Wheeeee, it’s my one-year Auntie-versary! I joined the Auntie Sewing Squad on May 14, 2020, after about a month spent researching materials and experimenting with patterns, and giving those masks to family, friends, and some locals. Desperate to do more to help get masks to people who needed them most, I jumped in when my super mask-maker friend Melissa introduced me to the A.S.S. Facebook group, “a national collective of volunteers of all genders who have turned our living rooms into “sweatshops” because of the failure of the Federal Government to provide proper PPE to essential workers and vulnerable communities.” In the past year, A.S.S. members have sewn and distributed more than 300,000 homemade masks to vulnerable communities, as well as coordinating several relief vehicles filled with supplies to the Navajo Nation and Standing Rock.
And yesterday, Auntie George (he does mask assembly steps and I sew) and I joined the 1K Mask Club! More than 900 of those we’ve pledged and donated to A.S.S. asks. Here’s Mask 1K, sewn with some of the stunningly beautiful fabric Melissa generously gave me.
And stacks o’ masks 900 to 1K, that we’ll pack up to donate to groups vetted by Super Aunties or other A.S.S. members who helm asks to deserving groups.
The Auntie Sewing Squad, and all the amazing, generous Aunties, Unties, and Uncles, kept me from sinking into despair during the long dark days of the pandemic. Being in a group already vetting and sending masks to the most vulnerable and needy groups freed me to sew, a concrete way to use my time, my hands and my trusty Husky sewing machine to be a small part of the solution. Thanks to generous donations of money and materials, the Aunties could also provide us with fabric, elastic and more.
A little history! My very first masks, from a pleated pattern I quickly rejected. Without easy access to fabric, I used some of my stash of cotton I had printed from my own photo-fabric designs.
Slideshow with highlights of Auntie care and gifties, masks, helpers, and more!
Want more? Click on this link for my interview by students at CSU Monterey Bay, part of the Auntie Sewing Squad Oral History Archive. And finally, eternal thanks to Aunties and friends who gave me materials and vast amounts of other kinds of support. Auntie George and I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, have done it without your help.