What are you doing to survive COVID-19?

It’s a Little Thing, It’s a Big Thing

What are you doing to survive the COVID-19 pandemic?  I find I am unable to focus on my small craft business, and instead I’m sewing masks.  And giving them away.  Lots of them.

I started in May of 2019, with a simple pattern I downloaded from the internet (How To Sew A Fabric Face Mask, ©SarahMaker.com, with thanks!) and that was the start.  I made up a couple of masks with scraps of quilting cottons I found quickly and loved the result.  I dug deeper and found a stash of quilting cottons from my small craft business and cut out my first batch of 50.

And then I just started giving them away, to friends and family. I made 50 at a time, always in a variety of fabrics, and continued to give them away.  My partner’s workplace is an essential service, so I dropped off a batch there, for staff and customers.  And I gave masks to volunteers and clients at the nearby Foodbanks.  To grocery clerks and customers in line when I went shopping.  I found I couldn’t take money for them – the joy was in the giving and the smiles on the faces when people got to choose from among the beautiful quilting cottons in each batch.  As my son’s girlfriend, Grace says, “it’s a little piece of art”.  I think, because of Grace’s enthusiasm and the mistake I made in bringing her along when shopping for fabric one time, she probably has the greatest mask collection of anyone I have given them to!

And after the first shut down was over, I carried them everywhere.  I took a batch along to my dentist – although the staff all have to wear the medical-grade masks at work, outside of work they could wear cloth masks.  The delight that greeted me when I took in a new batch of masks on a return visit to the dentist was the perfect antidote to the completely frustrating task of running errands for my Mum (grocery store, pet store, drug store) that day in the cold and the snow.  In and out of the car:  mask on, gloves on, lock car, head to store, sanitize hands, shop, return to car, unlock car, mask off, gloves off, sanitize hands…you know the routine!  The smiles on the faces of the dentist and the hygienists and the receptionist as they selected masks for themselves and their family – that image sustains me.  And if people want to contribute, I ask them to pay it forward, to donate to their favourite charity or help someone else in some way.

The fabrics are colourful and fun, and when I discovered fabrics with marijuana leaves on them, I bought some of that too.  There’s a whole little subset of the population, many of them younger (but not all!) that get particular delight from that fabric, and I feel I am doing my bit to inspire mask wearing among all ages.

I think we’re all just doing what we can and doing the best we can.  I have to remind myself of that.  Making a mask, wearing a mask, is such a little thing.  But it is also a big thing.

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