The Times We Live In

Zoom Chat April 1, 2020I was going to post a follow-up to the last post about masks, and I have (scroll down), but I wanted to write about my very first group Zoom meeting ever.  It was with the Gridsters, a group of women I’ve come to know over time.  Rachel and I have been doing parallel quilting together now for seven years, working in various small organized groups, and this was the first time we’ve talked face-to-face.  I met Linda this morning for the first time, as well as Nancy, who organized our Zoom conference.

We found out that Kelley, with her friends, has made over 2,000 face masks, while the rest have made smaller amounts, or masks for friends’ or personal use.  We each talked about our projects, how we are coping (Gov. Cuomo’s daily briefings were all mentioned as a must-see), and avoiding TV/print news in the evening.  It was fun to see the variety of projects, to hear everyone’s voice.  Each of these women, like you, have different stories, different situations, live in different parts of the country, but all of us quilt. We are so isolated now, doing our “i-sew-late” and really enjoying it, but it was amazing to get together to see each other, to make us feel a little less alone.   This meant more to me than I can say.

tiny nine patches

Now, the post I originally wrote, with good information about the Times We Live In:

Background: If you read one article about why we need to stay home, let it be Thomas Pueyo’s Coronavirus: The Hammer, and the Dance.  And if you listen to one podcast, I recommend this episode of The Daily, when a NYTimes editor gives a moving description of living with someone with a coronavirus infection — her husband.

Or maybe neither read, nor listen, to this, because they will scare you into staying home and taking it seriously.  They have made me more aware, having listened to/read these late one night when I couldn’t sleep, worrying about my children, my parents, and that terrible series of pronouncements when the GDP was of bigger concern than human lives.  But ever the hopeful, I believe in us.  We will figure it all out after this year is over (and yes, I now am leaning towards a year…hoping they’ll get a vaccine by that time).

Okay, on to more updates:


  • Some hospitals are not collecting masks, some are.  Should we be sewing them?  While it’s evident that if you have a couple of boxes of N95s laying around, the medical centers would rather have those, but still, I can’t rule out homemade masks.
  • Deaconess Hospital list of Where to Donate Face Masks  Use the filter for your state, and scroll down.  It’s not always apparent to me that they are wanting home made masks, as some list N95s as their request.
  • Liz wrote in with these tips: “Using a modified Deaconess pattern, starting with two 7×10.5″ instead of 6×9, and stitching seam binding across the top and bottom of the mask (40″ piece for top, 36″ for bottom). Also very important to make an OBVIOUS FRONT and BACK side to the mask, by using two different fabrics or the reverse side of the main print on the back/inside portion.”  I think her caution to make an obvious front and back side, if you are using the Deaconess pattern, is a great idea.  If you are using the Orange Dot Quilts pattern, the shape of it denotes a front and back already.
  • It’s Time to Make Your Own Face Mask.
T-shirt Mask COVID-19
Click here to watch.

The new idea is that all of us need a mask to wear, unless we are at home.  So you put it on when you go out, and you take it off and wash it when you come home.  So maybe make a couple of masks.  The last link above has two mask patterns: one made from an old T-shirt (to see it to believe it) and one that makes the version with the curve shape for the nose).  I’m still an Orange Dot Quilts mask fan, and she now has the aluminum strips that go across the nose for sale.  There are some good comments on fitting the mask on the last post, if you want to read them.

This morning I found The Fabric Patch’s website about masks to be an invaluable resource, complete with videos and straight talk about the difference between the two kinds of masks and which non-woven interfacing to use inside your masks to make them better.  I’d recommend her third video, also gives information about what kind of wire to use to go over the nose bridge, and tie placement (don’t sew it at the edges).

Covid-19 Rivco projections.png

Here’s our county’s latest projections into May as of Tuesday evening (still no flattening of the curve, but I’m hopeful).  I like the new phrase: “Stay in Place • Maintain Your Space • Cover Your Face.”  

How to stay sane in these times of ours?  Gardening, reading, knitting, cleaning out, baking or whatever you choose, but realize that I am not raising children or trying to school them.  So one of my goals is also to support parents of young children, especially when you can’t go and help them out physically.

While I admit to being shaken off course by all the terrible news, angry some days, weeping on others, sitting glued to the screen on still other days, I’ve had more conversations with quilty friends than before.  In this time of uneveness and wobbly lives where pithy quotes can bring me to tears and #covid19memes can make me laugh, what steadies me is keeping my hands busy.

