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Conversations with Danielle McCann

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle McCann. 

Hi Danielle, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In early 2012, my cousin Emmy came to visit and she showed me one of the scarves she was making. I was intrigued so she taught me the very basic stitches. She left me with a ball of yarn and a hook. At the time, I was struggling with a lot of heavy issues in my family and I was so anxious that I rarely slept. I found myself spending lots of time on YouTube listening to tutorials. That’s how I learned most of what I know now. I made gifts for family and friends for several years and as I started being more intentional about posting my work on social media, people began to ask if they could buy it. 

In 2020, I started my own YouTube channel. My main goal was to share crochet as a way for others to destress from the pandemic and such. I wanted them to find an outlet as I did. I particularly wanted to focus on creating accessible content because as a blind maker, I experienced lots of content that wasn’t fully accessible to me. I also received certification from the Craft Yarn Counsel to teach beginner-level crochet in 2020. As far as I know, I’m the only blind person who has done that. Today, I’m still at it, mostly selling to my followers on social media but I want to keep growing. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I recognize and am thankful for the fact that my path has been pretty smooth. My support system is so wonderful. My husband Brian is my main pillar. He reads yarn labels to me or he tells me if my finished items look like the finished items in the pattern I’m following. I would say that the thing I have struggled with is inaccessible tutorials and or patterns. If I want to learn a new skill, I spend a good chunk of time looking for videos with verbal directions or written tutorials so that I can listen to the instructions. For instance, I could be 3/4 of the way through a video, crocheting along, and then, the creator says “now, just loop this over here and you’re good.” I instantly have to find a way to figure out what “this” and “over here” mean in order to continue my work. Similarly, in written patterns, there is often a serious lack of complete detail. Example: “see figure 4 to learn where to place the buttons.” 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
By day, I am the Social Media Coordinator for the National Federation of the Blind. We are a membership and advocacy organization with fifty-two affiliates and more than 700 chapters across the country. We believe that blindness is not the characteristic that defines us or our futures. I manage our social media channels as well as our blog. I also do trainings for members on how to use social media. 

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
Risk-taking is necessary for growth and learning. It’s terrifying but it could lead to some pretty cool rewards. I feel that every time I post my work on social media, I’m taking a risk. I am leaving myself open to criticism and that feels super vulnerable. 

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