By Katy Savage
If you see someone wearing a fabric facemask in the Killington area, it was likely made by Jane Johnson.
Johnson has made 70 facemasks so far for employees at Killington Market, Sushi Yoshi, Sunup Bakery, iPie Pizzaria, the Killington town office, Mountain Merchant and BJ’s Wholesale Club. She’s also given masks to the post office workers as well as FedEx and UPS drivers.
“It’s really fun to go into these stores and see everyone wear them,” Johnson said.
Johnson started sewing 25 years ago, after she and her husband bought their first home.
“I started making window treatments in our house,” she said.
Johnson soon started making window treatments for friends and family in addition to table cloths and baby gifts.
The Vermont Department of Health started recommending that everyone wear a mask or cover their face in public on April 6, but Johnson started the masks weeks before that from leftover cotton squares she had from a quilt project.
Johson based the pattern for her masks on one she found online.
She calls the masks “mask swag.” It takes about 15 minutes to complete each one.
“It’s cute and fashionable in a Vermont way,” she said. “It’s very distinctive—checkered patterns and plaids of all colors. They’re bright and cheerful. I try to make patterns so they appeal to everybody.”
Like other restaurants, Sushi Yoshi is closed to the public, but still accepting takeout orders. Sushi Yoshi co-owner Nate Freund said his employees, who have worn ski masks every day, would welcome Johnson’s masks.
Johnson’s brother Christopher Weiss, of Washington, D.C., has worn Johnson’s masks on bike rides everyday.
“She shipped them down here,” he said. “I didn’t have access to much of a facemask. They’re hard to find.”
Weiss said Johnson has always found a way to be active in her community.
“It’s what Jane does,” he said.
Johnson and her husband moved to Killington from Pennsylvania full time two years ago, after owning a condominium at Mountain Green for about 10 years.
Johnson’s husband teaches at Fordham Law School in New York City a few days a week while Johnson is an ambassador at Killington Resort. Johnson also recently obtained her Vermont real estate license.
“We feel such a great sense of community in Killington,” she said.
Johnson’s neighbor Sue Durant has also made fabric masks for homecare workers at the Visiting Nurses Association as well as friends and family.
Johnson and Durant have also exchanged materials so they don’t have to go to the store. Durant estimates she’s made 44 masks.
“It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something positive for the community,” Durant said.
Johnson said she’s still taking orders for people who want masks.
“It’s honestly almost selfish because it’s been so much fun for me,” she said. “It’s providing something that may in some little tiny way help. I’m here to make them for whoever wants them.”