Creative creations from the crafty kitchen

My adventures into the world of crafting.

An Update

Hello and my apologies for not writing in a while. With finishing the school year, traveling, and preparing for my first NFB convention, my life has been busy.

I meant to write back in may. However, I had a technical problem with pasting my entry, and the whole entry that I had worked on had been erased and only the video that I had planned to accompany the entry was the only thing that was posted.
I encourage any reader of this blog to look at the video and any other links they find of interest based on my description. The video is about a group in New York who has started a crochet group to teach those who have lost their vision how to crochet. I personally found it interesting and hope that more similar groups can form across the country.

On a similar note to teaching crochet skills, I will be teaching a Krafters Korner class in July. I will be teaching a baby blanket pattern that incorporates the shell stitch. If you have some crochet skills, I would invite you to check out the Krafters website under classes and think about attending the class/joining the devision.

For my personal crafting adventures, I have been doing a little crocheting. I received a wonderful idea for a bag pattern that I hope to start working on soon, and I think I have just the perfect yarn for it. That will mean that the yarn I was saving for a scarf will be used for that, but so is life and I think it would make up a wonderful bag.
I have also been experimenting with various elements of design in making art out of different kinds of objects. The type that I have learned about so far is called asemblage. I like this kind of art because I can use it to make a point or illustrate a story better than I feel like I can do in crochet. I will write more about this if more progress is made on this front.

Before I sign off, I have been thinking about how I want to design the layout of this blog visually. I have been lacking to do that and I think that it needs to be done. I am curious from readers on how I could best design the blog that would best benefit them and what they would find interesting. I am also interested to hear what you as a reader want to hear about/think would be useful information to new readers/crocheters.
I am also pasting a link at the bottom of this post from AFB Vision Aware. This link gives suggestions for working with beads/doing beadwork once you have lost your vision/are visually impaired.

Thank you to those who continually read my blog.

http://www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/recreation-and-leisure/arts-and-crafts/beadwork/1235

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A Brief Update

Getting Started with a craft

I have posted some resources for knitting and crocheting. However, there is a disconnect between me, the reader, and these sites. Although these sites are wonderful resources, I do not feel like they tell me as a person how I can learn these things if I am a total beginner. I am attempting to start to bridge this gap with this post.

What I would first recommend doing is research before starting anything. Research the various crafts that come to mind for you as something you may be interested in looking into. Does the idea of working with tiny beads to create jewelry appeal to you? Then jewelry making may be a good craft for you. On the contrary, if you do not like working with small objects, this may not be a good fit for you. It is better to find out beforehand that something may not be right for you than to find out after investing hundreds of dollars into something to find that it is not a good fit.
However, if you like something, but you are not sure where to begin, do not lose hope. If knitting sounds like a good fit for you, but you have no idea how to start, this post may be able to help.

The next step is kind of a multi step process. After having your list of crafts, you must evaluate your resources. First you must determine what you want out of a resources. What would most help you learn. Are you a good auditory learner? Then a youTube video or podcast may be good for you. Do you like text instructions? A website or a book may be good for you. Or maybe you would feel most comfortable with a person sitting beside yu showing you the varius steps.
Once you have determined what you want, then you must go get it. I have posted a lot of websites with instructions and books, so you can check those out as a starting point.
If you want a person to help you, this can get kind of tricky because there is no clear cut answer. I could recommend a book or website for mastering a particular stitch, but I can not recommend individual people. However, I can give some suggestions of how to find someone who can help you.

If you have friends or family who can do the craft you are interested in, start here. If you are visually impaired or have another disability, I will admit there is a sort of roadblock here. As a teacher, you have to think of alternative explanations and techniques rather than just being able to demonstrating how a particular stitch is made and then just moving on. I would suggest trying to speak with the person in question about what you want to do, and how they could help you learn.
For example, I wanted to learn to crochet last July and was having a conversation with my friends mom. It turned out she knew how to crochet. I explained that I wanted to learn. Fortunately, her daughter is blind so she knew better how to explain things.
When talking with this person, try to gauge how they feel with working with you. If they seem uptight or negative, I would not recommend staying with them. While the showing of the craft may not be completely smooth sailing, it takes the pressure off the lesson if both participants have a positive attitude and thus a more profitable and enjoyable lesson for all.

