Author’s note: I have the best opportunities in writing for the Camden Community News. This month, I get to share with you my conversation with Moira Knutson.
I became familiar with Moira Knutson’s face mask making magic in Nextdoor.com. Moira lives in the Victory neighborhood, and has been making masks since last March, and offering one or two to whomever wants to stop by to get one or two. The masks are free. She communicates through Nextdoor.com, and puts out approximately 40 masks in a bin every Wednesday
Making masks is new to Moira, but she has been sewing since her 4th grade 4H project. She has nine grandchildren that benefit from her mastery of the sewing machine. Beyond her family, she also shares her sewing time with other sewers in virtual chat sessions. In fact, she was able to sew during our phone call about this article. It harkens back to the days of quilting bees. (Are you one of those readers that will search Google on that?)
Moira started sewing masks after the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic when news of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortage started. Her intended recipients were nurses at North Memorial Medical Center, yet she found a need within the neighborhood too. She knows that some of her masks have been delivered to a senior living facility in the Webber-Camden neighborhood and others have been used for a tutoring program that requires everyone to wear masks. There are no questions asked though – if you or someone you know needs a mask, come and get it. She puts them in a bin outside her home at 3091 Russell – no strings attached. (That’s a sewing pun, in case you missed it.)
It may be obvious to all, but clearly Moira is not getting rich on this. In fact, she’s not charging anything for these masks. When asked about costs, she says if people can donate the fabric, she will use it to make more masks. Her preference is the type of cotton used to make a man’s dress shirt – just not starched and stiff. Her first sample was made from one of her husband’s old dress shirts, and she found that the fabric held its shape and was soft against your skin.
Some people have donated fabric (or cash for fabric) to help her continue her mission. Other gifts of appreciation she received included mittens, fruit, and tree trimming. But nothing is required for a mask – Moira is doing this as an act of kindness in a difficult time.
And since this is an act of kindness, let it be known that Moira does not see mask wearing during a pandemic to be a political issue. She wants people to be safe, and this is her way of showing concern with a neighborly spirit.
Moira estimates she has made about 2,000 masks thus far.
Author’s note: What I found most interesting about Moira’s story was that she and her husband have only lived in the Victory neighborhood for a little more than a year. She moved to the Big City from the suburbs, and says it feels like a small town to her because it is so easy to get to know your neighbors. This project has greatly facilitated connecting with her neighbors, which would have been especially difficult during a “stay at home” time.
Some “five-star reviews” from Nextdoor about Moira:
“Moira, you are a true angel and a shining example of how we need to take care of each other. Thank you.” Patty L.
“Thanks again for what you’re doing. You’re such a great model to your grandkids. Makes me proud to call you a neighbor I’ve never met in person.” Anna B.
“This is an awesome contribution you are making to our community’s well-being. Thank you.” Terri W.
“You are such a blessing! It does my heart good each time I read your postings. The world needs more people like you. God bless!!!” Gloria H.
“Nice masks too! I am going to bring you some fabric so I can get a few more masks for my husband. And so far all the plants are growing well!!! Still don’t know what “Bob” will turn into yet!” Christine R. (to alleviate the suspense, Moira “suspects Bob is Lily of the Valley.”)