Gilbert's HD South quilters turn efforts toward masks

HD South, facemasks, Cathi Franz
Cathi Franz from HD South's quilting bee says she has made at least 100 cloth face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy HD South)

Cathi Franz from HD South's quilting bee says she has made at least 100 cloth face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy HD South)

Spring normally is time for the annual quilt show at HD South, a display of quilts produced by the quilting bee that meets at the museum as well as members of the community.

Of course, most plans have been disrupted this spring in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The show, which usually lasts from late February through the end of May, had been open only a couple weeks before the pandemic hit.

But some of the quilters have kept their hands busy with a new task: making masks for the community.

“They're doing them for either hospitals or some are trying to give some to the homeless,” HD South President and CEO Kayla Kolar said. “Some are just making it for family and friends. So there's a variety of places that they're going to.”

The operation started when Cathi Franz put her seamstress skills to work to make masks for her husband, a grocery store employee.

“He needed to be at work, and I wanted him to be safe,” she said. “So I made masks for him, and it just kind of evolved.”

Others at the grocery store wanted them, and then Franz thought she should reach out to Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. Her church also asked if she could masks for when the church starts meeting again. She soon could be making more for Banner Health, as well.

“I was told that some doctors and nurses were asking for them,” Franz said. “Some are not. Some don't want to use them, and that's completely fine. I just reached out because I didn't want to make them and send them if they weren't going to use them.”

While not all the members of the quilting bee have started making masks, others have been making them at least for family members.

“I'm just doing what I can do,” Franz said. “I just want people to be safe. That's what's important right now.”

As for the quilt show, Kolar said she hopes that once the museum reopens, the quilts can stay up for another month. A special traveling exhibit of the American Quilt Study Group on 200 years of solid color quilts from 1800-2000 does not have to move to its next destination until fall.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.