Handmade Masks to Help in the Fight Against Covid-19

Tasked with making masks for my husband and some of his coworkers who are on the front lines during the Covid-19 pandemic, I set out to find the best pattern to use for handmade masks. While searching, I came across this article by The Washington Post.

It mentions that Peter Tsai, “the materials scientist who invented the electrostatic charging technology that N95 masks… rely on,” recommends using car shop towels for making handmade masks. It is strong and washable, so the masks can be reused, and it offers more protection from the virus than cotton fabric.

The towels also make great filter inserts for fabric masks. (My favorite pattern for cotton fabric masks which incorporates a pocket is this one by Pins and Needles. )

The photo to the left shows some masks that I made from the Pins and Needles pattern.

 

 

Pattern

I know we all have a lot on our plates right now. (I would have never guessed I’d be running my small at-home business while suddenly needing to homeschool 5 children and try to protect my family from a pandemic), but if you can find the materials and a little extra time to help make even just a few masks for your local community, please consider doing so. I’m sure the people who receive them will be very grateful!

Step 1 Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 7

This pattern is provided at no cost to anyone who would like to use it. If you would like to help cover the costs of supplies so that I can continue to make masks for those who need them, you may donate using the button below.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1:

Gather materials

– Scott shop towels, cut into 8″ x 8″ squares

– Twist ties

– Elastic

– Thread

– Scissors

– And of course a sewing machine

 

Step 2:

Place twist tie at top of square. Make sure it is centered right in the middle. This doesn’t need to be exact, just eyeball it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

Fold top down over twist tie about 1/4″ and straight stitch along inner edge. Then go back and sew a few stitches vertically on either side of the twist tie to keep it from shifting out of place.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:

Now turn under the bottom edge 1/4″ and stitch. Then turn under each side 1/4″ – 1/2″ and stitch. All 4 sides have now been hemmed.

 

 

 

 

Step 5:

Orient your square so that the side with the twist tie is facing towards the top and the right side is facing out.

Beginning about 1″ from the bottom edge, fold down the first pleat 1/2″ and pin. Now fold down the second pleat directly above the first. Again 1/2, and pin. Repeat for the third and final pleat.

 

Step 6:

Stitch along each edge to tack down pleats, removing pins as you come to them.

 

 

 

 

Step 7:

Cut a 1/8″ – 1/4″ wide piece of elastic into 7.5″ strips.

Sew one end of the strip to the top corner of the wrong side of your mask, then sew the second end to the bottom corner as illustrated in the photo. Repeat these steps for the other side.

Make sure to backstitch and sew over the elastic again 1 or 2 times to help keep it from coming loose.

Colorful Rolags for Spinning

Back when I was new to yarn spinning I purchased a few pounds of merino top. Turns out, I had no idea how boring it would be to spin bobbin after bobbin of undyed wool. I had to find a way to add some color! This tutorial shows you how to add color and texture with add-ins using minimal tools. You will want to be familiar with how to load fiber onto the handcards and how to brush the fiber from one carder to the other. I was unable to really show those steps in photos, but there are plenty of youtube tutorials that cover the basics of hand carding.

 

 

Gather Supplies

A pair of hand carders and a set of wooden dowels (I’ve used chop sticks in a pinch), are the only tools needed. You will also need some fiber and add-ins. I used merino top and tussa silk, but feel free to experiment with locks, tinsel, or any combination of fiber and add- ins that you’d like for yarn spinning.

First Layer

Place one layer of your main fiber on the hand cards. You will most likely want to use some sort of wool fiber in a solid or semi-solid color for best results.

Second Layer and Carding

Now place a layer of silk or any other other add-ins you would like to use. Then make one pass with the carders to lightly blend your fibers together.

Using Dowels

For this step you can lay the carder flat on a table or hold it by the handle between your knees with the fiber facing away from you. Place one dowel behind the fiber that is sticking out from the top end of the carder, and place the other dowel in front of the fiber.

Rolling the Fiber

Now, grasping the ends of the dowels, roll the fiber from the top of the carder to the bottom, keeping it close against the tines of the carder. If you’ve ever used a blending board, you might be inclined to pull on the dowels in order to draft the fiber as you roll. For these rolags, don’t pull/draft! Just roll them right up like a jelly roll.

Finishing

Lift the dowels along with your newly rolled fiber off the carder. You may want to roll it like a rolling pin over the carder a couple times just to tighten up your rolag and make sure it holds together well. Finally, pull one dowel out of the center of the rolag, then pull the second dowel out. Make several and spin up a colorful skein!

 

 

Have fun experimenting with different fibers and add-ins! I would love to see your creations if you try out this method. Tag me on instagram @mcgehee_textiles.

Winter Socks for the Family


Winter Socks for the Family PDF knitting pattern has been updated with better formatting and layout. It also now includes seven sizes from baby to XL. The largest size fits a man’s US shoe size 13.

 

Pattern Link

The socks were knit using Jarbo Garn Raggi. It is still available from a few online retailers, but it is getting more difficult to find.

I have linked below to a few yarns that are more widely available and would make good substitutes for the Jarbo Garn Raggi. They are the correct weight, and the correct fiber content to create a warm and durable pair of socks.

Bergere de France Twiste

West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran

Juniper Moon Farm Stratus

Paintbox Yarns Wool Mix Aran

 

 

 

A free crochet scrunchie pattern. These work up super quickly! 10-15 minutes is all you need to whip up a stylish new hair accessory. The velvet and faux fur yarns are so luxurious! These scrunchies make amazing gifts and are great craft fair sellers! The ultimate instant gratification project!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Materials Needed

Hair Elastics – I used the Goody Ouchless Elastics

A small amount of velvet or faux fur yarn

Crochet hook (Size I/5.5mm for faux fur yarn, or size G/6mm for velvet yarn) I love this set of ergonomic crochet hooks from Woocrafts. It comes with several useful accessories as well as a handy zippered storage case.

Scissors (I keep a pair of these whimsical unicorn scissors in my project bag).

Yarns Used

Bernat Velvet

Lion Brand Vel-Luxe

Lion Brand Go For Faux

 

Set Up Part 1:

Step 1: Place crochet hook through center of hair elastic.

 

Step 2: Loop yarn over hook and pull it into center of elastic.

 

Step 3: Wrap working yarn and tail around hook.

 

Step 4: Pull wrapped yarn through the loop on hook.

 

Set Up Part Two:

Step 1: Wrap tail around elastic as if you are making an overhand knot.

 

Step 2: pull tail, snugging the knot up close to the first stitch. Repeat this step once more.

 

Main Pattern:

Each stitch is worked into the center of the elastic, similar to the way a magic circle is worked.

  1. Ch 1
  2. Double crochet into the center of elastic the following number of times:

130 times if using Lion Brand Vel-Luxe.

100 times if using Bernat Velvet.

35 times if using Lion Brand Go For Faux.

*Note* As your stitch count increases, you will need to occasionally pull on the elastic and scrunch up your stitches to make room for more.

 

Finishing:

  1. Slip stitch into first stitch and tie off.
  2. Weave in ends and trim tail.

I hope you enjoy this free crochet scrunchie pattern and made these scrunchies for yourself, family and friends, or craft fairs! I would love to see your finished creations! You can tag me on instagram @mcgehee_textiles or find me on facebook as McGehee Textiles.