As I’ve prepared for moving into primitive living, I’ve had to reassess how I’ve worked my skills in the past. Many of us rely on modern tools to practice our primitive skills. I decided to make a sewing kit using only primitive skills and was amazed at how many skills were needed to create this simple kit- to do a task that we often take for granted. In the past I would probably have used artificial sinew, a modern needle, and sandpaper in making this. I have to admit though that I didn’t have a stone knife to cut the rawhide so it’s not completely primitive. The things I needed to do to create the kit were make a bone awl and needle, process sinew, process the rawhide for the various pouches and create a pottery bowl to hold water to soak the sinew for sewing. I had to relearn how to sew with sinew since it doesn’t come in lovely long lengths like artificial sinew! It took a different sewing technique and the process of using the awl to create holes and the needle to push the sinew through the holes was much more time consuming than using modern tools. Making the awl and needle with just stones for breaking the bone and sanding it was actually quite efficient, at least as good as using modern tools.
Although this all took a lot longer than it would have using modern tools, there were some very positive outcomes. For one, I have confidence now that I at least understand the basics of what all it takes to sew! I have a start on technique that I can improve over time. I also had a much better connection, not only to the end product, but to each element of the animal and stone that was used. When we remove the manufactured items we are more in tune to the raw materials given to us from the Earth. This helps us appreciate the gift of having a sewing kit even more! Can’t wait to do more!
Resident Debbie Tremel originally published in 2014