If you do not have family or friends who do these crafts, ask around, because they may know someone who does. Call craft stores such as Michaels or Joanne Fabrics and ask if they have craft classes. Do some research for classes in your area through the internet.
Always, always, always talk to the instructor before the lesson and tell them about what best helps you if you have a disability. It will make them less flustered and you more happy, and it will most likely be a learning experience for both you and the instructor.

Remember that there is always the Krafters devision for those who are blind or visually impaired. They offer a wide array of classes, and can either possibly teach a beginner class or help you work with your instructor.

This is by no means the “prescribed” list of what everyone has to do. This is just what I have always thought and found to be helpful. If anyone else has suggestions or experiences, I would love to hear about them.

Hadley Seminars

I have been doing more research for the best resources that help someone learn various crafts. The Hadley School for the Blind provides an abundance of seminars on various topics, including crafting. I found this seminar quite interesting, not only because of the information, but it made me think even more about crafting as a blind person and the sociological side of things. Along with that, as a person who has considered teaching as a career path, and who will hopefully be teaching some classes in the Krafters Devision, it really helped me put some things into perspective. I have attempted to paste the link below directly to the audio file. If this does not work, the seminar is called Crafting with vision loss.

This seminar was about holiday crafting. It talked about specific projects that could be made. It also talked about using beads in your work and different ways to store them. Different resources were also given to help with knitting. There was also a presentation on the Krafters Devision.

Resources

I thought it was time to post some resources that I have either found that are helpful to me, and some that I have found that look interesting, but that I have not personally used. This is by no means a complete list, and feel free to mention if you use others.

Other Blogs:

http://www.crochetingblind.blogspot.com

This is another interesting blog written by two visually impaired crocheters. They talk about projects that they have completed and other topics dealing with crochet. The blog features photos of completed projects.

http://invisibleloomcraft.blogspot.com/

This is a blog for loom knitters. It features eBooks that can be purchased as well as information on “loom-along” groups on Ravelry. The author of this blog is also visually impaired so there are ocasional tips for loom knitters who are blind/visually impaired as well.

http://www.fingeringyarn.wordpress.com

This is a knitting blog done by several visually impaired knitters. It also has some technology information.

Teaching Resources:

http://www.afb.org/section.aspx?FolderID=8&SectionID=119&TopicID=488&SubTopicID=297&DocumentID=6144

This is a resource for those who are just learning to knit. It offers advice for those who have low vision.

http://www.loomknittinghelp.com/

This is a site that explains loom knitting very well.

http://www.afb.org/section.aspx?FolderID=8&SectionID=119&TopicID=488&DocumentID=5836

This is some information on setting up a crafting area or workspace in your home. This would most likely be most helpful in crafts such as jewelry making, which have a lot of small parts.

http://www.perkins.org/resources/scout/recreation/knitting-and-crochet.html

This is a list of resources from the Perkins School for the Blind on knitting and crocheting.

http://www.krafterskorner.org

This is the website for the national federation of the blind (NFB) krafters devision. I mentioned this group in earlier posts.

http://andyshell.com/shell/knit1.htm

This is information and resources for knitters and crocheters who are blind or visually impaired in the UK.

Crochet.about.com

This website has many patterns and tutorials, along with a weekly newsletter. This is where I learned a lot of crochet stitches. The instructions are fabulous and there are lots of photos.

http://www.ehow.com/how_7926932_teach-blind-people-crochet.html

These are some tips for if you are teaching someone who is blind or visually impaired to crochet. This isn’t exactly the way I learned, but it may be helpful to someone.

Books and Patterns:

http://www.horizons-blind.org

This is a site that has a large amount of books to do with knitting and crocheting, as well as a growing collection of books dealing with loom knitting. It also has a book on plastic canvas. I have purchased these books and love them. They add books regularly to their collection and their catalogue is free upon request. They also have a large selection of cookbooks, cookware, and craft supplies along with general enterest reading materials.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rowan/marjorie-crafts.html

This is a large selection of knitting and crocheting books. I also really, really like these.

http://www.lionbrand.com/

This is a manufacturer of yarn that provides free instructions on knitting and crocheting and free patterns. Better yet, the patterns are formatted so they can be embossed on a braille printer.

http://www.ravelry.com

This is a knitting and crocheting community with hundreds of thousands of patterns. There are also a growing number of loom patterns as well. Users can browse different yarns that can be used in projects and join groups to connect and network with like-minded crafters.

http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com

This site has lots of free patterns from around the web along with stitch tutorials.

http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com

This site is the counterpart of crochet pattern central. It also has loom knitting patterns.

https://www.blindmicemegamall.com/bmm/shop/Directory_Departments?storeid=1109

This is a store that has many crocheting and knitting books both electronically and in braille. I have not purchased any of these books but thought it was worth throwing out there because many of the titles look interesting.

