Sewing sees renewed popularity amid coronavirus pandemic

Quilting on the Hudson was a decades-in-the-making passion project for Lisa Jenner. The now-retired middle school Latin teacher opened The Quilt Tree in Nyack 6 years ago to fulfill her dream.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The quilt-making classes and pretty much every customer vanished. No one was thinking of fabric in the middle of a pandemic. Or so Lisa thought.

“We started making them for the hospital workers, frontline workers who needed to protect the N95’s to wear them over that. I don’t know how they breathed through all of that. I don’t even get it” says Jenner.

Lisa had a community petitioning to make masks for healthcare workers at Nyack Hospital. They’d pick up the fabric at The Quilt Tree and they’d go home to sew. But a few weeks later, masks became mandatory in most public spaces across New York and for Lisa, a whole new “fabric phenomenon” was born.

“If not for masks, I would have been out of business 6 months ago,” she said.

Lisa estimates about 25,000 masks have been given out to healthcare workers and the general public all using fabric from The Quilt Tree.

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