Tagged: weaving

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.