Making Masks for Covid-19

Lansing; Michigan; United States

I am one of the lucky ones. I can do my job remotely. My husband is lucky too, he can work remotely. He works for the SBA as a small business consultant. He's been working 60-70 hours a week, trying to save as many small businesses in our area as he can. Our Chicago daughter and her husband are in the tech and finance industries, so can work remotely, too.

I have been following the path of this epidemic closely. I live in Michigan, where the virus has really taken hold. Seams, a local fabric shop has been organizing efforts to make masks for our community. You can follow them too on their Facebook page, So far they have made over 11,000 masks for health care workers, post office employees, and smaller offices. 

Since I work part time, and like almost everyone in the country, am staying home, I decided to put my extensive quilting stash to work. With all this fabric, and all this time with my sewing room, I feel I've been training for this my whole life.

Beth Donaldson's sewing nook.     Masks made for Covid-19 protection.
Left: Here's my sewing nook. My fabric stash is on the left. It will take many, many masks before I even put a dent in it. Right: Beatles, Star Trek, Daisies, Stones, Twizzlers, Scotty Dogs, Three Stooges.

I started making masks and refining a pattern until I had a pattern I could put into production. My first set of masks went to my daughter in Portland, OR. She is a therapist. Some of her work is remote, and some is in a hospital. Since she doesn't work in the emergency room, she wasn't given any PPE by her hospital. I sent her 17 masks which never arrived! According to tracking, it was delivered to her front porch, but she never received them. I'm hoping wherever they ended up, they are being used. And if she spots someone in a mask with pink and black Poodles, she'll know where those masks went. LOL. So back to the sewing machine. Since the first batch was sent, she found out the hospital is giving PPE to everyone in the hospital. But she and her partner still need masks for daily use and she promised masks to many friends, so I will send her more.

I have given away more than 40 masks and have another 60 or more in production. Making masks has been a great anecdote to our current situation. I love to sew and love to make masks that people can have fun with. So far I've made Star Trek, Three Stooges, Beatles, rocks and pebbles, plaids, florals, Twizzlers, Poodles, Scotty dogs, and stripes. I still haven't made a dent in my stash, but I plan on making masks until there is no longer a need. I am concentrating on friends and family for now, but will give them away to Seams and others, too. The best part is when my friends send me pictures wearing their masks.

Kurt Dewhurst and Marsha MacDowell            Jennifer Otto

Left: Marsha MacDowell, Quilt Index Director with her husband Kurt Dewhurst. Right: My friend Jennifer in her Tiger Lily mask.

In these times of social, economic, and political upheaval, it's a small thing I can do.

Written by Donaldson, Beth;Covid-19: Quilters Respond (2020)

Quilts and Health

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