When Holly Jones began working from home during the shutdown of March , she wanted a project that would keep her hands busy and be of use to others.
“I needed to feel like I was helping,” she said.
So the Spokane Valley resident plundered her fabric stash and started making masks – a lot of masks. The last count was 884.
“I stopped doing mass mask production when I started grad school,” Jones said.
She gave the face-coverings to family, friends and social media contacts. Then she broadened her reach by donating them to Rick Clark’s Giving Back Packs, Veraci Pizza, Union Gospel Mission, and her neighborhood restaurant, Craft and Gather.
“I have to be doing something,” Jones said. “I wanted to put that fear and anxiety into something, and sewing was a way for me to contribute.”
All those masks generated a lot of scrap pieces which Jones stashed in a large plastic bin.
By November, the bin was too full to close properly.
Wondering what to do with the pieces, she scattered the fabric scraps across the family pingpong table and pondered their usefulness.
“They were all different sizes and shapes,” she said. “I looked at the pieces and thought, ‘Oh! A blanket!’ ”
Her handiness with needle and thread has its roots in her childhood.
“My mom was a Home-Ec teacher,” she said. “I started sewing in elementary school.”
The colorful fabric remnants reminded her of a treasured family heirloom.
“I have a crazy quilt made from family dresses,” she said.
She began to piece the scraps into blocks, each fragment telling its own COVID-19 story.
“At first, pickings were slim at the fabric store,” Jones said. “But then I started getting requests.”
A blanket featuring fabric with themes like Harry Potter, women in science, Sponge Bob and Star Wars, mingled with material leftover from rainbow masks she’d made for Pride.
Since she works for Gonzaga University, plenty of GU bulldogs can be spotted among her work.
For the backing, Jones, a Washington State University grad, found a swath of soft crimson and gray fleece in her fabric trunk.
In just a few days the project was complete.
“The hardest part was getting everything to line up and letting go of straight lines,” Jones said.
For now, the blanket’s getting plenty of use.
“We’re keeping it out as the cozy blanket on the couch,” she said. “We’ll get as much use out of it as we can.”
When it begins to thin and fray, she hopes it will remind her three children of their own pandemic memories.
“It’s been a huge blessing to be around my kids,” she said.
“I hope they’ll have their own stories of their mom creating during the pandemic.”
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