To Crochet Mask or Not to Mask? Behind the Scenes

PuppiDawg & Mikey
Crochet Mask. Double Fabric Layer Inside with Ties.
Crochet Mask. Double Fabric Layer Inside with Ties.

One of the hardest decisions of 2020 was to begin wearing a mask but at the time, where do you find one? PuppiDawg was still a baby and it’s been almost a year.

To be a fly in my office during this really crazy moment in time would be liking handing you a lawn chair and popping the corn. It was dramatic and really heavy on the heart and mentality of what to do.

Let’s Look Back

Crochet Cruise Cancellations
Crochet Cruise

2020 will go down as a year most of us will never forget. The craziness of staying on top of the news and trying to work out for ourselves on to wear a mask or not. Nova Scotia was in lockdown and the local businesses started to wear a mask while we, the customers, were not required. Confused much!?

The USA moved forward to really push the mask, at home here, we were still trying to figure things out. JOANN had just produced a mask pattern to give out so people at home could make a mask. At the time, very highly controversial as the science of masking was flip-flopping back and forth and still not confirmed. Meanwhile, online, the fights between wearing masks and not were lighting communities on fire. Further fights of the homemade mask versus the medical-grade were lighting up the internet. My team was quick to take a position to be neutral.

Yarnspirations came in and also produced crochet and knit masks. Of course, with liners. Online, YouTube hosts were making masks were racking in the video views but were showcasing masks with or without the liners and highly suggest them. On YouTube, it was a nightmare in the comment feeds of some of those hosts and became a target. I’m watching, staying quiet about it publicly and trying to figure this out. 

I Got a Call to Film A Mask

I got the call from Yarnspirations about their new patterns coming out and requesting if I could film the crochet version. I wasn’t in a mental place to handle the negativity and back-biting I would get for filming it. At this time, the CDC hadn’t made a decision on if homemade masks were okay. It was light touching a firecracker before it explodes. The outcome would be known.

You know, I have to tell you personally from me. My partnership with Yarnspirations is sacred. I got the hard call to film and I was so scared to say no meanwhile being reassured that it’s okay to say no. I didn’t want to let down Yarnspirations when I had seen so much fighting on social websites. I pondered the decision and thought filming would be a detriment to my career. I just want to crochet and enjoy the craft, I don’t want to deal with the politics. 

Soon after the CDC in the USA deemed homemade masks were okay as a get-by measure because of the lack of availability of medical-grade masks.

Local Friends Started Wearing Homemade Masks

Mikey's Pergola
Mikey’s Pergola

By July 2020, Local friends were starting to wear masks while Daniel and I were dismissive of it but we started to question our own judgement as more and more people were starting to wear a mask. We felt silly in wearing one, even though, it was only for our benefit. Then felt out of place when we found ourselves without a mask when others had it.

In July, I made my own mask from the Yarnspirations pattern and I filmed making it. By this time, making your own is okay. My mask was double-lined underneath that people couldn’t see. So I filmed it in July, after the craze of trying to make our own masks had settled down.

The mask you see in the video is my own mask I wore for nearly 11 months.

Our government handed down a mandate for everyone to be masked in public at the end of July 2020 and suddenly, there is no decision to be made. It was the best decision for the time so that clear guidance could be in place so I am not questioning if I should or shouldn’t. You wear one, everyone does. So the idea of feeling out of place is gone because everyone is doing the same thing. Boy, oh boy, did it take getting used to. 

A local friend was complaining about wearing one because their glasses would fog up. I get it, mine occasionally did too and on hot days, it was hard. Being self-employed where I can work safely from home. I took a mental position that if I am being asked to wear a mask to get students and teachers back to work by the fall, I’m good with that. I’m lucky to still be working and for me to wear a mask is paying it forward. 

June 2021 Masks Still Required

PuppiDawg & Mikey
PuppiDawg & Mikey

With the uncertainty of things re-opening, I suspect for Daniel and me, we could be wearing masks well into the year, even potentially up to Christmas 2021. I’m guessing. I decided to retire my crochet mask and move to a mass-produced mask found at my local farmer’s market. 

We are starting to see things reopening slowly here. However, Daniel and I are super apprehensive. Feels like the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Do I wish I could take it off in public? You betcha… but I am okay with having to wear it if it means we can be done with this much sooner. I know for some, the idea of wearing a mask doesn’t rest well.

Daniel made a comment about me in my crochet mask, ‘about time you move onto a new mask’. I stared at him and told him, do you not remember, at the time, you couldn’t find masks to buy and relied on friends to get a mask?

PuppiDawg
PuppiDawg

I think we forget the timelines on the progression of information flow. I know in one outrageous moment on Twitter, a guy is ripping into people for having been on a cruise ship in 2020. We were on one of the last cruise ships before the industry collapsed. All of us at the time were confused and unsure how concerned we should be. It’s easy to look back and judge what could have or should have happened but everything was so chaotic. Hindsight is 20-20 and I find we, humans, usually learn after the fact of something going wrong.

Lesson Learned For Me

Yarn Art - Mikey Studio
Yarn Art – Mikey Studio

The biggest lesson I took from this whole ordeal, and there has been many, but the one that haunts me is so simple. I had seen my doctor in January 2021 for an issue and I asked about the future. She gave me a timeline.

I should have trusted my doctor and muted the noise of the newscasts. Fear sells. She knew best and has her ears on the ground without having to fill me in with all of the obstacles in the way.

Conclusion

The Crochet Crowd Mikey
The Crochet Crowd Mikey

The decisions we make have to be sound with ourselves first and foremost. We live in our own skin. At the time of the mask being so highly controversial, it was like walking on eggshells here.

One side of me thought, yeah, let’s film the mask and rack up the video views, but the other side of me said, I don’t want to be responsible for suggesting something and possibly making people more ill. It kinda shows that even as a yarn arts tutorial host, I can find myself dealing with issues well beyond the yarn.

When I did eventually launch my mask, about 2 months after the USA CDC gave clearance for it, I did face the music with it, but by this time, everyone I knew was wearing a handmade mask and I knowing I had double-lined my crochet version, I felt more secure in doing so and let the negativity wipe away from my back. I had to do what was right for me.

It’s amazing the decisions I can face and the responsibility that exists in being a YouTube Host. It’s not all fun and games and certainly, some days are much better than others.

PS. I am not here to tell you what to do. I’m documenting my story in the event one day, I need to remember my journey. 

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