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Stockings with a personal touch

Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 19, 2011

When Brenda Roberts was working at a remote mine site in northern Labrador, she joined a quilting club to pass the time.

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Brenda Roberts of Inuvik spends a lot of time in her sewing room during the winter months. "My computer's always on and the music is usually playing," she said. - photo courtesy of Brenda Roberts

"You work 12-hour days and you're there for 14 days at a time, so I joined to basically poke fun at everyone - and then I got hooked," she said.

After completing quilts, the group decided to make Christmas stockings for all the elders - all 75 of them - in Nain, the province's most northerly community.

"They loved it. We were told that their faces just lit up because everybody had their own stockings, they were like little children. It was really uplifting. It was really nice," she said.

In March of 2010, Roberts and her husband decided to move to Inuvik.

Fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers, they packed up their cat and dog for the drive across the country.

It wasn't long before Roberts was making stockings for not just her family and friends, but the entire community.

She estimates she has made 45 stockings since arriving, most of which she sells through Facebook and word of mouth.

"It's unbelievable. You take an old tradition like quilting and sell it through such a modern medium. It's really cool when you think about it," she said. "I sell them to pretty much anybody in the community."

Roberts brought some material with her from down south, and finds the rest at used clothing stores and online at sites like eBay.

She finds time in the evenings to sew, and has become so proficient that she can whip up a stocking in half an hour.

The stockings she makes for her family take more time, she said, because she adds personal touches.

"For those ones, I add little pieces of a shirt they wore as a baby or pieces of a blanket they had when they were a little kid, so I make it personalized for them. Those take a little bit more time because you've got to be more creative with them," Roberts said.

Her favourite part of making stockings is seeing someone find one they are really drawn to, or making one that is unique to that person.

"Christmas is such a happy time," she said. "It's all about family and being surrounded by warmth and happiness. That's why I like making stockings."

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