Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chewing Seal and Sewing

I've been going to sewing classes in the evenings some days. It's always such a great experiance. I tend to get a little bummed out about humanity sometimes because of my husbands line of work and it's really great to take time to remind myself how wonderful human beings really are deep down inside. And it's going to sewing class recently that has reminded me of this.

I can't sew. I can take a photo, I can paint, I can draw, I can play a few instruments, but I can't sew. Worth beans!! The whole idea of making something out of fabric just throws me for a loop, I think it's terribly fascinating beyond my brains capacity. And this is where I run into trouble because Nathan can't sew either and what do you know it every single pair of his work pants have to be hemmed! Last year we ended up taking down south 10 pairs of his work pants just to get them repaired or hemmed and it almost took up an entire suite case, what a waste of space!

Some nights back, a few ladies and myself went down to the sewing class at the community centre just to visit some of the local ladies there and see what they were making. That night some of them had been working on parkas and my eyes just lit up with wonder. I sat there watching amazed trying to put it all together in my head, when the lady in charge came over and said "You know, you can do that"! I said "Aaga" ("no" in Inuktitut)! She then told me about one of the ladies there, who originally had no clue about how to sew and today she is one of the best in the class. I wasn't sure I would be able to create anything, but some how her warm smile was convincing enough for me to dive in full force and now I'm going 3 times a week!

The woman who is running the sewing class, who I call Hopi (because I can't pronounce her full Inuktitut name lol) should win some kind of awesomeness award because she is always in class ready to lend a hand. I haven't seen her working on anything of her own yet because she is constantly running around helping others put together their sewing projects. The other night she blew my mind away when a lady came over wondering the best way to attach a sleeve to the body of her parka. Hopi took the sleeve, turned it inside out and placed it inside the Parka making it much easier to sew on (I'm sure this isn't making any sense, but it did when I saw it happen, you'll just have to trust me). Last night when I was trying to sew something (I'm not going to say what because it's a Christmas present), Hopi stopped and took time, along with another awesome lady to try and fix a problem I was having. Here I am sitting between two Inuit ladies while they are having a conversation in Inuktitut over my project and how to fix it for me. I felt so cared for. I'm also getting a lot of help and support from my also pregnant friend Meaghan, who again I wouldn't be able to produce anything without. Last night she drove all the way home just to get her sewing machine for me to use because all the others were occupied! These crazy wonderful ladies just make your day!

While I was sitting on the floor in class (this is where the most important work gets done), a lady from another class, one that was making tradition Inuit Kamiks came over with a piece of seal. She had been chewing the piece used for the bottom of the foot, the traditional way to soften it up. She propositioned me that since I had good teeth maybe I could spend some time chewing and she could sew up my project. I took one look at her and questioned "but you have good teeth too". She then said "nah, I have dentures". Best looking dentures I'd ever seen. So just for fun I took the piece from her and took one big bite. My mistake, I must not have realized that seal skin pre-chewed is ROCK HARD. As my teeth were zinging from the pain I realized I probably should have used my molars instead of my front teeth. I handed her back her pelt and she giggled. She probably has a good 3 days of solid chewing ahead of her and that's just one foot. Now I realize why they cost so damn much if you are to just buy them. I think I'm just going to stick to sewing for right now.


Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

Hurray for sewing classes! I went in Kugluktuk too and loved them. The elders and other women there were so amazing and sweet. I learned an awful lot from them and I miss them now!

Fawn said...

Is your husband a Mountie? I always felt like the RCMP families in Fort Liard got the rawest deal because they always saw the worst behaviour in town and many of them were never able to get a balanced view of what the community was really like. It sounds like you manage, though!

Turning the sleeve inside out makes sense to me, and I'm pretty close to a sewing dunce, too. ;)

Can't wait to see you post a picture of your finished project (after Christmas, of course!)

Christina said...

I am soooo jealous! I would love to be there with you girls! Have a great time! : )

Anna said...

How do you manage to make sewing sound so attractive and fun???!!
I'd love to be able to do it, and just from the way you talk about it, I'd totally dig coming to that class too :o)
Hmmm, the good old fashioned stuff that is really useful but somehow doesn't get passed down anymore...

Aida said...

i hv to say with sewing, once you try it. its so addictive! there were talks about starting a sewing class here but so far i've not heard anything. my current project is making "play food" for Ava and that is a new obsession as it is!

and yes the skill do come in handy in hemming pants and repairing just about anything that requires needle and thread.

KOTN said...

I've met and interviewed Hopi. Great lady.

Lindsay Gee said...

I also am forcing myself to learn to sew. I just bought a bunch of Ikea fabric in the hopes of MAKING my own curtains. eck. I am buying a sewing machine from Walmart tonight and going to start my project tonight during surviror.

Finnskimo, its more than just a name... said...

Yay...its great to see you're learning to sew!

I learned with my grandmother, watching her sew on the floor, and watching her help others. Awesome.

So...what did you make?!

As you can see, I'm going through your older blog posts! :)