Hi Everyone —
While watching all the angst about cancelling the NJNA meeting due to weather…..this is me coming in after a trek to the Barrow grocery store in about -15 degrees and windy and dark. I was told it was a two-block walk, but actually it was more like six blocks each way. The snow was too cold to be slippery, but I was walking blind!
One night we went to the Heritage Center and had a private tour of the whaling museum. I thought you all might enjoy seeing this Inuit sewing kit. You can see the sharp leather cutter and the awl for making holes in the leather all contained nicely on a sealskin thong. So clearly we needlepointers were not the first to invent scissor fobs! The small leather gathered piece is a thimble. The floss above the tool is caribou gut which was used as thread.
Whales were another source of fiber — this picture shows a baleen (one of hundreds in each whale’s mouth). The baleen is hard with brittle threads (cilia?) but after soaking, you can pull on a thread and pull it all the way to the end of the baleen. We saw baleens that were about five feet long to ones that were about two feet long — apparently the length depends upon the location in the whale’s mouth. These threads were traditionally used to weave baskets.
I hope you find this as fascinating as I did. I think I would really love to take a course in making a pair of traditional mukluk boots! Do you think ANG would consider it for a national seminar?
Leave to you, Rosie, to find needlework even a remote and brutally cold village such as Barrow, Alaska! I hope that your coat kept you warm on your journey to and from the grocery store! Welcome back to warmer climes. Sue