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Quilting Club makes quilts for Lutheran World Relief

By Staff | Mar 12, 2012

The First Lutheran Church Quilting Club not only helps keep people warm and comfortable all over the world, but locally, as well.

This ambitious group of 15-20 ladies meets on Mondays to make quilts at the church. Many of the quilts are sent to a warehouse where they are baled and sent to wherever needed. The ones sent overseas are used for blankets, room dividers, floor coverings and whatever else for which they are needed.

Some of the club’s quilts go to people who have suffered a tragedy, such as Hurricane Katrina a few years back. Babies receive a quilt when baptized at the church. Each high school graduate from Rugby’s First Lutheran family receives a quilt, as well. The local law enforcement officers carry one of these quilts in their cars. Kids at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in Minot receive quilts from this quilting club. As they are discharged, each inmate at the North Dakota Correctional Center in Mandan receives one of these quilts through Heart River Lutheran Church in Mandan.

The ladies also make a special quilt for the Heart of America Hospice raffle and one for Metigoshe Ministries.

The church basement is the perfect location for all the stations needed to complete a quilt. The church owns a few sewing machines for the ladies to use. Tables are set up near each other to keep the process going steady.

This group uses squares of material or squares made from old clothes, for the mass-produced quilts. Two of the ladies have the job of tearing old clothing apart from which to make squares. For another member of the club, cutting squares is her job. Another irons sheets to use as backing. Once the squares are machine-sewn together to make a quilt, the quilt-size cloth is laid on a board and batting is measured to fit it. One lady is the pin lady. She pins the quilt to its backing. She said she enjoys this simple job. Two ladies work on tying the quilts. All around the room, the ladies are visiting as they work.

Many of the ladies have made quilts a good part of their lives and really enjoy the process. A few just enjoy helping in whatever way they can. Volunteers are always welcome to the group.

“The fellowship is the best part,” said Wanda Nielsen, one of three ladies who have been with the club the longest. The other two are Mona Johnson and Norma Blessum. Other members of the group are: Janet Johnston, Judy Jelsing, Betty Hillman, Toni Traeger, Elisabeth Wiederoder, Leila Lehmann, Rita Bercier, Jan Norsby, Shirley Lagerquist, Pam Anderson, Tammy Fossum, Jan Repnow, Tamera Oppen, Audrey Michalenko, Helen Myhre, Bonnie Teigen, Esther McClintock, Harriet Kreklau, Delores Berg, Esther Smith and Alice Hersey.

The ladies like that their quilts are going to help so many people.

Generous supporters donate money for supplies, and others give money in memory of former quilt makers. The club receives donations of material, clothing, thread, yarn, etc. The ladies laugh as they explain they only purchase material if they can get it for $2 or less and they buy cheap sheets for backing.

The club makes about 8-10 quilts each Monday, give or take a few. Last year they made 250 quilts from September to April and they take the month of December and the summers off.

A storeroom with built -in shelves in the church basement houses the quilts as they are completed. One box reads: baby blankets. Special quilts are quilts that are made for a specific purpose, such as raffles. These are kept separate from the others so they don’t get accidentally sent overseas. As one glances in the room, there is shelf upon shelf filled with all different colored quilts.

At the end of the quilting season, the quilts are hung over the pews at First Lutheran Church on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. They are blessed on Palm Sunday and then sent on their way.

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