Spring Time Update

As the weather gets nicer and I can hear the birds chirping, it creates a more open, cheerful atmosphere. It is especially good for me since spring is my favorite time of year. I look forward to being able to sit outside, enjoying the beautiful weather, and crocheting.
One of the many things I love about crocheting is its portability. I could be anywhere; my room (most likely talking to my friends or listening to a book), the living room watching TV, on a long car ride, or just outside and still enjoy the maximum comforts of crochet; all I have to do is pack my project and yarn, a crochet hook, and some yarn into a bag and I’m all set.
All of these factors are making me an especially crafter right now.

I hope to work on some springy projects soon. I have three active projects that I am working on now. One is an afghan I am working on for myself (that I have mentioned on here), another is a baby blanket I am working on for a baby due in June, and another is a dishcloth with an interesting stitch pattern.

The baby blanket is quite interesting. I received some Bernat Baby Blanket yarn, and I absolutely love how it is turning out. The pattern I am using is wonderful. It is exposing me to the shell stitch, and is a basic repeat so that is good so I can more easily commit it to memory.

The dishcloth is also interesting. It uses the puff stitch. The shapes it creates when it is worked remind me of easter eggs.

I have been playing around with Ravelry a bit. I have joined several groups, and am pumped to learn new skills, find interesting patterns, and network with other crocheters and knitters.

I am also very excited and very touched at the growing number of views on this blog each day. It makes me smile to know that someone is reading the words that I am writing. I thank each and every one of you who has read and is reading this blog, and I especially thank those who are spreading the word.

Krafters Korner

In my last post, I mentioned a group called the NFB Krafters devision.
I would like to explain a little more about this group and hope that some of you may join or know someone who would benefit from this group.
Without this group, I am not sure if this blog would be being written right now, or if I could even crochet.

The Krafters Devision is a group of people who strive to help each other In their chosen crafts. But that isn’t all.
They hold classes via telephone conference and via email that teach how to do a new skill, learn a new technique, or make a pattern.
For example, the Devision has held classes in the past on beginning crochet, how to crochet in the round, and on crocheting a cell phone case.
There are Monday night chats that sometimes have a specific theme, and at other times are “open chats” where participants can call in to talk with their fellow crafters.
But to me, one of the best part about the devision are its members. From the day I joined and when I introduced myself, I felt welcomed and excepted more than I have at most places. Reading previous posts, I was so intimidated because I felt like I knew nothing. However, I didn’t have to worry about anything.

I have learned so much from this group both from the classes and on the email list. I will post the website below if interested in specifics of joining.

As the motto states, Krafters Korner is for everyone and it takes everyone in Krafters Korner to make it what it is.

http://www.krafterskorner.org

My Crafting Story

I have recently been attempting to delve into the internet networking of pattern sharing, and just general crocheting.
I have found that the blogs that attracted my attention most were the ones with personal touches; the ones where you could read and get to know a little to poster.
I like stories in general, and although I struggle with talking/writing about myself, I thought that potential readers may enjoy knowing who exactly who I am and why exactly I’m writing this blog in the first place (the long answer, besides the others I have listed in previous entries.)

