Hello lovelies! Today I'm interviewing one final UJAMAA GRANDMA - Patty!
Tell us a little about yourself!
For as long as I can remember, I have had the need to make things. My grandmother taught me many traditional Eastern European non-sewing skills and mother taught me to knit and to sew. I made my first sewn garment, a reversible cape for my bride doll, on a miniature Singer hand crank sewing machine when I was seven. I still have it. No wonder I have no spare space.
Not so bride-like cape, my first garment
In high school I took Home Economics and professed to hate sewing and it was then that I earned the nickname “Pin-less Patty”. I still resist using pins and sew almost pin-free to this day, unless it’s absolutely necessary, which isn’t very often. So my teacher was right about that but I was wrong about sewing. I love to sew. It is my happy place. I sew almost every day, sometimes all day. If my husband is away then I sew all night too. I have it bad.
How did you get involved with UJAMAA GRANDMAS?
One day in 2007, a dear friend of mine called and said “I met some women who knit things to sell and they donate all the proceeds to charity. They supply a lot of the yarn. There is a meeting tonight. Do you want to go with me?” Silly woman. Of course I wanted to go. When we entered the room, the energy was unbelievable. It was filled with women who were in turn filled with ideas, enthusiasm, warmth, affection and respect. AND there was yarn on every flat surface in the house. I was smitten. We both went away with oodles of yarn and began our journey into the UJAMAA GRANDMAS world.
Early tote bag from donated Hungarian embroidery
Originally I got involved for rather selfish reasons. It was an opportunity to make things to my heart’s content and have a useful place to put them rather than in the cupboard. I could make enough of something to build a decent skill level and it was very rewarding to get feedback and inspiration from other creative individuals. I knit many things then strayed felting tea cozies and bracelets. An odd combination I know.
Felted tea cozies ready for delivery
After this teenage stage, I matured a bit and got more involved, joining the Handcrafts committee and the Board. This was mainly because of the women. UJAMAA GRANDMAS is a group of smart, energetic, creative, talented, caring and understanding women. I have made friends who I know will be life-long.
Now I stay involved for these reasons and because I have seen that what we do makes a profound difference to the lives of other smart, caring and talented women who have more challenges than any of us can imagine just in living day-to-day.
Bag made in collaboration with UJAMAA GRANDMAS beader
What do you most like about being involved with UJAMAA GRANDMAS?
Simply stated, the women, both UJAMAA GRANDMAS women and our African sisters. Together we are able to touch so many lives in such a positive way. I love that there are other women who understand my need to make things and that in filling this need I can also fill others’ needs. There is so much joy in this association. Sometimes I just have to laugh out loud. My husband says I have a lot of pent up happiness.
Puppet - for a while I was smitten with making puppets
What do you like to sew?
If there is an object that needs to be stored or carried, I’ve make a bag for it; snowshoes (it IS Canada), bicycle wheels, bicycle pedals, bicycle helmets, tripods, go-pros, electronic gear, clothes, shoes, toiletries, camping gear, art supplies, kitchen tools, knitting projects, sewing projects. Whew!
Original design handbags
Then I discovered handbags. Our Purses and Bags custodian asked if I would do a workshop on fabric bags to help build skills and perhaps attract more bag makers. I half-heartedly agreed, signed up for a Craftsy class and as soon as I made my first handbag I knew it was terminal. Now I make bags from almost any fabric. I use fabrics that I find at our spring fabric and yarn sale and from my quilting cotton stash (I am a recovered quilter). This sometimes adds an extra challenge in making the fabric work with the pattern. It sometimes results in surprises both good and otherwise. I have made most of the Bag of the Month Club
patterns from the last three years and a few from other designers. I also make up my own original designs. Oh and I love finding any excuse for hardware.
BOMC February '16 Window Shopper Tote, donated to silent auction for Mental Awareness
As well as making bags for UJAMAA GRANDMAS, I have made and donated bags for a bursary fund for our local technical institute and as gifts for my daughter, my sister, my nieces and grandsons. Have I made a handbag for me? Well, no, but there is still hope.
BOMC June 2016 Half Moon for bursary fund raiser, On the Go
What do you hope for the future?
I want to continue to explore new construction techniques and I have some ideas for patterns I would like to develop and share. I have only made one all leather bag and have hopes that I can do more. I am contemplating a heavy-duty machine but so far Pfanny and Edith Pfaff have served me well. I talk nicely to them as often as they need it. We are in the early stages of forming a bag makers group within UJAMAA GRANDMAS – Bag-ettes - and I will likely shepherd this group. I hope to keep sewing for UJAMAA GRANDMAS as long as I am able.
Thanks Patty! It's so inspiring to read about your experience with UJAMAA GRANDMAS!
Here at Sewing Patterns by Mrs H we pay blog contributors a fee, the fee for this series has been donated to Ujamaa Grandmas. If you would like to donate to the incredible work that these ladies are doing, then please Donate online at this link. At the bottom of the on-line donation form you will be asked if you are part of a Grandmothers group. Please be sure to check YES and indicate UJAMAA GRANDMAS and include our Charity Affiliation number - 77832."
You can find out more about UJAMAA GRANDMAS at www.ujamaagrandmas.com/ or read more on the blog.