By Curt Swarm, Empty Nest
Mt. Pleasant beauty salon owner, Judy Williamson, took in stride the governor’s order to close taverns, restaurants, and beauty salons. She’s a positive person and, as a quilter, had plenty of projects to keep her busy. She called her clients and canceled upcoming appointments for her salon, Hair Creations. She also applied for unemployment compensation, because self-employed people are now eligible.
Then she heard about the shortage of face masks. She went to YouTube, found patterns, and went to work. Her quilting fabric was perfect for the job.
She contacted the emergency room in Mt. Pleasant, but they weren’t taking hand made face masks yet. However, her pastor at the Open Bible Church in Mt. Pleasant, Mike Johnson, has a daughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic needed face masks. Judy put a dozen masks in a package and sent them off.
Arbor Court Assisted Living in Mt. Pleasant also needed face masks. Judy delivered a package to them. She’s contacting nursing homes in Mt. Pleasant to see if they need masks. You may contact her if you need one.
Judy’s face masks are double sided and washable, with interfacing material in the middle for a filter. Being double sided, with a different pattern on front and back, the user can remember which side was in or out. You can choose elastic or shoestring ties for the headband.
In the middle of making all these face masks, Judy’s sewing machine broke down. Not to be deterred (she’s a quilter you know), Judy turned to her hand-crank, Singer Sewing Machine she uses for quilting demonstrations at Old Threshers. That’s all she uses now. (I’m not kidding.) In her words, “I like giving back. I’m not a medical worker. But I can do my part.” While she stitches she prays for those affected by COVID-19.
Debi Sliter Roederer of Mt. Pleasant, another quilter, is also making face masks from quilting material. She uses hypoallergenic furnace filter material for the filter, all of which is washable. “Quilters will find a way,” says Debi.
She’s been supplying masks to staff at various dental, care centers and doctors’ offices, nursing friends, and the Mt. Pleasant Library, where she is a substitute clerk. “Once people find out,” says Debi, “you become a resource.” She also made quilts for the children of people who were killed in the 911 attack.
Next to her sewing machine, and before she sews each mask, she contemplates a sign by Mother Teresa. This thought goes into each mask: “I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that He will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”
Victory over the coronavirus will be achieved not only by medical people, scientists and the government, but by everyone doing their part to contribute to the war effort. Rosie the Riveter becomes Mary the Mask Maker.
The CDC has recommended that everyone should wear a face mask. Homemade masks are fine for non-medical people who are out and about.