Updates on Iowa City Area Face Mask Project

Update #1:  March 29, 2020

Update #2:  April 3, 2020

Update #3:  April 7, 2020

Update #4:  April 20, 2020

 

Sunday, March 29, 2020
Update #1 on Iowa City Area Face Mask Project

 

To all members of the Old Capitol Quilters Guild and others who have asked to be kept up to date on the Iowa City Face Mask Project:

We have important information to share with you.

  • Supplies of elastic and interfacing are now available for pick up. We have received the first of several orders of key supplies. Learn how to request them here.

  • Mercy Hospital has asked us to ensure that supplies are stored and masks are made in a smoke-free environment and that no one in the household has been exposed to COVID-19. This is clearly a best practice and applies to all masks we produce.

  • Please register the number of face masks you plan to make by entering your pledge here. This will help us ensure that all of the healthcare facilities will receive what they need.

  • Be sure you read both the Pattern and Guidance sheets for the mask you choose before you get started! You can find them by scrolling down on this page. We've made some modifications in the patterns as well as in the instructions provided in the videos to accommodate the specific needs of healthcare facilities in the Iowa City area

  • The Pleated Mask pattern has been updated to include top-stitching at one-eighth of an inch around the edges of the rectangle to stabilize it.

  • We also recommend top stitching around the edges of the Olson Mask.When we tried washing them without the top stitching, they came out in a lump, but when we laundered one with top stitching, the results were much better.

  • Some have reported that the fit of the Pleated Masks is too loose with the specified 7" pieces of elastic; a few others have found it to be too snug. There is naturally great variability in the sizes of individual faces and heads. We will stick with the recommendation to use 7" pieces, but provide advice to the healthcare facilities on how to make adjustments in the elastic to improve fit (e.g., knotting the elastic at the back, making a small fold where it joins the mask and stitching or even stapling it in place). An alternative that would ensure a more customized fit would be to secure both types of masks with fabric straps or ribbon instead of elastic.

  • We've clarified the drop off procedures for both Mercy Hospital and Oaknoll (which is collecting Face Masks for 20 area nursing homes and long-term care centers). You'll find explanations on the back of the two Guidance documents and also on the Tips and FAQs page. There's even a photo of the door to use at Oaknoll (it's NOT the main entrance on Benton Street!).

  • Send us photos of your masks. Before you drop them off, snap a picture and send it to info@ocqg.org. (Thanks to Char Elbert for giving us this idea.) We'll start an online photo album to document the project and serve as testimony of our collective concern for healthcare workers in our community.

  • We'll continue putting the date and time on web pages each time we make changes so you can tell if you're seeing the latest information. Be sure to refresh your browser when you visit, too.

We have added several new sections to the Iowa City Face Mask project website

Finally, today we had an opportunity to talk with Janice Baldus who is coordinating another face mask project in our area, Face Masks for Johnson County Iowa/COVID19. (Find out more about them on Facebook.) Fortunately we are focused on supplying face masks to a complementary set of healthcare facilities, so our efforts will complement rather than overlap with one another. We're glad to know that seamstresses all over the county are working on this important effort and look forward to collaborating with Janice and her team for the benefit of all.

Feel free to share this information with your friends and anyone else who would like to contribute. . 

Stay well and sew on!

Pam Ehrhardt and Vicki Walch
OCQG Co-Presidents

 

Friday, April 3, 2020
Update #2 on Iowa City Area Face Mask Project

 

To all members of the Old Capitol Quilters Guild and others who have asked to be kept up to date on the Iowa City Face Mask Project:

We really need your help!

Now that the CDC is recommending that all Americans wear non-medical face masks, and Iowa's peak for the COVID-19 virus is expected in the next 2-4 weeks, it's critical that we ramp up the production rate for both types of face masks we are producing for Iowa City area hospitals, care centers, public service agencies, and social service providers.

You can find images and descriptions of the masks we are making along with patterns, guidance on customizing them for our target facilities, and video tutorials on the project website.

If you have already committed to making face masks, please try to complete them as soon as possible and consider adding to your commitment. If you are just coming in, we have plenty of resources to get you started.

Supplies for each kind of mask are available for pick up free of charge. If you're providing your own fabric (which would be great), we can give you the elastic and/or interfacing you'll need. We can even provide complete kits for each type of mask which include pre-cut fabric along with the elastic (for both types) and interfacing (for the pleated masks only).

  • Kits for Olson Mask contain enough for 12 masks each 
    (specify supplies only or with pre-cut fabric)

  • Kits for Pleated Masks contain enough for 25 masks each
    (supplies only or with pre-cut fabric)

I you just need elastic or interfacing separately, we can supply that too.

To request supplies/kits, email Pam Ehrhardt at pje281@gmail.com (for pick up in Iowa City) or lindaaker78@hotmail.com (for pickup in north Coralville) with the type and number of kits or specific supplies you would like.

To show you how this project is already protecting health care providers, here are photos of several staff members at Legacy Pointe in Iowa City who received their Pleated Masks this week. Were you one of the makers?
      
We are currently committed to supplying the following: 

  • Mercy Hospital, Iowa City, 300 Olson masks

  • Veterans Administration Hospital, 300 Olson masks (just added today!)

  • A group of 20 nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Iowa City, Coralville, West Liberty, West Branch, Hills, and Lone Tree, with a total of
    240 Olson masks (12 per  facility) and 2,000 pleated masks (100 per facility)

  • Iowa City Police Department, 150 pleated masks

  • Coralville Police Department, 40 pleated masks

  • North Liberty Police Department, 30 pleated masks

  • Shelter House, Iowa City, 200 pleated masks

Several more requests came in today and we're sure more will arrive in the next week. We'd really like to fill these needs but we can't do it without you!.

