Press release courtesy of The Quilt Index at Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, Michigan State University

DATE RELEASE: April 8, 2020
East Lansing, Michigan

COVID-19: Quilters Respond
The Quilt Index at Matrix: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, Michigan State University

On April 1, 2020 The New York Times posted the full page instructions “How to Sew a Face Mask” by Tracy Ma and Natalie Shutler (Posted online on March 31, 2020  It comes as no surprise to those who have been making and documenting craft arts. Even before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally advised use of the masks, especially by seemingly healthy individuals, scores of other media, particularly in craft communities but also in health services communities, also posted instructions as well as photos of sewers who were quickly producing masks as soon as it became evident that the pandemic was spreading and the personal production equipment was critically needed. Quiltmakers have historically been in the vanguard of using their time, skills, materials, and equipment to address the healing and wellbeing needs of their communities and it is no surprise that thousands of quilt artists have turned to address this current need.  In addition quilt artists are making personal quilts to help their own health and well-being and are engaging in virtual coronavirus quilting activities to help break down the social distancing and feeling of isolation that many are experiencing. As MSU staff member and quiltmaker, now turned mask maker, Beth Donaldson says, “Since I work part time, and like almost everyone in the country, am staying home, I decided to put my extensive quilting stash to work. With all this fabric, and all this time with my sewing room, I feel I’ve been training for this my whole life.”

Since 2003, The Quilt Index ( has been documenting the work of quiltmakers. Whether you are making masks, gowns, caps, headbands, or other needed PPEs, The Quilt Index team wants to hear about it and are asking your help in documenting this chapter of arts, community engagement, and health.  We ask that you fill out a simple form available at and send us your stories and images. Your work and experiences will be added to The Quilt Index story portal ( where we hope what you are doing will inspire others to join in. Then follow along on the Quilt Index Facebook page to read a selection stories and images that are submitted.

PS: If you have a COVID-19 quilt to register in the Quilt Index, please use the form found on the Quilt Index, Quilts and Health Facebook page

Contact:  Marsha  Macdowell,