The woman of the Northeast gives life to the sewing machine.
Some of us name our computers.
Some of us name our cars.
North East’s Janet Rose Wojtalik named her 1970s Kenmore sewing machine Wanda the Warrior months ago when she started making masks for Mask-Erie. The local Facebook group began in March connecting seamstresses with local organizations that wanted homemade masks.
Wanda came to life when Wojtalik started posting humorous Facebook posts that became so popular. Wanda got her own Facebook page … and 3,000 followers.
“It all started accidentally,” Wojtalik said.
She explained that she wasn’t a seamstress, but had a sewing machine and when Mask-Erie called for people to sew masks, she welcomed the distraction of the COVID- news. 19 with an activity that would help people.
“It all became global, but the weather was cold and there was nowhere to go,” she said. “We are called Sew Warriors”,
Wojtalik is an author, motivational speaker, and retired director of student support services in the Fairview School District. She is also an advocate and mentor for young women across the country with various national organizations. She is also the mother of two adult sons and holds a doctorate in educational leadership.
She used her creativity to add a sense of humor to the seriousness of mask making. While sewing hundreds of masks for Mask-Erie, Wojtalik’s interactions with the sewing machine sparked a dialogue. She didn’t just name the sewing machine, she used a bunch of chopped threads and scraps of hair fabric, added a mask like a scarf and a face … or lots of faces.
“I want to be an artist,” Wojtalik said with a laugh. Using markers and gel pens, she illustrated a variety of faces that conveyed different emotions depending on Wanda’s mood. And Wanda shared her daily routines and feelings of hope and angst in posts that always had a pun or 10.
Sewing puns included seam distancing, accentuated seams, increased tension, sophisticated sewing, fun shear, “we’re only hanging on a thread” and many more.
Wojtalik extended Wanda’s network and punnies, as she called them, to connections with pets, plants, friends, movies, and more.
Wanda has been in landfills and has been known to imbibe a few times, and Wojtalik has expressed his displeasure when Wanda gave in to the “beer pressure”, but the sewing machine took a bad attitude with this response : “Take a pitcher! It’s” will last longer! “
Wojtalik frequently uses a quote from someone famous and / or Wanda in Facebook posts with his own clever twist. Recently, “How it was sewn sewn late” – adapted from Dr. Seuss referring to the time that slipped away. And she continued with, “It’s like Wanda always says, ‘Whether it’s the best or the worst of times, this is the only time we have. Hard times never last, but hard people do. “”
Facebook friends and followers often took action by replying to Wanda’s messages. Some have named their own sewing machines, and many have shared equally clever punnies in a growing community.
The Facebook post series was so popular that Wojtalik self-published a book that is now for sale on Amazon with all proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
“Wanda the Warrior A Maskmaker’s Humorous Journey Through the Eyes of Her Sewing Machine” is now on sale on Amazon and via Lori Ion, owner of the Serendipity store in the northeast. So far, over 60 books have been sold. It sells for $ 17.99.
“I hope I can give St. Jude a nice big check,” Wojtalik said.
To see Wanda the Warrior on Facebook, visit https://www.facebook.com/wwmaskmaker.
Contact Pam Parker at [email protected] Follow her on twitter.com/HerTimesErie
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