The Hatter’s Decameron, Day 25: Completed my 100th linen mask last night. Production stopped at the next mask when my sewing machine needle had an unfortunate encounter with a finger …
Hatmaking in the time of COVID19 is not what I expected it to be. I have been self-sequestered since March 10, 2020 and expected to use the time to focus on making hats. But after shipping the Purple Phoenix hat (detailed in my previous post), that focus completely dissipated. Instead of creating, I spent my time monitoring the never-ending news, and sleeping and eating between periods of anxiety and anger. Of those news reports, the shortages of PPEs (personal protective equipment) for health care workers – especially masks – made me especially angry.
Anger is a useless state of being, unless you can transform it into motivation.
So on March 24, I set my hat business aside, and joined the army of home sewers and small businesses who are now channelling their resources into making cloth masks.
As with my hats, my masks are made from recycled textiles. For several years, Historic Enterprises had sent their cutting room scraps to me instead of their local landfill. I’m now working my way through my “linen closet,” pulling the softest remnants from those boxes of scrap, sorted by color, and cutting out masks, 1-2 panels at a time.
I quickly worked my way through my entire stash of ribbons, soutache cords and elastic, and am now making ties from 2-3 yards of linen that was printed in a grid, but off-grain. It was useless for hats, but perfect for handmade bias tape.
The customer who had purchased my last hat, turned out to be the director of a non-profit in the Stanwood/Camano area of Washington State, and asked if I could make 450 cloth masks as part of their current efforts. I have shipped 80 masks to that organization so far. The rest of my masks have gone to friends and family, and the staff at my local UPS Store, who received my 100th mask. I am now well into my second set of 100 masks…
My work on this project is pro-bono, as I refuse to profit from a pandemic and I have other sources of income. If you are looking for masks for you or your family, there are several makers who can be found via a Google search. If they are charging a fee, it’s because they have families to support. If a maker gives you masks for free, please consider paying it forward by making a donation to a food bank.