Good news/Bad news… And some good information!

posted May 2, 2020, 3:17 AM by Lorna Shapiro

Hello everyone! 
My calendar tells me we’ve just completed the 7th week of Covid-style separation and I can’t say that I can quite tell you where the time has gone. I’ve settled into a nicely unstructured lifestyle, working on my newly developed sourdough bread making skills, Zoom- and 6 ft-visiting with close friends, doing some tidying and organizing in my studio, sewing a couple of scrub caps for a daughter and working on a new quilt design. In between those things I’ve met LOTS of new stitchers who are coming for supplies for making masks and I’ve helped my regular customers with curb-side selections and purchases of quilting fabrics! Turns out 7 weeks can go by quickly.
So what’s the good news/bad news? With the cancellation of this spring’s show season, my carefully constructed retirement plan has hit a snag. All that fabric that was to have been sold at shows is still with me… you know, life is what happens while you had other plans! Which means my business will be here for at least the remainder of this year while I sort out an alternate exit strategy. 
Mask making information
All quilters know that batik will produce the greatest barrier to entry of any cotton due to the tightness of the weave, but what I didn’t know was whether it was possible to make a mask that actually does much good. So I was very pleased to discover this recently published article on the filtration rates of masks made with different types of materials.
One point they make is that the best masks have two types of filtration — mechanical and electrostatic. The second very important point is that it is possible to make a home made mask that actually equals the N95 filtration levels. Which brings us to the third very important point: all is for naught if there are spaces between the face and the edge of the mask… so fit is crucial if you actually want a mask that does something rather than just look like a mask. Spaces between the mask and face cause the mask to lose 60% of its filtration capability.
Several materials are recommended for electrostatic filtration, including silk and polyester. It occurred to me that scraps of silk batting would be perfect because it has both silk fibres and a fine polyester scrim (mesh) into which the silk fibres are punched. I’m going to try that in a mask and see if it is too cumbersome or if it is comfortable. Over to you now to try the materials suggested and, if you don’t mind, please let me know what ideas you come up with for the electrostatic material in your masks.
A quilt show video
Alison Rice, a member of the Vancouver Quilt Guild, posted a link to this wonderful video show of a display of quilts made by an African American woman, born in the late 1930’s, who produced her quilts using a pseudonym Rosie Lee Tompkins. The work is reminiscent of the Gees Bend quilters and also the work of Molly Upton. Here’s the link to the virtual show:
And if you were interested in my reference to Molly Upton, here’s more information about this amazing woman.
Finally some pretty fabric photos
My daughter really liked a rayon/linen fabric from Japan and so Susan was good enough to make one of the Schoolhouse tunics for Kate… it looks great:

Here are some new Yoko Saito fabrics that just arrived…

OK… I think that is it for now. I’m hoping that you are all finding a path to contentment and joy in this time of relative isolation. I send a hug and my best wishes.