Corner Brook crafter fights COVID-19 one stitch at a time

It’s not the most difficult thing she’s crocheted, but Julie Seaborn says her homemade mask holders are helping a lot of front-line workers. (Submitted by Julie Seaborn)

A Corner Brook crafter has found a way to help front-line health-care workers during COVID-19 — she’s crocheting mask holders and giving them out for free.

Julie Seaborn says she started making them for some friends who work in health care. A few weeks in, she’s made close to 400.

“I can’t help [fight the pandemic] in any other way with medical care,” she said. “So it’s something I can do to make them a little more comfortable.” 

Crocheted from cotton yarn, each strip is about four inches long with a button on either end. The holder is worn on the back of the head, with the mask’s elastic ear loops hooked around the buttons to keep them from cutting into the back of the ears.

Nurse Erin Noseworthy wears one of Seaborn’s mask holders. (Submitted by Julie Seaborn)

A crocheter for years, Seaborn said the mask holders are incredibly easy to make and she’s been whipping through them quickly. 

“Something that takes me just five minutes to make apparently is helping people greatly,” she said.

A huge help

Though they’re only small strips of  yarn, the mask holders have been a big help to health-care workers.

Dr. Amy Pieroway, chief of family medicine for the Western Regional Health Authority, says worldwide shortages of personal protective equipment, have prompted health-care workers to save their masks when possible.

When she works in a high-risk area, she changes her mask from patient to patient but otherwise she might wear the same one for hours.

“It’s when you have to wear [a mask] for an extended period of time that people find it super-irritating,” Pieroway said. “These gadgets that Julie’s making actually help save the back of your ears.”

A family assembly line

Seaborn gets more requests for her mask holders every day. In order to keep up with the demand she’s made her homemade assembly line more efficient — by recruiting the rest of her family.

Her children pick out and attach the buttons while husband Glen weaves in the ends to finish each holder.

Though she’s already made nearly 400 mask holders, Seaborn says she gets new requests for them every day. (Submitted by Julie Seaborn)

What started as a way to help out a few friends has turned into a family effort to help others during the pandemic.

“It’s something that we’ve been really keen to teach our kids,” Seaborn said. “No matter what’s happening, there’s always a way to help, whether it’s small or big. You can do your best to help your community.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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