OTHELLO — Putting together eight quilts a week is no small feat. However, a group of ladies in Othello does it in a morning.
A group of approximately 25 ladies gets together each Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. during the school year at Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 640 E Elm St. to make quilts.
“I call them the Lutheran Quilting Ladies,” said Jenn Stevenson, the youngest member of the group by at least a generation. “They laugh at me. I’m not sure what else to call it. We are a non-denominational group of ladies that attend different churches. We always pray at some point during our little meeting.”
The group is open to anyone who wants to join, even if they don’t have previous sewing or quilting experience. Physical limitations are also not a hindrance.
“We have one lady who can drive, but can’t stand,” Stevenson said. “She takes the pieces that have been ironed and pins them together.”
The quilting group has been going on for many years. Over the years, an assembly line style process has been perfected. Some people, like Stevenson, cut squares. Some iron the fabric or match the fabric colors together. Others sew the squares together, while some tie the quilt fronts and backs together.
“All different abilities are there,” said Stevenson. “Our goal is to make eight quilts a week. We always make it.”
While the group has one goal, Stevenson has another goal – to keep up.
“I don’t want to be the one link that makes everyone else get behind,” Stevenson said.
Twice a year, the group brings the quilts into the church sanctuary and sorts them. A majority of the quilts are sent to Lutheran World Relief (LWR). Some are set aside for the children at the Bailie Memorial Youth Ranch in Franklin County. The rest are distributed to the homeless in Othello.
According to numbers that Sharon Bray, the leader of the group, put in her church newsletter, the group completed 302 quilts between May 2018 and April 2019.
“The quilt distribution this year was 231 to LWR, 25 for the Othello Christmas baskets, 20 for the California fires, 23 to various local donations, and three were purchased,” said the newsletter.
Before distribution, the quilts are laid out over benches in the sanctuary. When attendees come for Wednesday evening service, they sit on the blankets and bless them.
Quilts are for sale throughout the year for $100. The money goes to purchasing more quilt supplies. The group also takes donations of fabric, yarn and money.
“My goal is to be there three hours every Wednesday morning,” said Stevenson. “It is my sanity. It is fun. There is banter and laughing. We talk about things in the community and our lives. We make fun of each other. No matter what someone’s age is, we’re all the same. When we have a common cause, we’re all the same.”
Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.