If you’re keeping up with the news, you’ll see new reporting about the utility of wearing masks. Most people I know are keeping exposure to an absolute minimum but still need masks to decontaminate food deliveries or go to the grocery store.
(I kept asking K, “How can 2 billion people be wrong?”) (well, okay, 1.4 billion, but you get my point. They now surmise that Hong Kong’s outbreak was contained somewhat by the prevalent use of masks).
While I wouldn’t recommend using masks that can otherwise serve the medical professionals, homemade cloth ones might help the rest of us, especially if they have a pocket for inserting additional protection.
When I saw the video of the European tailor (below) whip up a mask out of three pieces of cloth in about three minutes, I was beyond impressed. This morning I finally gave his version a try. I want to share the extra steps that I devised to compensate for the fact that I don’t share his mad skills.
First the dimensions:
RECTANGLE: 7.5″ x 14″
TIES: 27.5″ x 1.25″
1) Press short lengths of rectangle under 1/4″. Fold in half. Top stitch from one edge in 2″ then top stitch other end 2″ from edge to the edge. I marked the two inch distances with pins.
(The tailor did not press first or make marks).
2) Press and pin pleats and stitch down. Finished length 3.5″
(The tailor folded as he went while attaching ties).
3) Fold tie in half to determine halfway point and pin, right sides together on pleats. Stitch down.
4) Press tie toward mask’s back then press each side of the long tie towards its center with 1/4″ fold. That makes it easier to stitch.
4) Fold tie and stitch from mid-pleating to one tie end before reversing and stitching from mid-pleat to the tie’s other end. (If you are a precise and practiced seamstress, begin at one end of the 27″ tie and sew to the other end).
5) If desired add an X of top stitching for additional strength at corners of masks.
Voila! A cloth mask with a pocket made from three pieces of cloth.
Here are some ideas for inserts, roughly ranked from most to least effective:
Piece of furnace filter cut to size
Piece of vacuum bag cut to size
A maxi pad
A piece of batting
A piece of cloth, esp batik or silk
A used piece of dryer lint
A folded paper towel.
Even if these masks do nothing more than remind one not to touch one’s face between hand washings, they have value.
This morning I read some speculation that the virus might in fact transmit through the air (and not just by droplets) for very short periods of time. That might make cloth masks more important than initially believed.
Some hospitals will accept these to wear over N95 masks. Some hospice/nursing home caregivers have no masks at all and would appreciate these. One friend is making cloth masks for her local firefighters at their request. Every area is different.
In progress, all over the living room: the six panels for First Born’s bed-sized quilt.
Will I finish in time for an upcoming birthday? Probably not. But finishing is the goal.
I keep finding glass from the shattered tumbler — in the dishwasher, on the floor.
I canvassed for Warren yesterday. The NV results were discouraging but here are three ideas to remember (cling to?):
Bill Clinton lost IA, NH, and NV;
the 75,000 early ballots in NV were cast before the most recent debate; and
Warren raised $12MM after that debate.
My last bday celebration took place across town last night with two long-time friends — one a fellow February baby, the other the host and a terrific cook. We’re all getting older. Actually, we’re all terrific cooks, too!
We sat by the fire and talked about all kinds of things, including — ESG-filtered investments, dating apps, grandchildren, Harriet Tubman, the NV caucus, butter beans, and how to survive in a wholly altered America.
“We only have each other. Small, local communities.”
I wonder: what kind of paperwork does one need to live, say, in Montreal?
We swapped inspiring links. I offered up the Future Primitive podcast link about regenerative design and B gave me (another) terrific astrology link as well as this:
Reading Thich Nhat Hanh yesterday, I came across the lines: “I have arrived, I am home / in the here and now. / I am solid, I am free / In the ultimate I dwell.” Last night K and I walked the labyrinth over at Boston College and the first of the lines stayed with me, adapted a little: “I am here. I have arrived. I am home.”
I passed on the opportunity to gather with others at the State House and chose this more solitary act instead. It was too cold to watch every heel/toe/breath but I sometimes sent a prayer heavenward: “get him out peacefully”.
All that urgent yearning and: “I have arrived. I am home.” Such contrast!
December 19 — can we call it the “new longest night” of the year? “I am home. I have arrived.”
Today, my sister and I shopped for our holiday dinner at a little Salem market called Steve’s which she insists on calling Frank’s, a fact that would amuse you if you knew my husband’s family. Anyway, bringing my bags out first so that I could return and get her bags second, I repeated: “I am home. I have arrived. I am here.” Crossing the tarmac with plastic rattling — such an ordinary moment and one that I might normally on some level rush to get through! Instead, those grounding and life affirming words: “I am home.”
On the second trip out, imagine my delight when, just after repeating, “I am here,” I looked up to see a banner half a block away reading: Where You At?
“I am here. I am home. I have arrived.”
We had liverwurst with wasabi and mayo on pumpernickel for lunch and I left in time to miss the 3:00 school and shift-change traffic. It was a “yes” day.
And just now, I finished a Pussyhat for a friend marching on Washington next month. They’re supposed to be knit and I plan to also knit a few when my pink yarn arrives, but in the meantime, this one was constructed out of a cashmere sweater, polar fleece, and wool felt. (Pussyhat Project).
Don’t ask me why or how, but it feels like “moving on”.