The eight-week Circle of Life knitting program was the first of its kind for the Kermode Friendship Centre, tailored for women and especially mothers.
On the final day, April 27, participant Violet Neasloss reflected on her time skills she will find used full in several ways.
“I learned how to do all this at home, to make pillows, blankets, crest for regalia, quilts.”
“It will save me money in the long run. Right now money is tight.
“It’s a way to make money if I so chose. It’s an income.”
Neasloss said she learned the various types of material and how to sew it together. Originally from Klemtu on the coast, it was an opportunity to work on regalia and also to repair a crest she made in the past.
A sewing machine also has various settings for tension of the thread and increase of stitch size, she said, and she learned how to manipulate these features.
Chantel Johnson was there with her two kids, and said she liked the opportunity to make some nice stuff for them with her own personal touch. Like Neasloss, Johnson had the course recommended to her by her adviser at the Kermode Friendship Centre.
“I made three blankets and a shawl,” she said. “I learned how to better use a sewing machine.”
Coming into the course, she didn’t know what to expect and says she was a bit apprehensive.
“I was nervous about the shawl and doing the designs,” she said. “But I got more comfortable as the days went on.”
This is exactly what the Circle of Life founder and Kermode Friendship Centre employee Lisa Lawley hopes will happen to the mothers who join the workshops like this one offered in the three-year program, as she wants women to build confidence and self-esteem.
Rosalie Temple, who is from Prince Rupert, taught the women and it was her first time doing that, she said. She offered to help the society get the pilot project going and worked there for two months.
Classes went for three to seven hours each four days a week.
“I enjoy helping others. I taught native arts to the Prince Rupert Friendship House clients for four years,” she said. “I love the reaction they get when they are done a project. I am hoping that the mothers I taught here got something out of it.”
Aside from the practical skills they are taught—which could translate into a means to make money by selling crafts and to self-sufficiency for the family—the leaders also encouraged dialogue around birth control and cultural traditions.