

Weaving without Sight

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. 


Guide Dog No. 2 — Iris!

Pat's Dog #2 in Portland

Well, It has been so long since I worked on this blog that I have retired my wonderful 14.5 yer-old guide dog, Germaine, and went to Guide dogs for the Blind in boring, Oregon to get Iris, a much smaller lab.

She as been with me just over a year now and is settling into my routines and our family nicely.  As for me, I am amazed at the quality training changes Guide Dogs has made and am also loving having a small dog—45 pounds!  I am able to bathe her myself, and she fits much more easily in planes and cars with tight quarters!  She is a delightful playful girl but totally dedicated to getting guide work done well.

Fortunately she and Germaine get along well together, so we’ve made it through our first year of getting Iris accustomed to our home and family.

Accessible iPhone Apps

screen shot of VoiceOverThe following article is adapted from some iPhone training material that I created for special education teachers in June 2011. It describes over 70 accessible iPhone apps.

Apple’s iPhones (starting with the 3GS) are accessible to people who are blind as they come, complete with a screen reader, “VoiceOver”, and print enlarger “zoom”. As you know, the iPhone is famous for its touch screen so this is a very new experience for most blind users. Apple reps are well prepared to sell these phones and to explain their accessibility features in their stores, although it’s a noisy environment so it can be somewhat challenging. Similar accessibility is experienced on iPod Touch and iPad devices.

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Tips For Accessibility Testing Of iOS Apps

Accessible iPhone

Use of mobile devices has skyrocketed over the last five years, and due to Apple’s commitment to provide accessibility, people with disabilities are participating in mobile use as never before. Apple’s apps provided on iOS devices are amazingly accessible including calenders, maps, and even operational items such as battery life and settings. Third-party apps, however, are accessible only if developers created them with accessibility in mind. There are no mandates for app accessibility, no checklists, and little advice for developers. Please see the resources section at the end of this piece for links to existing guidance.

Accessible apps not only benefit people with disabilities but are often helpful as well to older people, people with low literacy or language limitations, and new or infrequent users. You can reach these populations more effectively with accessibility features built into your app. In this paper you will learn how to set up your device for accessibility testing, how to operate your device with VoiceOver turned on, and how to test your app for accessibility.

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