Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Today we have making of masks....

OK, I started yesterday, but finished to-day. In fact about a week ago, I decided to make several face masks with material left over from a cushion I had made several years ago. I would normally not panic and wear a mask and/or gloves, but there have been too many articles in the paper lately showing that this pandemic has been slowed somewhat in countries where people were ordered to wear ordinary face masks. I decided to comply - but it wasn't easy. Here's what happened:

1. I went on YouTube and found a few sites with instructions on making your basic cloth mask. I had to watch, or partially watch, several videos because I either couldn't stand the voice of the instructor, the instructions were too complicated, the lighting was poor, the background noise distracting etc..etc... Finally I found a lovely person, who explained the making of a very simple mask, in a friendly down to earth way. She had normal nails, a normal, relaxed voice and tended to estimate rather than measure exactly. I loved her!! Here she is

2. However, she used a piece of flannel, as an insert. I had no flannel. Instead, I decided to use a piece of felt, of which I have about 1,000. I cut out twelve 7" x 9" pieces of fabric from my newly washed, not yet ironed length of cotton and a smaller insert of the felt. Everything worked well until the pleating part. The felt was too heavy to pleat. Sigh!

3. I then tried making just a round disc - no pleats. It didn't work either - too many gaps. My husband suggested a short flat piece with no pleats. It still didn't work. Plus it was too difficult to breathe through the felt. I would have suffocated, before I died of the virus :)

4. Finally I ditched the idea of the felt, since my son convinced me that my simple cotton mask would pass the flame test. That is, if you can't blow out a match by blowing through your mask, then it's fairly disease resistant or something like that.

5. I now had enough fabric for four masks, which I lined with some white cotton for extra measure.

6. However, I didn't have any elastic and going to the dollar store, possibly picking up the virus in an attempt to make something to protect myself from the virus seemed too ironic. I decided to crochet eight 7" chains, which had some give and use them as ear loops. So far they are working.

7. Although, I might not have had elastic, I did have pipe cleaners, so I put a folded pipe cleaner in the top seam of the mask for shaping and it works.

I must apologize for the pattern on the fabric, it looks a little like droplets or virus molecules. Irony is never too far away.

Also, apparently, I am not finished yet. My son suggested adding an initial to each mask, for each person in the house. The Devil's work is never done.

The title of the post is a nod to a favourite poem of mine - Today We Have Naming of Parts. It's a war poem - go figure!

Naming of Parts
Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all the neighboring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call is easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For today we have the naming of parts. 
Have an accomplished day!!

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