Freedom Was Short Lived

I’m sorry to say my freedom from masks was very short lived.  Wednesday I made two masks for Karl…I was a nice mom and made his exactly how he requested, flat black.

UGH.  Karl had taken 40 masks down to the local convenience store and they were snapped up immediately.  The owner put a basket of them at the check out and let people take them if they needed one.

She messaged me this morning.  She was out of masks.  I’ve had people want some and they stopped by the house so my remaining 50 that I had here dwindled down.  I made enough more today so that I could have Karl drop another 40 off at the convenience store.

I’ve been getting some email requests and requests in the comments from people I don’t personally know and as much as I would like to help, I really have all I can do to make masks for places that serve my community, for people of my own community, and for people I personally know.  I’m very sorry but it’s the whole theory they tell you on the airplane…put your own mask on first then help the others immediately around you.   I’m sticking with that…and a few family and friends just outside my immediate area.

I’ve heard from a local area business that some of the homemade masks that are being donated aren’t being made of quality fabrics.  This makes me so sad.  All of the work people are doing is for nothing if the masks that are made aren’t of quality fabric.  Seriously, the masks will have to be thrown away.  If you are a mask maker and you need good quality fabric for the making of masks, please leave a comment in this blog post including an email address to reach you.  If you are someone who is willing to donate fabric to a mask maker in need, please read the comments, connect and send the fabric directly to the person.  At some point if someone wants to take pictures of the fabric sending or mask making to me, I’d happily write up a blog post on how you connected….but please whatever anyone does, please do not make and donate masks that aren’t made with good quality fabric.  The weave of the fabric needs to be tight.  The fabric needs to be breathable.  The fabric needs to be of the same quality that you would put in a quilt that you were keeping for yourself.

If you aren’t sick of mask making yet…there is a giant need with Lutheran World Relief.  You don’t need to be Lutheran to be a help.  They are trying to collect 75,000 masks for distribution around the world.  There is truly a need.  You can find more information about it by following THIS LINK.  If your group typically made quilts for Lutheran World Relief, if might be time to switch gears and start making masks.

After I made a few masks I prepped a bunch for tomorrow.  I have a batch of 50 or so in the next round.  I had a friend ask for masks for her nursing home facility.  They need 120.  I’m not sure if it will be me making them or not.  They want elastic ones and I don’t have elastic….so we’ll see what comes of that.

Kelli’s sister in law is in a home for adults with disabilities.  She is finishing up the current batch that she is doing and will then start on a batch for the home her sister in law is in.

The need never seems to end.

As many of you know, Iowa, where we live, has not been put on shelter in place orders.  Today we got new news.  The region of the state where we live is now put on a high alert status.  We are allowed to be with people of our immediate family or household…no other groups.  Unfortunately our area includes Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.  You may have heard that some of the meat packing industries are having trouble with coronavirus spread….Waterloo is one of them.  This plus larger outbreaks in the Cedar Rapids are puts the NE region of Iowa in a high threat category….This all doesn’t mean much different for me.  I’ve been home here and will continue to stay here.

As of today schools are closed through April 30th.  I look for that to be extended-I’m hoping the governor speaks more on that soon.  As far as childcare, I’m staying closed as long as school is closed for sure and will make personal decisions if I need to beyond that.  Seriously…so crazy.

I’m trying to cut up my mask making this time (like not doing it for 10 hours each day like I did before) so I treated myself to some sewing time.  I got the next round on the Unity Quiltville Sew Along.   I loved making the little stars.  Seriously, four patches and stars are my favorite.

Tomorrow I’m spending the morning mask making and then after that I think I’ll do a little work on the new Quilted Twins mystery clue that will come out this morning….or some cleaning in the quilt room.  Oh, it needs it!!

So that’s my story on my short lived freedom from mask making….

28 thoughts on “Freedom Was Short Lived”

  1. I love your Unity quilt. The stars really show up. Others I have seen the stars faded into the background. Good luck on your mask making.

  2. I was surprised at how much the quality of quilting fabric varies. I have yardage from quilt shops that you can see thru and yardage from the “box stores” that is really good. I have had requests from several professional men for dark solids and finding a good quality solid for masks is difficult. I have made filters from a 800 ct sheet to help improve the issue.

  3. Some are staying if the quality of the fabric isn’t as good, they can iron on interfacing to make the weave better. It still has to be breathable, though. Such a balance.

    You’re amazing for the number of masks you’ve made! Thank you, Jo, for all that you do.

  4. It’s doesn’t take long to get tired mog making mask. I am masked out , went back to finish a quilt

  5. We’re working with a local group to supply masks. Instead of making them for friends maybe for an organization that you can have people contact. Elsewise you’ll be making masks daily and getting burned out.