And of course, all of you.  Thank you for your notes, for your encouragement, for sharing your lives.

Keep quilting!

Stay Safe Meme.jpeg



13 thoughts on “The Times We Live In

  1. Love the zoom meet-up. Don’t think it would work with my old school computer as I couldn’t watch the latest MQG webinar. Just delivered a few masks to the charity that allows us to use their space for our guild meetings/sew days. I really struggled to decide on a tutorial and in the end tried 3 different ones. Not convinced on any of them at this point but still may make some for ourselves. Now I just want to get back to my sewing and bury my head in the fabric and from the news. I’m much better without national news and constant reminders.

  2. I have Zoom ready to go, I just need to work out how it works. It is one App suggested for the classroom too.
    To mask or to not mask? Our government has not pushed it but they seem to be gathering some support in certain areas. There’s not been a flurry of making though. Ventilators are high on our list of needs. Some out of commission car making factories are now making them. I’ve resorted to listening to podcasts and audiobooks while I sew, anything to keep the news out.

  3. How great that someone else led you into a Zoom meeting! I hope to participate in one too, but it may be me who has to search-out how to do it. Thank you for mask info too. So many patterns are flying around that it’s nice to have reliable information. I agree that these days are difficult. Each one holds many emotional ups and downs, and it’s painful to think about how our children and grandchildren are coping. I agree with you that it will be through the end of the year until we’re really through this. With the first vaccination not expected until September, I believe that even if an “all clear” is sounded, many of us will be unwilling to take a risk.

  4. Thanks for the mask links–always nice to have a curated list. 🙂 I’ve been following the discussions about wearing to protect from. I’m getting convinced. But before that I began thinking that if we are to consider ourselves potential asymptomatic carriers (how can we tell that we are not?) then even if not convinced to wear to protect self, wear to potentially protect others.

  5. Hi everyone. I’ve just ordered 450 more yards of 1/2″ double fold seam binding from an Etsy seller. The 350 yards that arrived two days ago are going fast. I’m shopping my fabric stash and making mask kits for a handful of friends who are sewing them up. First delivery of 40 went to an organization supporting folks under quarantine, to protect the cleaning staff. Tomorrow first part of a request for 250-400 masks will be delivered. It’s for a wonderful local non-profit which provides showers and clean clothes to our unhoused population. I just got wind of that need/request around 5 pm tonight. These fabric masks are all going to be used OVER N95s. I need to make a few for myself and my husband in case we must go out, as well as for some friends in the neighborhood. I haven’t ventured into a store or any sort of business for over 3 weeks and don’t intend to. Our quilt guild is getting requests pouring in from nursing homes, local hospital staff, etc. I’m curious if any of you are involved in guilds and if so, if they are organizing mask making in any way.

    1. Liz, I have moved out of state, but still belong to two California guilds who are organizing mask making in different ways. The South Bay Guild in Torrance is posting on its website links to a variety of patterns, and also links and contact information for groups requesting masks. The San Joaquin Valley Guild in Fresno emailed two PDFs with preferred patterns, and has two members coordinating requests from facilities; the guild will pick up masks from porches. They requested members make masks with no ties or elastic or wires, which will be added later. (Perhaps because facilities have different needs?)

      I’m now clear across the country in NC, and have made masks for myself, family and neighbors. Today, I’m mailing two masks to an old friend in Corvallis, OR.

  6. You are really in the thick of it in CA. It is so strange (and sometimes terrifying) to wake up everyday realizing we are in a worldwide emergency. We keep waiting for the Japanese government to announce stricter social distancing. So far nothing but I am noticing the park and shops have a lot fewer people for sure. Masks…. thank you for the info. It’s amazing to read about how people are mobilizing to help!!

  7. Everything I’m hearing now points to wearing a mask in public. We have some medical masks (not N95) in an opened package that we will use, but I plan on making some cotton masks over the weekend. I’m grateful to have a sewing machine and the resources I need.

  8. I can’t thank you enough for this post! You captured my emotions exactly, and its been helpful to know I’m not alone in feeling so off kilter even tho I’m home and safe and have everything I need. I’ve watched the tutorials from Patch Fabric several times, made one of the fitted masks for myself with non woven interfacing, and after putting it on Facebook, I’m now very busy making masks for family, friends and friends of friends. My stash of interfacing won’t last much longer. Not sure what I’ll do when that happens. Praying that eventually stores will restock and I can purchase some more.
    Thanks again for sharing your feelings and these great resources. Stay safe!

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