As soon as I was unpacked from my trip to South Carolina, I set about organizing the sewing studio. Over the past year I’d lost focus there in an effort to create a guest room from Adrian’s bedroom. (He’s been in Colorado since finishing college there in 2015, and well, he’s not likely to come back to it).

The decision to take this year to work on a creative business (sewing, knitting, printmaking) necessitated an organized work studio!

But, after being away for several weeks, I could see the need for Emma to have the ‘guest room’ instead, and to make her smaller room a multi-functional space for guests, and for others here.

So, things were going along very well and then I decided it was premature to organize the studio until Emma and the old room were squared away … aaannd … then we were in the midst of a global pandemic.

That’s when I began making masks to assist with the needs that suddenly began popping up (as I read on twitter and in the news). I had heard about the incredible PPE shortages and downloaded the mask pattern I’d heard reported about on Chicago’s Deaconess Hospital site.

I had a stash of fabric, elastic, and thread, so it seemed I was good to go.

Right about then I read about a local effort to organize volunteers to get masks to some of the smaller hospitals and health care facilities near me.

I kept sewing a dozen a day that first week, then I mailed off 60 cloth masks to three local hospitals in response to my emails to them.

The first few masks
These were sent to Emerson Hospital,
these to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital,
and Cambridge Health Alliance,
serving Cambridge, Somerville, and Everett, got these.

I quickly received responses from the hospitals. One of the Directors from one of the hospitals wrote, “The need is endless. Thanks for reaching out.”

The second week, I produced another five dozen for them.

By then, family and friends began reaching out with requests for masks. I said yes to everyone, without charge. If they sent me a donation in any amount, I in turn could make a donation to some groups here in Massachusetts who are helping those who are missing out on virtually all government assistance: the hundred of thousands of the state’s undocumented workers and food pantries, to name two.

Breathable, fashionable, reusable! Doing my part in response to the shortages; feels really good to be doing something constructive right now.

Header image: a batch of my masks for family, friends, and hospitals.

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