Helping health workers a stitch at a time

Members of the Norfolk County Quilters’ Guild, and the Twilight Quilters’ Guild of Norfolk County are sewing face masks to be used by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. Nancy Racz is one of the 73 people already working on creating the masks. (CONTRIBUTED)

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The crafty folks of Norfolk County are coming together to create face masks to donate to the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

Members of the Norfolk County Quilters’ Guild and the Twilight Quilters’ Guild of Norfolk County are sewing face masks for medical professionals who are having a hard time getting access to necessary equipment.

Nancy Racz, owner of Kernal Peanuts in Vittoria and an avid quilter, said they use masks, gloves, and sanitizer at work all the time and she knew she would need to get creative to make sure they had enough of everything.

She looked up patterns for face masks online and started working on one.

“I texted Diane (Luke) and showed her what I was making,” said Racz. “She texted back and said she was making practically the same thing.”

Luke’s daughter had tagged her in a Facebook post regarding a group in Illinois sewing masks, so she was the one to reach out to the health unit to see if this was something they would be able to use. They showed interest so the guilds got to work.

The masks are being created with high-density, antimicrobial material supplied by the health unit. Prototypes that were made to decide on the final pattern were laundered and sterilized to ensure the material was reusable.

Jan Grincevicius, a member of both of the guilds, sent emails to all of the members to see who would be interested in participating in the mask project.

“We had an amazing response, more than we expected,” said Grincevicius. “I guess that’s a sign of people wanting to do something that’s useful in these times while they’re self-isolated.

“And also, quilters are almost always people who are willing to help others, that’s just the kind of people that we are.”

Within three minutes of sending out the email, Grincevicius had responses from people willing to help. She has received emails from 73 people so far.

“Once you get it down pat you could probably do about four or five in an evening,” said Racz. “It really doesn’t take that long, maybe an hour per mask.”

Another member, Karen Johnstone, said she’s able to make about 10 masks in a day.

Members of the groups that are spearheading the project include Grincevicius, Racz, Johnstone, Luke, Stephanie Sinden, and Melanie Douglas.

Any sewing enthusiasts that would like to help can contact Grincevicius at pwdtwo_2@eastlink.ca to receive the material to start. The group hopes to make 500 masks.

The pattern will be posted to www.twilightquiltguild.ca.

astaylor@postmedia.com

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