Ever since I can remember, I always liked art in some form. I remember loving and using numerous amounts of construction paper, ribbon, and elmers glue. I remember when I was about five or so that I would enjoy stringing random beads from this huge bead container on string, and creating lots of necklaces and bracelets in this way that I don’t ever remember seeing again (I think I may have kept some of them to this day.)
I received the Knifty Knitter round loom set for Christmas when I was eight, and I really enjoyed it. I made lots of hats on that loom.
I really wanted to learn to knit when I was about ten or so. My mom was able to find a class taught by a lady that was for the blind. It was a really nice class, and the instructor was really good. Unfortunately, I never got the hang of knitting although my sister did.
My crafting adventures ceased until I was about 13 or so. I was enrolled in an art class in my middle school. We made sculptures in that class, and through those sculptures I rediscovered my love for mythical fairies.
I repeated the class several times because I enjoyed it so much. The third time I repeated it, the teacher basically allowed me to do an independent study; I could chose to study an area that interested me.
My sisters birthday was coming up and I thought it would be really cool to make her some earrings. I bought the kit, and with sited assistance (I had a helper in the class with me), I was able to make several pairs of earrings and some bracelets that I still have to this day.
It was about this time that I wanted to take up another craft. At first I was researching knitting classes, but then I stumbled onto crocheting and really wanted to learn; it seemed so much easier than knitting.
Nothing really happened for about a year. The desire to learn to crochet was still in the back of my mind, but I was a freshman in high school and was distracted with classes and did not have an opportunity to look any more into the matter.
This all changed in April of 2013. I was looking for the national association of blind students email listserve through the National Federation of the Blind. While I was subscribing to that list, I was browsing through some of the other lists that the NFB had to offer, and I found the NFB Krafters Division (I will go into details about this group in a future post.)
I joined this list, and the spark of desire to learn crochet was reignited within my mind. Everyone on the list that I encountered was so friendly and inspirational. I now knew that I could learn crochet.
While in Chicago visiting a friend, her mother showed me how to do the chain stitch, slip stitch (which still remains a favorite of mine to this day), and the single crochet. I had enrolled in a basic crocheting class at Joanne Fabrics, so about a week and a half after I got home I took that class and was now equipped to take the world by storm by crocheting.
I have crocheted many projects since then. In December I also tried my hands at jewelry making and this is now another favorite craft of mine.

I want to do this blog to show the world that I can do this. I want others to see that a blind person can in fact still do these activities. I want someone to read this post, and be inspired to at least think about trying to do a craft that maybe they have always wanted to try, or maybe did when they had more site. Maybe from that, I will have aided someone in finding their passion, just like crafting is mine.

An update

II apologize for the boring title and for my lack of posting.

I have been rethinking blogging and wanted to give this another try. I got caught up in the swoop of exams and other high school matters so blogging fell to the wayside. I hope for this not to happen again.
So for reestablishing who I am and what I want for this blog to be about. I am a sophomore in high school. I enjoy crafting. More specifically, crocheting and jewelry making are my passions. I am also visually impaired.
While this blog at the moment is what I decide to make it be, I do hope for a few things. I want to talk about my personal experiences while doing these activities. I think that looking back it will make me a better crafter because I can reflect on my work and how I can make it better. I also hope to perhaps encourage others, blind or otherwise to either start or continue their hobbies. I also want to help one person to another
with websites or books that I have found particularly helpful.

In terms of my personal work, I have not done much with beads or jewelry which is a shame because I really enjoy this. I have a collectionof pretty well organized beads now, so that is good. Now it is breaking into where I want to start.
In crocheting, I am still working on the afghan I mentioned when I first started this blog. It is about 6 inches wide now am I am on my 6th scane of yarn. I did not realize how long it would take to do, but I am enjoying the process.
I did end up just making rows of single crochets for thsi project.

I also hope to start working on some smaller projects. I will post more on those as I move into looking for patterns that catch my eye.

I thank those of you who read my blog and please feel free to comment with any comments or questions.

December 11 update

Well, I’ve stuck with this for the second day, so here we go.

Last night, I finished crocheting the foundation chain for the blanket I spoke of yesterday, and have begun work on the second row. I hope to do one row a day. I purchased blue and green varigated yarn to do this blanket, so I’m hoping it turns out nice. I may actually keep this blanket for myself. So far I like the feel of the yarn; it is light, but, but looks like it could keep me warm, from what I feel so far.
My next plans after this blanket include possibly doing a shawl from Lion Brand that I saw yesterday on ravelry.

However, the big thing I have to write about today are completing my first beaded earrings independently. I had made several pairs a few years ago but with some sited assistance.
When my supplies came today, I was surprised at how small the beads were; they couldn’t have been bigger with a grain of rice. I hadn’t ever recalled working with anything that small in, well ever.
I identified my tubes of beads by placing the red ones on the left of where I was working and the silver beads on the right. Rather crude, but it worked. I hope to establish a more organized system for the bead storage in the near future.
I also worked on a plate, so nothing would role away or get lost.
Over all, I think the earrings turned out rather well. They were candy canes, so a little shaping was involved.

Another thing I have decided to do with this blog is to post tutorials, patterns, how to’s, or at least something extra than just these updates at least once a week. If noone reads this, it will help me, at least.
Thank you all and happy crafting.