Getting started...

I've decided to write a weekly blog. I'm not quite sure why, since I don't think I lead a particularly interesting life or write nearly as well as the bloggers I follow, but here I am.

About six years ago I started a tartan weaving project on behalf of an actress' fan group. Since the pricey silk yarn had been paid for by small contributions from many of those fans, I posted frequent updates on my progress while warping the loom and weaving the shawl. To my great surprise, readers were fascinated by the process. I plan to do something very similar here.

I have a small studio in a spare bedroom. It includes a loom, three sewing machines, a warping reel, a warping wheel, and many other items of equipment for weaving, sewing, quilting, knitting, and anything else I've tried in the last forty years. It also has a substantial amount of yarn and fabric. Everything pretty much fits now, but at some point in the next 3-8 years my husband is going to retire and we are going to downsize into a new home. I need to clear out much of the stash.

Enter the pandemic, and the sudden need for face masks. I noticed right away that tightly-woven quilting cottons were recommended for them, something I had a great deal of. And by "great deal", I mean eight full boxes, each about 12" x 15" x 6", packed with folded fat quarters. I sorted them into eight color families - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, beige/brown, and gray/black - and started sewing.

It wasn't quite that easy, of course. I did a lot of research on mask patterns and ended up modifying a standard rectangular, pleated mask with a shaped nose arch and adding a bias tape channel for a nose wire. I also added a filter pocket with an envelope-style overlapping opening. More research found a press release by the American Chemical Society about the efficacy of putting natural silk in a sandwich with cotton, so I ordered a few yards of habotai silk (sometimes known as China silk) and created oval filters. That press release is linked on my Face Mask web page.

Next week I'll talk about the 46 steps in my mask-making process!

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