Pledged and completed masks reported as of 4/3/20 (but we think there are more!)

Makers have reported delivering a total of 60 Olson masks and 425 Pleated masks so far.
If you haven't reported your completed masks yet, please go to https://www.ocqg.org/report-your-completed-masks

As you jump into this important service project or expand your commitment, 

  • Please register the number of face masks you plan to make by entering your pledge here. This will help us ensure that all of the healthcare facilities will receive what they need.

  • Be sure you read both the Pattern and Guidance sheets for the mask you choose before you get started!  We've made some modifications in the patterns as well as in the instructions provided in the videos to accommodate the specific needs of healthcare facilities and other service providers in the Iowa City area. You can find them by scrolling down on the main project page.

When you complete masks

  • From kits now being provided, follow delivery instructions enclosed in your kit.

  • From your own fabrics or from earlier kits, follow delivery instructions provided on the back of the Guidance documents for each type of mask. 

  • Send us photos of your masks. Before you drop them off, snap a picture and send it to info@ocqg.org. We'll be starting a photo album soon!


Please share this information with your friends and anyone else who would like to contribute.

Stay well and sew on!

Pam Ehrhardt and Vicki Walch
OCQG Co-Presidents

Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Update #3 on Iowa City Area Face Mask Project

 

To all volunteers and others who have asked to receive updates on the project:

Do you see that light ahead?
It’s the end of the tunnel!

We’re asking you to complete all of your kits/pledges and turn them in by Monday, April 13.

We want to wrap up our commitments as soon as possible so our healthcare workers and others are protected as the predicted Corona virus spike draws near.

We hope you can also take on some extra sewing. We still have some kits left that need to be completed by next week.

  • 40 sets of 25 Pleated Masks

  • 10 sets of 12 Olson Masks

In addition, we have supplies of elastic that we can share.

To request kits or elastic, please contact

Please contact us at info@ocqg.org if you won’t be able to complete pledges or if you need to return unfinished kits so someone else can work on them instead.

The main project page is located at 
https://www.ocqg.org/sewing-face-masks-for-virus-protect
If you missed earlier updates and want to catch up, you can find them here: 
https://www.ocqg.org/updates-on-face-mask-project

We’re almost done!
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In the news
A story featuring the Iowa City Face Mask Project is scheduled to air on KCRG, Channel 9, tomorrow, Wednesday, April 8.  Thanks to Susan Craig for being our spokesperson!
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Please share this information with your friends and anyone else who would like to contribute.

Stay well and sew on!

 
 

Face Mask Project Update #4
Monday, April 20, 2020 


Iowa City Area Face Mask Project -- Phase Two

Less than a month ago, the Old Capitol Quilters Guild, Days for Girls-Iowa City Chapter, and The Preemie Project started a joint project to sew face masks for hospitals, care centers, public employees, social service agencies, and more. In just four weeks, our amazing volunteers have produced more than 6,500 face masks. Thanks to all of you who have worked so hard for such a good cause!

  • See a list of the organizations that have received face masks as of April 20, 2020, here.

 

Now we're moving onto a new phase.

All three of the hospitals that we have been working with will have an ongoing need for face masks and other items for the forseeable future. Many other public agencies and social service organizations will also need additional supplies.  

We have finished a month-long sprint to meet our initial goals but now we're entering a marathon that may last for many more months. We hope you'll stick with us and continue to sew in support of the many front line workers we are serving.

We will no longer distribute kits and collect completed masks from volunteers for delivery to the requesting facilities. Instead, as we have been doing with Mercy Hospital all along, we are now asking mask makers to deliver them directly to all the hospitals and other organizations requesting them. ​

We've added some new things to the project website and reorganized it a llittle.

  • Patterns for the project's face masks are now here.
    There is a new "Flexible Size Pleated Face Mask" designed by Days for Girls volunteers that includes instructions for inserting a nose bridge wire. This page also lists some "best practices" for everyone to follow no matter which type of face mask you make.

  • Requests from hospitals and other organizations for face masks & other items (along with instructions for delivering them) are on the new Ongoing Needs page. Right now, they include requests for face masks and other hand-made items from all three Iowa City hospitals--the VA, Mercy, and UIHC--plus a request from Iowa City Transit for masks to distribute to both bus drivers and passengers who board without them. This page will be updated each time we receive a new request, so check back often.
     

  • We have a limited supply of elastic that will be available first come, first served while supplies last. Contact us at info@ocqg.org to find out how to get it.
     

  • Sign up to receive updates on the Face Mask project here.  We'll let you know when new requests for sewing assisance come in and pass along other project ideas and tips.

Because we've had so many inquiries from individuals who need masks but don't sew and don't know how to get them, we're working on how to provide face masks to the general public. Until that's worked out, we're referring those who ask to a CDC publication that provides a basic sewing pattern plus two no-sew options for making your own. We've also seen a report that Senior Center volunteers are sewing face masks to be distributed to seniors in the community by TRAIL of Johnson County.

And we'll end this with a portrait of our new icons.

Pam Ehrhardt made this quilt (without the masks) for an Iowa-themed Old Capitol Quilters Guild challenge in July 2016. At the suggestion of her husband, she added the face masks on Sunday and renamed it "COVID-19 Gothic."

You might also find some inspiration in this video.

Please share this information with your friends and anyone else who would like to contribute.

Stay well and sew on!

CONTACT US:

Old Capitol Quilters Guild
Email: info@ocqg.org       

Mailing address: 761 Camp Cardinal Blvd # 2208, Coralville, IA 52241

Most of our monthly meetings are held at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2301 East Court Street, Iowa City. Social distancing in response to the COVID-19 virus has caused us to cancel some monthly meetings. Check the Presenters/Workshops page for details.