Monday, May 9, 2011

Inspiration Mondays: The Rhythms of Your Visions

Sometimes, I spend time examining from where I pull inspiration, and I find a lot of it in people who do amazing things... marathon runners, frontline war workers, founders of charities. I also see light in people who overcome what most people deem "handicaps" to perform fantastic accomplishments...

Hence the size of the text of this post.

Presenting: Invisible Loom and Craft: Loom Knitting, Cooking and Crafting with Low Vision.

This blog is just what the title says, all with low vision. I was first introduced to this blog through a forum post of Ravelry, about this member who made beautiful things with knitting looms.

For those who don't know what a knitting loom is, there is a brand out there called the Knifty Knitter. I am well aware of these looms from my short stint working at Michaels, where I had to learn how to knit with them as part of my job (I demo'd all the stuff there. It was an interesting place for someone like me to work!). Knitting looms themselves have been around for donkey's years in less mass-manufactured forms (my mother-in-law had one made with nails on a board).

You can buy these looms in sets of four, and you can also purchase one that is flat in shape. I used to own two of these sets, but they eventually were given away as gifts. Why?

Because I learned how to knit "for real." I thought that these looms were limiting, that you could only make things in the shape of a tube, and that you couldn't possible make anything interesting out of them. How silly.

One look at this blog tells you something altogether different. In short, it's a poor carpenter that blames his tools (snicker). You can really do anything with any tool if you spend a bit of time thinking about it.

Knitting looms are ideal for those with low vision, because the pegs are large and you can use the "picker" to move the loops over each other. It is essentially knitting on pegs; you achieve the exact same thing as with needles, and you can do all the increases, decreases, and bind offs. They are also excellent for children, and, according to the lady who taught me how to use knitting looms, they tend to be easier to knit with on a plane since it doesn't look like anything remotely threatening.

In my opinion, the most astonishing of Renee's creations is the Dandelion Shawlette (apologies for all the linking, but I didn't ask for permission to post her photos). I find the intricate lattice along the edge naturally beautiful, like the work of honeybees in a hive. For Jane Eyre fans, she has recreated the shawl in the movie in Jane's Shawl for the Loom. For those who scoffed at the pattern for the loom (silly people), a friend of hers converted the same pattern into Jane's Shawl for needles.

Now, I want to be clear. I am not completely gushing over this site simply because this girl is a crafter with low vision. I am most impressed by the fact that this person has come up with a way to create beautiful things with a tool that many dismiss as a "kid's plaything." This is a true craft. She spent time working out how to create these shapes in her head, and then was kind enough to share her creations with us, even figuring out ways to chart it just as a traditional knitting pattern might be charted.

Amazing. Inspiring.

This doesn't necessarily mean that I am going to jump right back into loom knitting (although, I'm thinking I
might as my mom for my loom set back), but it does make me realize that it might be possible to be more of a designer. Do I have to search for a pattern to create the shapes that are floating around in my head? Do I have to give those ideas up for lost when I can't find a pattern?

Of course I don't. I just have to give it a try myself. Experiment. Rip it out if it doesn't work out, and try it again.

How many times have you told yourself that you can not alter instructions for a pattern, a recipe, that you couldn't paint a picture without full instructions from an expert?

Take a leap of faith and give it a shot. To quote an old piece of poetry of mine:
Watch the rhythms of this vision,
Then speak to me of your passions...

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