Letter from the editor: Roots editor’s grandma makes masks for The Daily Evergreen newsroom

Linda Watland found skill of making masks a challenge, has made over 150 masks



Grandma sent her granddaughter back to WSU with many Cougar masks. They are still her favorite ones to wear.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen roots editor

My grandma, Linda Watland, has always had a charitable and creative side. This was something she passed on to me at a young age. 

She first taught me how to loom knit when I was five, and from there it progressed to crochet. She recently confessed to me that she did not think I could do it because knitting and crocheting take a lot of time and dedication to learn. But to this day, those are still some of my favorite activities to do on a cold night in front of the fire. 

We still knit together and my grandma has made over 100 hats for children in need. Prior to the pandemic, I volunteered at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in the neonatal intensive care unit. I was able to make hats and blankets for the babies. 

When the pandemic first began, the mask requirements were unclear, but it was definitely a challenge to find face coverings. That is when my grandma had the idea to start making masks for her friends and family. 

It became her quarantine challenge because this was the first time she had ever tried to sew something functional. 

“It took me a long time to get it right,” she said. 

My grandma did not like any of the original masks she made. She would cut them out and none of the patterns worked, she said. 

She learned how to make pleated masks on YouTube. 

The process of making a mask is a difficult one, she said. Figuring out how to put the nose pieces properly into the mask was a challenge. 

“I had to figure out how to get those into the mask…after they were sewn inside out,” she said. “You have to turn it right side and you have to leave a hole.”

My grandma made sure I was fully stocked on Cougar masks for the fall semester. They are still my favorite masks to wear. 

After I joined the newsroom in person this semester, I told my grandma the staff would not say no if she wanted to make us some Daily Evergreen masks. 

My grandma got some material called Evergreen, but thought it was just okay. To make up for it she surprised us all with Cougar masks in a new pattern. 

She was eventually able to find a pattern with evergreen trees on them, which will be the next shipment of masks the staff receives. 

So far, my grandma has made over 150 masks for family and friends because she enjoys giving back. She does not sell them. 

She lives in Vancouver, Washington with my grandpa and their dog, Brooklyn.