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Helping to put on mask on COVID

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When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit a few local crafters switched from quilts and other wares to handmade face masks to help protect the most vulnerable and those who desired to further protect themselves.
While there was some demand that has continued through the summer months, it was the Aug. 20 announcement that Prairie Mountain Health was moving to level orange and it would be mandatory for all persons in the region to don a mask in public that really bumped up local production.
With the short notice given by the Province, and a vast number of people not already owning a mask, sewing machines could practically be heard humming in unison around the Valley.
One of the people bumping up production was 16-year-old Brittan Yaschyshyn, who began sewing at 10 years old and started her own company – Lil Babes Scrunchie Co. – last summer.
“I like to sew for myself so I started making scrunchies for first me and then my sisters,” said Yaschyshyn. “They commented that they were something they would be willing to pay for and so I started making some for others.
“I made a post to Instagram and then eventually Facebook and I was really busy through Christmastime with that.”
Her love for sewing started when she took a local quilting class with her mother and has built with the help of plenty of YouTube videos.
“I love watching people make clothes and seeing what they do, Yaschyshyn said. “I’ve now made a couple quilts and some clothes and hats.”
While masks weren’t in high demand locally, Yaschyshyn decided to put her days of social distancing to use and refine a mask pattern she had found online to fit different age groups so that her customers going to the city would have some protection.
“I played around with different shapes and patterns, finding the right sizes and materials to make them easier to breath through and more comfortable to wear,” said Yaschyshyn.
So far she’s sewn more than 150 masks but that will change as she enters her Grade 11 year at the SVRSS this week.
“Normally my year would have been filled with school, golf, baseball and hockey but instead I’ve done a lot of sewing and even got a job,” Yaschyshyn said.
“But, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve been able to spend sewing. I like to be creating and match up different fabrics and see the end result.
“It feels good when I go to work and see someone walk in wearing one of my masks,” she concluded. “It’s neat to see them in use and they like them and are wearing them.”