Sheltering, Sewing, and Stylin’

Sue

“One thing about quilters,” says my friend Sue Grennan, “they can sew!” And she should know.  A quilter, herself, for fifty years and a member of the Peninsula Quilt Guild since moving to the beach sixteen years ago, she is an expert when it comes to stitches and seams and patterns and speed.  “I thought that making masks might be something some of us could do to help during this crisis.”

“Every quilter has a stash,” she told me.  “That’s a stack (or sometimes a box or ten boxes) of bits and pieces of fabric — left-overs from the quilts we’ve been working on.  They’d be perfect!  And I’m sure we can find mask patterns on line…”

She called the Pacific County Health Department and told them her idea.  Could you use them?  Yes, indeed, they could.  So she pitched the idea to some of the quilters last week and they are off and running… well, sewing.  “Mostly we’re experimenting right now,” she told me.  “… working out the kinks.”

Patterns and Prototypes

For one thing, there is no elastic to be found right now.  Not in the fabric stores, not at Amazon, not online or from the usual sources.  “We’re trying to figure out exact;y what we might get from craft stores, but they are asking for diameters in millimeters…” she told me.  So, for now, they are using bias tape and fashioning loops to go over the ears or ties to go around the head.  “They are definitely a work in progress. It’s a bit of a learning curve.”

This is an individual effort on the part of the quilters — not a Guild sanctioned activity.  Not like the place mats they made to be distributed by Meals on Wheels.  And not like the quilts that some members make for cancer and heart patients at various hospitals.  For the moment the masks are in the experimental stage.   Some are being made with pockets inside so you can slip in a non-porous tissue or paper for more protection.  Some masks are reversible (like the Sue and Bill are modeling here).

Stylin’

Today 90 masks will be delivered to Gloria Park’s quilting studio  —  a batch of 75 and another of 15  — the first day’s work by two of the quilters.  Eventually — maybe this afternoon — they will go to the Naselle Fire Department.  Another group of quilters are making masks for the Ocean Park Fire Department.  “I hope that, eventually, we’ll have enough available for any one who wants one,” says Sue.

There will be no charge.  Only the hope that the masks will offer “some” protection but, more importantly, will provide a colorful reminder to use good health habits, good sense, and good manners during these days of distancing and sheltering.  “I’m working on one with a chicken pattern on the fabric,” Sue told me.  For Farmer Nyel, I wondered?  Or maybe me. Wow!

“Garden of Eating” by Sue Grennan, 2014

And it suddenly occurred to me that just about now is when the 25th Annual Quilt Show was scheduled at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  Not a word did anyone say about the cancelled show.  Not “if only” or “it’s too bad.”  Not the quilters.  They’re much too busy with the here and now.  Masks!

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