This weekend I am sharing conversations I had with Rita of "Sammysgrammy." Rita does some wonderful work with yarn and up-cycling of a variety of materials. Her handknitted and felted tiny ballet slippers caught my eye, so I dropped her a note and she was willing to give me some time to chat!
Here is our interview:
You work in a variety of mediums. Tell us about what you make.
The things I create are usually made from something you'd find in your grandmother's sewing room (buttons, bit 'n pieces of broken jewelry, a torn tablecloth or pillowcase, some yarn....)
My mission in my crafting is to honor the needlework arts of our grandmothers, present them to a new generation, and encourage interest in these dying arts (crocheting, knitting, tatting, embroidery, etc.) first of all: by treasuring the work, redeeming it into a conversation piece. So, I turn a 40's dresser scarf into a born again angel, a pillowcase into a dress, a bunch of buttons in to a brooch......
How long have you been creating ?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't creating. As a child, I'd watch my grandmother at her treadle sewing machine making all of her own clothing, then, out of the scraps, making doll clothes for my dolls. She did let me use her machine. Again, from scraps, I'd make halters for my sisters and myself to wear with our summer shorts. I made aprons to everyone. Still make aprons!!
What is your favorite project to work on?
Whatever I'm currently working on is my favorite project. I'm very fickle.
How do you get your ideas? Do you start with a fabric, yarn, or trinkets or a concept in mind first?
Ideas are always exploding in my head. I love to "people watch", magazines, art galleries, gift shops are all fertile idea fields for me. I would say I'm more stimulated by ideas than materials, so the concept is usually first. Except for the buttons. I had all those beautiful buttons. What could I imagine them to become?
What other type of crafting to do you?
Of course, I do all the needlework but I also make jewelry, greeting cards, labels and gift tags, scrapbooking.
Of the items you currently have available, which is your favorite
I have been making my "born again angels" for quite some time now and that would be my favorite because there's such a drastic change from the soiled thing it once was to what it is now. They are such a perfect demonstration of 2 Cor. 5:17.
You mention “re-imagining” and “rescuing landfill candidates” to create your work. Tell us a little about that.
When I say that I rescue landfill candidates I mean that if I don't purchase that soiled old doily at an estate sale, it'll end up at the curb on the day after the sale. Many people, wanting to rid their houses off grandma's old stuff, will put her beautiful hand crocheted tablecloths in their garage sale for a pittance. All of that wonderful handmade lace which embellished pillowcases, towels, napkins, petticoats......all tossed. It makes me so sad. I want to treasure it, give it the respect it deserves, up-cycle it into something that someone will value.
You knit for charity, as described on your Etsy page. Take a moment to tell us about the work you do for them and how others can get involved.
For charity: I knit children's hats for the Arkansas Children's Hospital, one of the top ten pediatric hospitals in the country. If you would like to be part of the ACH team(together everyone achieves miracles), go to www.archildrens.org I also knit preemie hats for our local neo-natal unit at Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center. This is something anyone can do for their own local neo natal unit. They always need hats. The babies are always taking them home and,sadly, some of them are treasured rememberances for a grieving mom and dad.
What is something that makes you laugh out loud?
most Seinfield episodes
What is the funniest/cutest/sweetest thing your grandchildren have done?
My grandchildren are all born comedians but they don't know it. My own kids were so funny and I'm so sorry I didn't keep a good record of their hilarious quips but for my grandchildren, I bought a journal which only has in it the funny things they said and did. Whenever I get around to doing a blog, that's what the subject matter will be. One example: My son took his children to the playground. The elder rode his bike, the younger of the two, rode in a child carrier on the dad's bike. While at the playground, the younger made a mess in the diaper. When time to leave, my son called for the child to come so he could scoop her up into the child seat. She said, "no thanks, I'll walk."
What is your best “stress buster”?
The best stress buster is: Phillipians 4:6&7 - "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything but in every circumstance...., by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants know to God. And God's peace, which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds......"
Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and which of their works do you enjoy the most?
Jane Austen is my favorite author
If we looked inside your frig, what would we find?
I wish you would find some great noshing stuff in my fridge but right now it's pretty bare. You will always find iced tea there and yogurt. Doesn't sound very appetizing, does it?
While cruising Rita's items, as well as the beautiful angel at the top of this article, I found a lovely charm bracelet http://www.etsy.com/listing/43761820/vintage-button-charm-bracelet and a fun bag and being a purse/tote/bag creator myself, just LOVED this one: http://www.etsy.com/listing/36492048/vintage-barkcloth-tote-bag
Thanks for taking the time to chat, Rita and happy creating!