Quilting guild rises to the occassion, makes face masks for veterans hospital
Gathered in the parking lot of the King City Community Center on Friday, Kathy Chase took careful inventory of the homemade non-medical face masks members of the Tualatin Valley Quilting Guild had just donated.
Her afternoon destination?
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center, bringing them a fresh batch of 315 homemade masks resupplied by members of the guild to supplement the ones she brought the previous week.
"They were so surprised last time when I brought 130," said Chase, who was coordinating the guild's latest effort to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic. "They are going to be overwhelmed."
A Tualatin resident, Chase said the masks were made of 100% cotton with elastic or string ties.
"We started out with my family and then I outfitted my neighborhood and some of my children's friends," said Chase. "Then I thought, we'll go to the VA because my husband was -- his medical support was -- from the VA and they did nothing but good for me."
Chase thinks the VA hospital is using the masks for non-medical staff. The ones she made were sewn using a "Fu" mask pattern, which allows them to fit snuggly under a person's chin.
When the quilters guild decided to make the face masks, no one rushed around town in search of needed materials.
"It's all from our stash: we call it our fabric stash," said Chase. "And they are all pre-shrunk, pre-washed … and are washable."
Wearing a brightly colored mask she created, Carol Springer, a King City resident who brought 60 masks to the parking lot, got the word out quickly to many of the 70 quilters in the Tualatin Valley Quilting Guild about the need to create face masks, all in short supply as the nation battles the pandemic. However, it wasn't only the face masks Springer was excited to talk about.
Her son, Eric Wilkison of Tigard has been creating small plastic attachments that take the pressure off mask-wearers' ears by using a 3D printer.
"He has donated 50 to an assisted living center and (we're) waiting for more," said Springer, who was wearing a multicolored mask that drew the attention of her fellow quilters.
And how long does it take to create a mask?"Quilters never keep track of their time," Judy Kilgore of Lake Oswego quipped. "It's fun."
Kilgore said she loves working with the guild and spends much of her time as a hand-quilter at the Tigard Senior Center.
(For the record, Springer estimates it takes 10 to 15 minutes to make a mask and as long as 20 to 30 minutes if it involves sewing the elastic earpieces.)
At the same time, quilter Michelle Faber who recently delivered 30 face masks to Avamere Rehabilitation of King City and was planning to take another 30 over, said the facility staff was appreciative.
"Oh, they're delighted," said Faber, who also had plans to 20 masks to the King City Senior Village.
Diane Campbell, also a Tualatin resident, said she thought donating the masks to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center was a good idea as well. Campbell said the guild also makes quilts for Tigard's Good Neighbor Center.
"And we also donate things to whatever our members want to donate miscellaneous things to," said Campbell.
Shirley Schultz made 35 masks to bring to the veteran's hospital and had already made 40 for Providence Portland Medical Center that she donated last week. Schultz, a resident of Tigard's Highlands neighborhood, said the more masks she makes, the better she gets at it.
Meanwhile, Chase said she's happy at the response she's received from the quilting community.
"I appreciate this group, that they responded so well," Chase said about the guild, which meets the third Tuesday of each month inside the King City Community Room. "I'm really pleased."
Chase said the group will probably continue making masks and collecting them in the King City Community Center parking lot from 12:30 to 1 p.m. for the next several Fridays. Area residents who want to make and donate face masks can join in as well.
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