Submitted by Fran Baatz
Since the late 1960’s, Sheridan Lutheran Church has had a long and deeply personal role in Lutheran World Relief quilting. I myself am a second-generation member. I remember how happy my mother would get on the days leading up to when she would meet with this wonderfully, committed group of women each month.
On the day of meetings she would pack the car (she had just learned to drive herself and was so proud of the fact that she could now depend on herself to get there), with her heavy yet still portable sewing machine, and other supplies needed for a morning of conversation and hard work, it was also an enjoyable time with ladies she deeply admired. Many of our former pastor’s wives were even involved with this wonderful group and it gave each member an added opportunity to know them better.
Some of those same women still meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month and are as anxious as ever to produce these wonderful blankets that become everything from clothing to walls and floors throughout the world through Lutheran World Relief. Many quilts also go to our own Barnabas Community. We also make lap robes for some of our local care facilities. A fact each woman takes as much pride in producing as ever. It’s been my honor to have joined this group myself and can now understand how happy it made Mom being a part of this worthy cause. These days are filled with conversation and future plans in progress of the continuation of these efforts. In general, “a well-oiled machine” (pun intended) of laying out the layers of each quilt and securing them with pins so others can tie them by hand while others occupy sewing machines to trim and sew the edges.
We set goals for completing the number of quilts to equal those in attendance that day so everyone is needed to fulfill these numbers.
Currently, our group is made up of approximately 12-13 women but not all are able to come every time. We would like to encourage anyone with an interest in helping us to come to join in the fun. Experience isn’t really necessary; we can certainly help you learn. Or even consider the idea of making top pieces by picking up scraps and taking them home to make tops to contribute.
We have been equally blessed by the involvement of Thrivent Action Teams who have given us grants to purchase supplies including last year’s special gift of a beautiful new sewing machine to replace some of the old ones we have had to retire. A recent Thrivent Action Team will be used to purchase bolt material (for backs) and sewing thread along with other supplies. We continue to praise God for these gifts.
One of our greatest help comes from our congregation in their efforts to provide us with scrap material for the quilts. Each month we are surprised to find gifts of material left in our quilting area. What a blessing these scraps are. As we divide the scraps by color we are continually surprised and blessed by the outpouring of help from our fellow church families. Each color is then sorted into bins of like colors to be used for our quilts, and in turn, those of us with sewing machines at home take scraps home to make the quilt tops we bring the next time. Each top measures 60 inches by 80 inches (big enough to fit a twin sized bed if needed). An interior piece of often pieced flannel or sheets from the thrift stores or garage sales (this is also a need we have as we look forward to spring and the start of Garage sale season). Then the backing measures 64 by 84 inches leaving enough to turn over the edges to a finished quilt. We continue to be truly blessed!
For more information about this ministry, contact the church office.