These are medical masks made by Libby Anderson

A Homemade Fight Against COVID-19

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FRIENDSVILLE, Md – Libby Anderson, the owner and sole employee of The Quilt Garrett, has been in her basement-turned-quilt shop every day of the stay-at-home order. However, she has yet to make one quilt during that time. Instead, she has been busy making medical masks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mask shortages all over the country. And this week the CDC changed its stance on face masks suggesting Americans wear cloth “face coverings” to both prevent the spread of coronavirus and to save medical masks for healthcare workers. As a result, many companies are halting the production of their normal wares so they can start the production of medical supplies. However, it is not only major corporations that are lending a helping hand. Small businesses, like the one in the basement of my childhood home, have also taken up the charge.

“I just wanted to do something to help out in a time like this and I know masks are one of the things that are in high demand,” she said.

Libby Anderson, known better to me as mom, has always been one to want to help. So, when other quilters let her know she could make masks in her own home, she started helping.

“Several of my quilt groups that I am a part of, the ladies are all doing it,” she said. “Some ladies have even posted patterns and different ways to make them and different materials to use,” she said.

Some of these quilters have posted patterns and videos on the internet to help others make them – and you do not have to be an experienced sewer. My mother said even a novice sewer could easily make them. Since we are in quarantine the whole family has been making them – my eight-year-old son.

Mom’s daughter-in-law, Bethany Burley, cutting fabric to make a mask.

Mom, and other quilters, have had to get creative with materials as well. There is an elastic shortage thanks to the mask shortage. Elastic is normally used to make the earpieces that keep the mask on your head. However, this shortage would not stop my mom. She has begun cutting t-shirt sleeves into thin strips and pulling them to make them thin. She sews these onto the masks so you can tie them behind your head.

Sshe has now gotten requests from all kinds of workers. There are the ones we all normally think of like nurses, EMTs, and other healthcare professionals. There have also been jobs you would not necessarily think of that need masks. Mom has donated masks to a correctional officer and a flight attendant. And she never accepts money for her masks. She said she just wants to help.