A group of five quilters at Bethany Lutheran Church, Deer River, have eagerly waited for the day to be back together again, quilting and enjoying one-another’s fellowship.
Kathy Johnson, Barb Baker, Barb Tornes, Robbie Osse and Pat Tarbell said they have been quilting for the last 17 years.
And one other celebration? The five are fully vaccinated.
“We meet once a week and try to meet through the winter, and summer is hit or miss,” Tarbell said. “But of course we didn’t meet last winter. Today [Wednesday] we are working on tying quilts for a shelter in Bena. We have tied three quilts today.”
The group makes twin size quilts, baby quilts and kid quilts.
“Fabric is donated, and most of it we have purchased throughout the years. We use to have quilt sales. And that money would be used to buy more fabric. We have been asking our congregation to donate sheets for the back,” Tarbell said.
These ladies usually quilt from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For the Bena shelter, they are going to keep making them as long as they need them, and some may go on to the Cass Lake Shelter.
“If they get too many, they will pass them on to Cass Lake,” Tarbell said.
It was five or six weeks ago, these Deer River women started meeting again.
“Most of us go to Bethany Lutheran Church, but we invite others to come as well,” Tarbell stated.
She continued, “We have made pillow cases, hats for King School and crocheted hats for newborns, quilts for graduating seniors, quilts for seniors in the community and delivered and visited with them, quilts for the local hospital, nursing home, Lutheran World Relief Missions and baby quilts for the hospital. As well as, covid masks, cancer care bags for our infusion center and port protectors.”
“When we first built our church, we purchased our paraments for the alter, tables and chairs for fellowship, dishwasher for the kitchen and made a lot of banners,” Tarbell said. “When we first started we were doing two quilt sales a year, when we first built.”
At each sale, 30 to 40 quilts are sold and there has never been more than seven quilters in their quilting group.
Baker, a quilter at Bethany Lutheran said years ago, they first started coming up to the area for the summer at their cabin on Deer Lake.
“And we came to the church and saw what was going on, and that was nine years ago. I was a quilter before, and it’s a good group of friends, who have tremendous relationships with one another,” Baker said.
“It’s just a fun group,” Torness said. “Our group has gotten smaller. We get together and have a good time. It’s a Bethany family.”
Osse explained these ladies get together, but it’s the fellowship they become.
“We bring and share lunch and have coffee. I love getting together and seeing people pick up our projects, and getting them into the hands that need them. It’s just a wonderful group to belong to and see what we can do in the community.”
Over the years, the ladies feel like it’s been well over 1,000 quilts they have made. Several of the ladies sewed thousands of COVID-19 masks, including making some for King Elementary School, and supplied masks for Maplewood and Essentia Health.
Johnson stated, “I just think this is awesome. When they first asked me to join, it was my Grandma day on Wednesday, and I wasn’t able to. But now I can. We work together well. And everyone is so happy with what they get. And we are just happy to help out the community.”