Online voters have chosen Annie Petaulassie as the territory’s best stitcher in a Nunavut News contest.
She will receive a wolf pelt valued at close to $1,000 from International Fur Dressers and Dyers Ltd. The winner’s work was the most popular among Facebook users, judging by their reactions to a post on the Nunavut News Facebook page and reactions to the post as shared by others.
Petaulassie, who’s from Cape Dorset but resides in Iqaluit, taught herself how to stitch in the early 1980s because she wanted to make use of spare pieces of sealskin, she said.
“I don’t know any of the names for the stitches. I just do them from my head. I don’t follow the instructions,” she said of her innate talent that took years to hone. “You need to practice to get to be good at it.”
She didn’t stop with stitching, however. She also sews, crochets, quilts, beads and does embroidery. She’s fashioned kamiiks, mitts, slippers, parkas, hats, wristbands and juggling balls (or hacky sacks), among other items.
Petaulassie has passed on stitching skills to many youngsters as an elementary school and daycare teacher as well as at a workshop in Baker Lake a few years ago. She will be travelling to Norway later this month, courtesy of the Department of Environment, to exhibit her handiwork.
Petaulassie usually indulges in her hobby in the mornings.
“I’m always looking forward to sewing right after breakfast,” she said. “It’s relaxing for me. Otherwise I’d go crazy because I don’t go out and I cannot just stay home and watch TV or anything like that. I like to do sewing.”
She doesn’t rush when she’s working on garments, preferring to be meticulous.
“I take time. I’m not in a hurry,” she said. “I like to try to make it look good and make good stitches instead of hurrying.”
She’s not certain yet what she will do with her newly-won fur pelt.
“Maybe I’ll make mitts to sell, because they’re warm,” she said. “Qujanamiik. I’m so happy that I won.”
This isn’t the first contest in which Petaulassie has come out on top. The wallhanging she submitted to Northwestel was featured on the cover of a past phone book.