OLIVE HILL Since the onset of coronavirus in the area, there has been an increase in drive-by quiltings.

At least that’s what it’s called at Quilt Heaven Quilt Store.

The store is “open but not open,” says Evelyn Whitt Morgan, who has had the shop since 2011.

Her sister, Lou, who also works there said, “You can call in your order and we’ll leave it on the porch. No face-to-face contact.”

It’s important to keep the store going because it’s where many are buying supplies to make masks for health care workers.

Morgan’s daughter, a nurse who works in Huntington, told her how scarce masks have become, so Morgan researched how to make them.

She said she worked with friend and fellow quilter Gwen Parker to make at least 60 masks so far.

“I’m doing it because I just want to help,” Morgan said, noting laying hands on elastic has been difficult, but she’s expecting a shipment soon, which she plans to sell at cost. “If we have it, we should share,” she said.

Jennifer Phillips, who works at All About Animals Veterinary Clinic in Flatwoods, enjoys quilting so much she has a side business, Little Black Cat Gifts, which is available on Etsy.com. While she’s still selling online, she has taken up the cause of making masks to help health care workers after a friend with a sewing business on the side shared a post from a hospital in need of supplies.

Phillips has made more than 30 masks in less than a week.

“It takes longer to cut out the fabric than it does to sew it,” she said. “If the sewing goes all right, it takes about five to seven minutes.” She said the fabric is so thick, she has broken a few needles doing the sewing.

Phillips’ full-time job at the vet clinic is ordering supplies. She said she can’t imagine not being able to get needed equipment.

“It’s terrible to see,” she said. “I was able to do something about it.”

Plus, it’s a way to pass the time for those who quilt when there’s no place to go and nothing to do.

“We all have a stash of fabric we don’t use and we’re stuck at home, so why not?” Morgan said.

Instructions can be found on Facebook. Morgan, who shared a pattern on Facebook, said she followed those instructions and her first efforts weren’t perfect. “The elastic was too long for women. They are just right for men, but needed to be shorter for women, but they can use them if they tie it. We’d never done it before, but once we got the knack of it, it was fine.”

The homemade masks can be laundered along with scrubs and reused, Morgan said.

Several of Morgan’s friends and customers are making masks, including Carol Ann Fraley, Sue Tackett, Debbie Meadows, Ida Robinson and Diana Collins. One group, Sew-Sew in Morehead, is making masks for use at St. Claire Medical Center.

The outpouring of help touched Morgan.

“It made me want to cry,” she said.

But she’s not surprised by the quilters’ willingness to help.

“My customers are like family,” Morgan said. “We share our joys. We share our happiness. We share our sadness. In time of need, we share our talents. …There’s always going to be bad actors, but not in the quilt community.”

Phillips agreed.

“When something happens in the quilting community, there are calls to make quilt squares and things,” she said. “But I’ve never seen anything like this, anything of this magnitude and urgency.”

She’s happy to help.

“God blessed me with an ability to do something over and over and enjoy it,” she said. “It brings me and joy and to help someone, it’s really fulfilling.”

Morgan’s posts on Facebook have drawn interest from outside the area: She has received requests for masks from as far away as Lexington and Winchester, and that’s fine with her because there is no limit to the masks she is willing to make to help protect health care workers.

“I’m going to try my best to make them and send them and encourage others to make them, too,” she said. “I’m going to make them until somebody tells me to stop.”

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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