Winery owner finds it’s a good year to sew face masks

The longtime quilter switched to mask making as soon as her supply of elastic came in. Her fabrics are washable and include cheerful colors and prints.

Kristin Twait is making masks for local healthcare workers, using her grandmother's Bernina sewing machine and fabrics she collected for quilting. Patterns with flowers, flip-flops and sweets were chosen to bring a splash of bright color and cheer to an often somber situation. (Submitted photo)

A local quilter has set aside her usual artwork and devoted her sewing time to making protective face masks for friends, family and healthcare workers.

Kristin Twait owns Forestedge Winery with her husband, Steve. Lately, she has been working alongside her granddaughter, Rebecca, a senior at Concordia College in Moorhead who has been riding out the COVID-19 pandemic with them.

“We will have made over 175 face masks by the end of this week and will continue to work on making more,” Twait said Monday. “We will be donating masks to Access North Center for Independent Living and the Lakeport firefighters this week.”

What inspired her, she said, was “just wanting to try to protect the people I love and the people in the area. The first batch I made was 35 face masks that went out to friends and family. Then, I started widening it out. I’ve done another 50-batch that I gave to CHI St. Joseph’s hospital. … I just started making some for the community members who I know could use one.”

Twait’s sister got her into quilting 20 years ago. She exhibits her work at the winery and donates it wherever needed.


“I’ve always been part of quilt groups, and make quilts for the vets and wounded warriors,” she said. “It’s just something I can do, and it’s a way that I can give back to the community.”

With the need for more personal protective equipment, she found another way to give back.

“I have lots of fabric,” said Twait. “I was lucky enough to be able to get elastic online, so I’ve just been sewing ever since I got the elastic. I’m sewing on my grandma’s machine” – a Bernina brand machine, more than 50 years old. “She bought the best machine she could at the time, the best that she could afford. It’s all I ever sew on.”

Twait’s masks come in a variety of pretty colors and prints.

“I am a colorful person,” she explained. “Everything I sew has color. It just makes you happy. They’re bright.”

Ordinarily, she said, “a face mask is ‘blah’ and boring to the world. I’ve made some with flip-flops on them, just to make people smile. If you can ease somebody’s stress or make them smile in some way, you’ve accomplished something in this.”

It seems like a pity to wear these fashionable face masks once and throw them away. But don’t tell Twait that.

“Oh, no, no, no,” she gasped. “These are meant to be washed, worn, washed, worn, washed and worn. And washed. They’re meant for multiple use.”


Made from 100 percent cotton according to CDC guidelines, they could start a fashion that could outlast the pandemic. Twait laughed about the possibility.

“There’s many, many, many people who are sewing (masks) and donating in the area,” she said.

Meanwhile, plans to open the winery are up in the air, since there’s no knowing yet whether it will be safe to have tastings or events like the annual Forestedge Art Fair or live music on the patio.

“We’re waiting to see what the governor says, for when we can even open, and then try to figure out a safe way to do it once we have the OK,” she said.

Whether or not it turns out to be a good year for the winery, Twait said, “It will be the year to remember, for sure. I have no doubt, all of us small businesses are going to suffer. Let’s just hope that the suffering isn’t so deep that we can’t come back.”

Twait, at right, said her granddaughter Rebecca has been helping her make face masks, assisting in the winery and studying online. A senior at Concordia College, Moorhead, Rebecca graduates May 2. (Submitted photo)

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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