    Bet Googling Iowa Mask will find one close to you.

  6. Judith Fairchild

    I understand about being masked out and needing a break. I haven’t done that many and it’s getting to me. You are so right about needing quality fabric though. I have enough for now. Thanks for the update and encouragement.

  7. It is more than OK to stop at your community Jo. We can’t take care of the world. I always remember the starfish story. Throwing this one back in the water made a difference!


  8. My niece in Montana requested a mask on facebook, and several of the replies gave her names of people who were SELLING them, for as high as $5.99 each. I’m glad they are making money in this economy, but they are something that I would never charge for. I made some for nursing homes and the hospital, and for the Humane Society employees. My community probably has enough right now, as our Guild got mobilized, but I’ll check out the Lutheran link. It sure is a great way to use up stash!

  9. If you have old 100% cotton bed sheets–they make great masks as the fabric is tightly woven and can stand up to hot water washing. That’s what I used for my niece and granddaughter who both work in hospitals. They wear the cotton mask under what ever mask the hospital provides to also protect their face from skin irritation from the hospital masks.

  10. I am still making masks. The hospital my daughter works in is finally allowing homemade masks. And now that masks are required to be worn when we are outside our homes, many friends and family need them. I would love it if someone had extra fabric available to assist me with my donations of masks.

  11. Not everyone needs one with a filter. New York State is under a Universal Face Covering Order now. If you are out in public and can not do proper social distancing you have to wear a face covering following CDC guidelines. A hankie or scarf is OK so a homemade mask without a filter is OK. I made one for a friend who is a priest. I had some dark masculine fabric. I also made his three deacons ones. Give yourself a break from sewing masks..

  12. Maybe the “flimsy” masks can used if the wearer puts a layer of fabric or a filter between the mask and face. Life is too short for cheap fabric or thread! For the amount of time it has taken me to sew 16 masks, I hope the wearers get a lot of use from the masks!!

  13. I used tee shirt yarn when I ran out of elastic. Cut 1″ wide strips from tee shirts, pull to stretch and make them curl up, and cut to 6-1/2″. If they turn out too loose for the wearer, he can run a ribbon/string/shoelace through the loops and tie behind the neck.

  14. I read where a coffee filter can be put inside masks to make them safer. If someone gets a mask made from poor quality fabric, insert a coffee filter. I have not tried it though.

  15. We are in week SIX of sheltering in place/isolation. Keeps one safe but wigging out as stores closed/restaurants closed except for drive through or order/ pick up delivered to car with servers in protection garb. It’s working me in KY but does a job on the spirit. I am working on quilt blocks but mostly cooking.. cooking.. cooking. Be glad when this is over. I am in my old Kentucky HOME and tired of it. Stay safe.

  16. I’ve made a few masks for my neighbors who are considered essential and are working and then for family that asked for them. I made them all with batik fabrics and left a place for a filter if the wearer wanted to use one. I ran out of elastic early on and went to using t shirts ties. They seem to be working and are comfortable to wear all day. Thank you to all those who are stepping up and helping out, it does take a village.

  17. At Bonnie Hunter has posted a video of her making masks under Free Patterns. She uses 1″ strips cut from tee-shirts for the ties and she shows how she does it. Best thing, the video is short, she talks quickly and and reminds us that this is not sewing great Couture which was just the encouragement I needed to get started sewing masks.

  18. I shut down my mask making operation two evenings ago; just couldn’t do any more. I didn’t make nearly as many as you have – just 200 – but with all the people calling or emailing to get masks, my days were filled up and I got to tired (at 82 one tires more easily). I would like to have made more. You are really doing a superwoman’s job to get that many made. There is a tremendous need for masks, and there are several people who are sewing, but apparently not enough. Too bad we didn’t know we would need these a lot earlier than we found out.
    Kudos to you and don’t overdo.

  19. Thank you, Jo, for helping so many with your masks. I have made two, yes! I had to read instructions twice and then I made one for myself, got interrupted, finished it next day. I made one for one of my sons, i end up having to watch another video, but it took me less time to make it. God bless you!

  20. Mary in California

    I’ve been using batiks on at least one side of the masks I sew. Fortunately I found an elastic supplier early on before everyone started making masks. Like you, I’ve limited mask making to friends/family, local first responders and those providing essential services. The requests just keep coming but you have to know your limit.

  21. I’m using interfacing in the masks I make , two squares of it just to be on the safe side. You are like a factory with all the masks you make. Haha . How are you handling being quarantined ? You are such a social person. Enjoy your posts , seeing what you’re up to. Be safe and have a Blessed week.

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