Sewing

Gwen Extenkamper sewing masks at the Nelsonville Quilt Company. She has been making almost 40 masks a day.

NELSONVILLE — All businesses deemed non essential have been temporarily closed but members of one local company who fall under this category are proving they are the complete opposite of non essential.

Susan Holmes is the owner of the Nelsonville Quilt Company. Her company is currently closed but the sewing machines are still threading along since they have been repurposed to make masks.

Holmes started making them last Wednesday after an employee’s husband, who is a school bus driver, asked for masks to give to the other bus drivers he works with.

Holmes then made a Facebook post showing one of the masks they made and that is when all of the orders started flooding in.

She said requests are coming in from all over the State and a few calls have even come in from Tennessee. On Thursday, she received over 400 requests for masks.

“I think the problem is nobody knows where to get them,” Holmes stated. “There are a lot of people out there making masks but nobody knows how to get them.”

Holmes is getting some help from her immediate family as well as several quilters. She said her mother, Gwen Extenkamper, who is 89 years old, has been making about 35 to 40 masks a day.

“I cut the fabric for her and then she just sits on her machine and goes to town,” Holmes stated.

They have been using scrap fabric from Holmes’ house and elastic, which has been donated by members from all over the community. Community members that Holmes says she has never even met before.

Holmes commented that making these masks just felt like the right thing to do and masks will continue being made as long as her business is shut down and the equipment and products necessary to make the masks are there.

“We will keep doing it as long as God gives us the strength to do it,” Holmes remarked. “We were put on this earth to serve others and that is what we are doing.”

They are not accepting extremely large orders but those who would like to order a few masks can call the Nelsonville Quilt Company at 740-753-3343. They are putting the names on a list and once the masks are ready, the company will call back. The masks are free of charge.

Holmes’ goal is to make over 200 masks by Monday. The business is closed on weekends but Holmes and her team will be sewing through Saturday and Sunday to reach their mark.

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