Today’s post comes from Jacque.
Two weekends of my life have been lost to construction of homemade masks. This is not usually how I would spend a weekend, but then these are not normal times. And what else was there to do anyway given our Shelter-in-Place order. And constructing masks certainly is preferable to allowing debilitating fear and anxiety about our COVID-19 problem to take over my life. I would rather allow something useful to take over my life. The need for these was urgent, though. Several people asked me to send masks ASAP. Unfortunately, many of them are going to medical providers:
- Sister-in-law, a doctor. She says they have shields and it was suggested they use homemade masks under them. They had to find their own homemade masks.
- Brother-in-law, a nurse. He has masks at his hospital but they are forbidden from using the one mask they have been assigned anywhere but in direct care.
- Daughter of a friend, another nurse. Her hospital has assigned each nurse one N95 mask with the instructions to use a homemade mask over it to preserve the usefulness of it. She also had to find her own mask.
- My mother’s assisted living facility which has no masks at all—they are entirely dependent on donated masks amid the most vulnerable population of all.
To date, I have made 65 of these, and mailed out or given away 60. Someone at Blue Cross Blue Shield and Allina designed the masks I have made, then sent them out appealing to anyone who can sew. An NBC article I found yesterday cited a research study by a Dr. stating that these screen out 79% of viruses and bacteria. Not bad for quilting materials. The instructions (thrown together and hand drawn) are here:
Then came the issue of obtaining materials. First everyone everywhere ran out of elastic, then elastic hair ties which were used to improvise elastic. I hear people are cutting the elastic off of underwear to make them. I found shoelaces, ordered 4 spools from a shoelace site, and have been attaching those. They tie very tightly and stay put. The medical people need that. Next, during a trip to Joann Fabric, the store was shut down because people would not stay 6 feet apart in the store. Thus my on-line order was cancelled. I went to the Edina Joann, and joined a line in front of the store. They only allowed 25 customers in the store at once to maintain a distance. The fly in that ointment was that all 25 customers headed for the quilt fabric department – to make masks. We did our best to maintain 6 feet of distance from one another. I did get more fabric, then launched into making more.
I am taking a break now from mask construction, having overdosed on the entire project. I just could not do one more after yesterday. I sent them off Monday morning to family in Phoenix, to KC, to Iowa wishing them 79% ability to block a virus and that they perform efficiently. In a few days I will start some more, but I won’t make that many at a time again. Today, for a change of pace, I planted my cold frame, wallowing in the joy of early Spring and the possibilities of my garden. Then I fixed supper, using the baked potato recipe Steve posted yesterday via YouTube. They were good.
What have you overdosed on lately?