The mask maker

World language teacher Jenifer Farrell sends hand sewn masks to friends and family across the country


Evie Cuffaro

World language teacher Jenifer Farrell sews masks on her sewing machine.

Evie Cuffaro

Hundreds of colorful fabric pieces are stacked up to the ceiling. Scraps of string and elastic cover the table. There’s a pile of quilted fabric in the corner, ready to be sewn together with other quilters all over the internet in a “quilt along.” There’s a large basket full of freshly washed fabric that she will use to make masks.

This is French and Spanish teacher Jenifer Farrell’s basement, where she keeps her stash of supplies for her sewing and knitting projects. Most recently due to the pandemic, she’s used her crafting skills to make 3 layer masks to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Since March, she has sewn over 300 masks and given them to at least 150 different people.

“I realized pretty early on, around the time school was canceled, that we were going to have to be wearing masks,” she said. “And so I started sewing masks before it became mandatory.”

Farrell has never wanted to sell or make money off her masks. Instead, she wanted to use her sewing skills to help protect her friends and family during these uncertain times.
“I know enough people who need masks, and it’s been something that I can do to show them that I care about them,” she said. “It’s been neat that I could send out a little piece of love to them to say, ‘Hey, be careful.’”
Farrell has shared these homemade masks with her friends and coworkers. One of the first to receive a mask was social studies teacher Keith Mainland.

“She not only made them for me, but for my whole family,” Mainland said. “My daughter got one, my wife got one, I got one. They were all custom designs, I got one with the Union Jack and British stuff on it. My wife got one with cats on it.”

Her generosity isn’t just limited to friends in Colorado. She has sent masks all over the country, from the west coast to the east coast.
Stacey Hendrix met Farrell during grad school, and they have remained friends ever since. She now lives in Delaware, but the 1,805 miles between them didn’t stop Farrell from sending her a mask.

“She just sent them. It was a surprise,” said Hendrix. “There were a bunch (masks) in there. And she sent me a card with it, a really beautiful card with a note. I was just flabbergasted with the quality and the fabrics.”