Sewickley Academy Rainbow Loomer can be found on 'Kimmel,' YouTube — even her own app
Ally Aufman has become somewhat of a celebrity around Sewickley Academy.
During a short walk last week from the lower school of the Edgeworth campus to the kindergarten building, parents of other students and teachers stopped to congratulate Ally, 9, a third-grader from Marshall, on the recent shout-out she got from late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel.
Kimmel in February asked children to make and send in Rainbow Loom creations to be fashioned into a “Suit of the Loom,” which he wore on his Feb. 26 ABC show.
The suit was to be auctioned off to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
Ally sent in 100 bracelets, plus a tie.
“I was shocked when I was sitting there watching (the show)” and heard Ally's name, said Kim Aufman, her mother. “We never heard anything (back from the show), so we didn't know if it would be on.”
Ally began making Rainbow Loom bracelets with tiny, multicolored rubber bands after receiving the toy kit for Christmas in 2012. She said once she mastered one of the more complex bracelet designs, she was hooked.
“The very next day, she was making her own patterns,” Kim Aufman said.
By June, with her mother's help, she started a YouTube channel — AllysBracelets — to teach others how to create some of her signature patterns, including the nautique, inverted nautique, stripe double and the double braid.
The channel now has more than 16,000 subscribers, and her video for her double braid design has more than 1.2 million views.
Ally said when she started to use the toy, it was new, and not many designs were available.
“It was a totally different kind of looming that nobody had ever seen before,” Kim Aufman said of Ally's designs.
Ally and her creations, which, aside from bracelets, include mustaches and figures, caught the attention of Choon's Design LLC, creator of the Rainbow Loom toy, which asked to include two of her designs — the Taffy Twist and Carnation — in the book, “The Loomatic's Interactive Guide to the Rainbow Loom” by Suzanne M. Peterson. Only one other child's designs are featured.
“The neat thing is that a lot of the people who make these patterns are adults,” Kim Aufman said.
In addition to her YouTube channel, Ally teaches an advanced class on loom projects every Sunday at Learning Express in Cranberry. She also participated in two 10-week-long after school programs on looming at Sewickley Academy.
“Ally has always been the ‘head teacher' and is light-years beyond me, at least,” said Jeanne Otto, the academy teacher in charge of the program.
After visiting Ally's YouTube site, Otto said, she thought loom projects would be a fun idea for an after-school program. “She was always there to help others. Ally is truly amazing, as well as very humble,” she said.
Classmates in last week's session asked Ally to autograph their copies of “The Loomatic's” book.
Ally's designs also are on Pinterest, Instagram and through “Ally's Bracelets” app, available for download from Apple's Mac App Store.
Ally said she uses her loom almost every day and frequently thinks about new patterns and designs. She estimates she has hundreds of bracelets.
“She'll do (the designs) in her head and know it's going to work,” Kim Aufman said.
“It's very, very amazing that she makes these (patterns) up.”
Kristina Serafini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.