Pittsburgh Mask Maker Spotlight: Pittsburgh Crochet Co. | Coronavirus | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh Mask Maker Spotlight: Pittsburgh Crochet Co.

click to enlarge Pittsburgh Black and gold mask - PHOTO: GRACIE HENDERSON
Photo: Gracie Henderson
Pittsburgh Black and gold mask
Since the beginning of the pandemic, designers, artists, and sewing hobbyists have taken to their sewing machines to fill the demand of masks for the public to wear. Pittsburgh City Paper is taking a look behind the scenes and highlighting local mask makers.

Name: Gracie Henderson
Business: Pittsburgh Crochet Co.
Neighborhood: Homewood
@pghcrochetco on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook
Etsy: etsy.com/shop/PittsburghCrochetCo

What led you to start making masks?
I spent the first few weeks of the pandemic feeling like there was nothing I could do to help, until I saw some other people making masks. I had just launched my crochet business about a week before the pandemic started to get really serious, and realized I had the skills to make masks so I could help in a small way.

What considerations did you make when designing and developing masks?
I wanted to make sure the masks fit well and were comfortable. I use soft yarn and cotton to try to minimize irritation for people with sensory issues, and I made sure they were breathable for people with disabilities that made it hard to breathe in a mask.

What challenges have you encountered while mask making?
The first mask I made was absolutely terrible, and the second one wasn’t much better. I guess the third time's a charm because that’s when I figured out some of the tricky parts of the pattern and it finally looked like a functional mask!

I would like to thank my fiancé Cole, who helps me with the sewing part of the mask making process. We don’t have a sewing machine so making the liners was very time consuming, until Cole stepped in — they can make a beautiful liner lightning fast. I would not have been able to keep up with the mask orders if Cole had not stepped up to help.
click to enlarge Cole modeling a mask in black - PHOTO: GRACIE HENDERSON
Photo: Gracie Henderson
Cole modeling a mask in black
How long does it take for you to complete one crocheted mask?
It takes around two hours total — about 1.5 hours for the crocheting, and a half hour to sew in the cotton liners.

Can people purchase your masks, and if so, where?
Masks can be purchased from my Etsy shop, by sending me a message on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, and by emailing me at pghcrochetco@gmail.com. If anyone is experiencing some financial hardship, I donate one mask for every two I sell, and I have some donation slots open! Free masks can be requested by sending me a message on my socials or emailing me.

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