St. Louisan Penelope Strousser lost her sight after contracting a virus when she was 33 years old. She learned how to weave, and in 1976 she was commissioned to make a large rug for the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion in St. Louis. She also made this smaller throw to present to R.I.T.E. (Real Independence Through Employment) for the Blind. In December 1976, she received a patent for a weaving loom for people with impaired vision.