This is a great opportunity for you. And it is also a story.
When information about COVID 19 penetrated the northwest corner of Montana, it only made sense to start sewing face masks. After all, we had fabric for quilts, lots of thread and sewing skills (some of us more than others). So serious face masks making began. At first we used fabric from the Historical Village because we have a stash there for future quilts. But as word spread in the community about our endeavor, individuals began donating fabric. We weren’t concerned about colors or patterns as long as it was 100% cotton, a tight weave and clean.
Boxes of fabric came in and were sorted so women in the community who were sewing face masks could easily pick up a bagful. A front porch in town became the exchange station: fabric dropped off in boxes, fabric picked up in bags, freshly sewn masks delivered back to the porch, and then masks picked up by the good citizens in our valley to wear.
I must admit we didn’t pay attention to patterns when sorting fabric. Mostly it was enough effort to get bags of fabric to those who needed them, and the finished masks distributed in the community. Until two days ago when posting on Facebook with a photo that free masks were available, activity began to seriously pick up and caught our attention. In that photo was a face mask made from Seattle Seahawks fabric. All at once – people were not just asking for masks, they were asking for those masks. And within a very short time, all the Seahawks masks were spoken for. Betsy had made those masks and she heard about the demand. Unfortunately, most of the Seahawks fabric was already used up. Most! but Betsy had some snippets left which she pieced together so now in this valley we have two (2) Seahawks masks that are available.
All the face masks we made since March have been freely given to whomever asks, as we are glad to see people wearing them at the post office and the grocery store. But we decided we would put these two up for a donation to the Historical Village. If you are a Seattle Seahawks fan and are interested in sporting these masks, get in touch with Rita (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will drop them off if you live in the Tobacco Valley or mail them to you if you live farther away, in exchange for a donation to the Tobacco Valley Board of History. First offer received will get the masks (too busy sewing to hold an auction). Thank you.
Well, let’s start with what’s not happening at the moment and then move on to current activities. Our winter fundraiser scheduled in March with the awesome Canadian band, The Wardens, was cancelled as the diligent thing to do considering all the factors. Although we were very sorry to miss the opportunity to have these musicians perform here in the Tobacco Valley, it only made sense for them to be home and for us not to be gathering. Friday quilting has been postponed for the foreseeable future and this is certainly a tough one to accept. It made all of us realize that although one reason we sew together is to raise money for the Historical Village, a bigger part is sitting with this remarkable group of women, sharing stories, sharing laughs, offering each other love and support.
Despite the challenges of missing our Fridays together, there are things we are doing even while observing social distancing. Cathy organized sewing face masks for the local medical clinic and a number of quilters helped on this. Carmen shared her delicious tamales which makes any day seem much brighter. Sally is busy getting seedlings and such ready for May gardens. Lydna has a new puppy. Cathryn took the quilt we had been working on home (the one we fondly call ‘piano keys’) so it wouldn’t feel bereft alone in the old school house. Despite the gray, snowy weather that we’ve been getting, flowers are starting to push up their first tender leaves. And the lilac bushes at the Historical Village actually have buds.
No doubt we will be very appreciative when we get back together again. Perhaps there will be so much talking that very little quilting will get done at first.