Weaver Anna Marie D’Addarie makes rugs from torn strips of old T shirts, uses Hula-Hoops as looms, and knits without needles, but you won’t have to take off your T shirt or know how to Hula-Hoop to join her in weaving a fabulously original fiber art of your own. Nor do you have to remember how to play the two-handed string game Cat’s Cradle to do her arm knitting, where there aren’t any cumbersome needles because your arm itself serves as the needle. These are just two of the four methods kids, teens, and adults can do with Anna Marie at the third annual Mini Makers Faire at the Ag Hall on May 12, from 10 am to 4 pm. Participation and materials are free. You just need to bring your sense of adventure. Anna Marie generously shared her love for the various techniques we will be able to try, as well as her own life and personal philosophies, with me in a recent interview.
First, I can’t wait to hear how and why you use cut-up and torn T shirt strips as a weaving material.
We really need to think about the glut of clothing the industry brings into the world. Before throwing something away, I want people to just stop for a second and ask, “Can this have another life?” One of my solutions to just too many T shirts is “upcycling” them, using them for weaving material. Upcycling T shirts is a passion of mine. Even if people don’t ever make a rug or a quilt from T shirts, at least they will think twice about how many shirts they bring into their own lives. MV Screenprinting donated the T shirts for the Faire. They have always helped me with my upcycling projects.
At the Faire we’ll be able to use these T shirt strips to weave on a Hula-Hoop loom, and the mini loom as well. So in a way you’re repurposing Hula-Hoops too. Why use them as such an unusual loom?
I wanted to have crafts for every age, including really young little hands learning fine motor skills. A child as young as 4 can sit with an adult and weave. On a mini loom they can finish a coaster in 15 to 20 minutes and take it home. I have bright colors to appeal to kids. And it’s important to me too to appeal to every child, including those not necessarily into technology and everything with bells and whistles.
The choice of looms you’ll have for us at the Faire hits every age group, including peg looms for tiny hands, as well as arm knitting and a Cricket tabletop loom for teens to adults. How old were you when you first began working with cloth?
I’ve always made things with my hands. My mother taught me to sew when I was a young kid. It helped with my work-study programs in undergraduate and graduate school, where I worked in costume shops instead of waiting tables.
What draws you to the fiber arts?
It speaks on such a level that’s so helpful to people. Some of the benefits are the mental challenges. It can be a mindful, immersive experience where you lose sense of time, or you can do it while binge-watching a Netflix series. But it’s as much about the journey as the destination of the finished product. The journey is sitting back in the relaxing chair and making little stops to make artistic decisions along the way. If I can get anybody to get how wonderful that is to have something like that, to just sit at a loom and weave a few rows, that will make me happy.
What do you want folks to know about you?
Well, I’m a retired widow with a cat! Sounds like I’m right out of central casting. But I bowl in a league, I’m learning the electric guitar, and I have been boxing with a personal trainer for five years. I do a lot of things other than working with fiber. I’m always trying to learn new things.
So keep your mind sharp too, and come to try new things with Anna Marie at the Faire. She hopes that “having these four elementary looms available might give you ideas of your own.”
Hula-Hoop Looms for young children or any person who wants to have fun weaving on these big looms using upcycled T shirts.
Peg loom for all ages. Make a rag rug by choosing the fabric, ripping the strips, and weaving.
Arm knitting is all the rage. Learn the fun craft using fluffy wool. For teens and up.
Cricket tabletop loom will have you weaving in no time. For teens through adults.