People – The Lockdown Quilters

By Jan Jackson

From left, members Marsha Ebert and Karen Trotter

When Covid-19 lockdown hit, many retreated into their homes and become part of a world stood still. Not so for a group of 28 Mid-Valley Quilt Guild (MVQG) members from Salem Oregon. When the tough times hit, these women whipped out their sewing machines, dived into their staches of fabric, and began making face masks and quilt blocks to give away. The face masks went to Oregon counties and the quilt blocks to Cedarville, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts’ (WQFA) Quarantine Quilt project.

“Project Face Mask started when Salem Health provided kits for face masks,” quilter Karen Trotter said. “Our members pulled together as a group to help them meet their goal of making and

Marsha Eibert, Past President of Mid-Valley Quilt Guild.

distributing 10,000 masks. To maintain quality and uniformity, we used the instructions from Deaconess Health System in Evansville, Indiana.We gave priority to the counties where most of our members lived and further limited distribution to the counties that allowed us a reasonable drive to deliver them to the agencies who then got them to the people who needed them.  In all, we made and delivered more than 5,000 face masks.

 Participation in the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts’ Quarantine Quilt came about when guild member Deb Yeska heard about the Wisconsin group’s project. She sent an email asking more about it and brought the information back to the club. Without hesitation, members made the 10 quarantine themed quilt blocks to send to WMFA (as well as duplicates to keep for their own quilt) and sent them off.

“This project took off way beyond our expectations,” said Emily Schlemowitz, curator of WQFA. By the end of 2020, we had received blocks from nearly every state in the United States as well as from London, the UK, Netherlands and Israel. So far, we’ve made 75 quilts and have blocks left over to make 10 more. We will be featuring them here at the Museum as well as use them in our traveling exhibits.”

The Mid-Valley Quilt Guild Quarantine Quilt, which has already been exhibited at the Salem Police Station and Bush Art Barn, will ultimately be on display at the April or May 2022 Mid-Valley Quilt Show. In the meantime, fabric staches are being replenished and stored in members homes and the club’s meeting place at the Scottish Rite Center in Salem to wait for the next worthwhile project. Thank you Mid-Valley Quilt Guild quilters, the community owes you a round of applause.

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