My Mask Story

Back in early February my friend Sue suggested we make masks and sell them at a craft fair. She showed me this photo on her Pinterest page. I thought it was a fun idea at the time. Remember, back then we were just talking about how there was this pandemic thing overseas. So the mask idea seemed cute, like a novelty.
That same evening I went home and made my first mask. I chose the fabric because it was the only one in my stash that I was sure I had prewashed.  I really wanted it prewashed if I was going to try it on. It was so very soft and comfortable.  I took the mask to the quilt shop where I worked and my co-workers poo-pooed the idea saying it was silly and no worthwhile since the virus isn't airborne and the mask isn't going to help anybody. The practically called it ridiculous. Then I showed it to my boss and told her how it didn't go over to well with anyone in the shop but I still thought it was a fun idea. 

Over the next few weeks I purchased some more elastic, washed up some fun fabrics and made some more. I made some for my family and still thought I could sell them at the craft fair. 

Around the first week of March my boss asked me for the pattern I used to make the masks. I directed her to the tutorial found here.  The tutorial is a little confusing so she made up her own instruction sheet using my original mask as the sample. She posted it on the store website. It blew up into a big issue since by then we knew that N95 masks were the only helpful ones and that only medical personnel should be wearing them. It seemed to be a big deal that these were not good enough for anything (so much criticism) so by the end of the week she took the instructions down. I too was very turned off by all the negative commentary so I quit the entire idea and shoved the masks I made aside. 

All of a sudden there was a shortage of masks. Medical and emergency personnel were scrambling for anything that would help. Hospitals were putting out instructions regarding the kind of masks they would like volunteers to make. My friend who works at the VA hospital in Milwaukee asked for the masks I had made. I told her I had a few for her but wasn't interested in making more since I still didn't see them as good enough. I was so turned off. Since she sews too, she took my mask, slit the bottom seam open to add a filter. She called them wonderful.

Then everything stopped. Our governor told us all we had to stay home unless our jobs were essential. 

And so it began. I started making masks. Then a weird thing happened.  People started to request them. I made them for anyone who asked for one. I kept making them until I ran out of elastic. 

My husband took this photo of me at 11 pm: 

Here we are at the beginning of April and now any kind of mask is now acceptable. Medical people desperately need them, police and fire departments will take them, nursing homes and hospitals are using them too. And now elastic is very hard to find. It's like trying to find toilet paper. I have ordered it online 3 times. 
My girlfriend who has a bakery that's only open on weekends asked for some so I made her these with a cute cupcake print.

I've given most of them away and I am still filling requests. Currently, I have these left to finish. And of course, I am waiting for more elastic. Maybe I can find someone who would like to trade some toilet paper. I have plenty of that!

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