Life in the Fast Lane



By 7:16 AM , , , , , , , , ,

Unless you've been living in Pluto or some unknown galaxy, you would have heard of Rainbow Loom by now. Invented by Cheong Choon Ng, it was popularized in the United States sometime last year and made its rounds in the Philippines early this year. Looming, the term that has been coined to describe the act of making rubber band bracelets, basically involves different colored rubber bands and a loom board.

Photo from here.

There are other versions now, such as Cra-Z-Loom and FunLoom, as well as other third-party loom boards and rubber bands.

The initial target market of this craze was kids aged 8 and above. This was made obvious in the choice of colors, fonts, and packaging style of these three brands.

Photo from here.

Photo from here.

Photo from here.

The same thing goes for the colors of the bands that usually come with any of these kits. Such primary! Much colors!

Photo from here.

This Loomsanity took the world by storm, with thousands of pattern tutorials up on YouTube, Rainbow Loom meet-ups and events.

Then, a second target market emerged: the moms. 

Joining their kids in Toys 'R' Us, these moms initially supported their kids' newfound fascination with this craft. While it didn't completely take the kids away from their iPads, looming became a great compromise: a way to merge technology (i.e. watching tutorials on YouTube) and actual tactile learning (following instructions, learning through making).

Until they themselves got hooked on it (pun partially intended). And all of these complicated patterns and creations started sprouting out of nowhere.

Photo from here.

Photo from here.

Photo from here.

But a third target market — one that may be slowly growing, but growing nonetheless — seems to be surfacing as well.

I'm talking about professional/working adults; those who may have had prior looming exposure because of their cousins, nieces, nephews, and students, or because their mom-friends have raved about this phenomenon.

And I am part of this "demographic", if you will. 

At first, though, I have to admit that I was kind of a loom skeptic. After all, initially, the colors of the bands available in the earlier loom packs were very kiddie. Way too bright — overwhelmingly so — for my taste. I thought that, for practical reasons, it wouldn't make sense to start making and wearing one of those bracelets because I wouldn't be able to match them with my outfits.

Until one of my best friends, one Saturday night, brought out her loom kit and showed us what she had. Alas, there was metallic! There were muted colors! They were wearable! Talk about a lightbulb moment.

Then she taught us (a bunch of us happened to be hanging out that evening) how to do the fishtail pattern. That basically sealed the deal for me.

Thus began my journey to Loomlandia.

My kit at home.

My first time to try an inverted fishtail. Spot the mistake I made somewhere in the middle (which I had to do over eventually).

The first thing I made that wasn't a bracelet. Achievement unlocked!

Snoopy took a little over two hours to make ('cause I made a mistake somewhere in the stomach area and had to repeat it). My loom board was given by a family friend; at the time it was given to me, all Rainbow Looms were out of stock!

What I find loom bands most useful for nowadays: as watch straps. You can buy separate watch faces under the brand Loomey Time in select Toys 'R' Us branches and just look up the different patterns online and make the straps for yourself. Here, I used the raindrop and triple fishtail patterns.

I've made bracelets for friends, relatives, and colleagues (some on order basis; some as a token). Two of my cousins have since gotten hooked as well.

Currently, I'm at a point where I have to tell myself to stop buying bands. I have enough at the moment (some unopened packs are still in a separate shoebox) and if I really don't watch it, this Loomsanity can seriously become an addiction. But with online sellers all over the place, it can get really, really tempting to order band refills.

Loomatics would probably hyperventilate if they came across packs like these.
Photo from here.

For people like me, it's therapeutic — an almost mindless way (depending on the pattern you work on; if it's complicated, it can take some time to master) to relieve oneself of stress at the end of a long day.

For people like me, it's also a throwback of sorts. A number of today's yuppies used to be mini-entrepreneurs back in the day by making and selling beaded or threaded jewelry. I used to do this, too, back in my early grade school and late high school years. Therefore, you could consider looming to be this millenium's version of it.

For other Loomatics, it's just fun to be a part of this craze. You get to meet (literally, face to face or online) like-minded people who will indulge you in the craziest conversations about what patterns they really have to try, where to buy bronze or glow-in-the-dark bands, and what stores have finally restocked white and/or black bands.

Looming is definitely not for everyone, and it may even look like a laughable, childish pursuit to a lot of people (in a what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-you, are-you-regressing kind of way). But hey, to each his/her own, right?

I'm just glad that looming exists, especially for today's kids. It's great that they now have an outlet beyond the digital world. Looming has managed to merge technology (by way of online learning) with real-life craftsmanship and it teaches kids to develop their fine motor skills as well as values like patience, perseverance, determination, and delayed gratification.

If you have kids, you might want to try introducing them to the world of looming. I guarantee that you'll have hours of fun as you learn different patterns together. It's also a meaningful way to bond as a family.

If you want to try something new (whether or not you have kids, haha!), then you can give this a shot. It's not an expensive hobby (you can buy original Rainbow Loom refills at Toys 'R' Us and Rustan's for PhP 179.75 per pack; other third-party sellers sell them for PhP 20 to PhP 50 per pack, depending on the number of pieces) and it's a way to unwind at the end of a tiring work/school day.

Fishtail with border using the Monster Tail kit from Rainbow Loom.

As the loomers on YouTube say, "Let's get started!"

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. I just felt like writing about this new hobby of mine after indulging in it for almost two months now. But if anyone wants to sponsor me after coming across this post, by all means! Haha!

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