Quilters gain fellowship by stitching together and giving back

by TaLeiza Callowaynews@thenewsleaders.com

Sunday is not the only day for fellowship at Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph. About 12 women and members of the congregation find fellowship and more during their weekly quilting gatherings on Wednesdays.

The women have been meeting since 2006 and have made quilts for organizations statewide and beyond. Quilter Ellen Chovan said the group began at the suggestion of a church intern years ago and never looked back.

“It’s a reason for us to get together,” Chovan said, “so we can fellowship and do some good in the community.”

In the last seven years, the women have donated 175 quilts for various causes. They include the People’s Church in Bemidji, Anna Marie’s Alliance in St. Cloud, Lutheran World Relief in Minneapolis and Habitat for Humanity. Most of the materials used are donated, and sometimes they host fundraisers to get additional supplies. Chovan said they sometimes plan shop hops to go buy supplies together.

Eloise Westby is the group’s historian. Westby, who lives in Cold Spring, said when the ladies first started to meet, they used traditional quilt patterns but have evolved over time.

“We’ve gotten fancier,” Westby said with a smile.

This growth could be seen on a recent Wednesday as the women worked on a quilt made from strips of cloth with varying designs and color. The quilt was being made on behalf of the Heritage Quilters for the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, a place that offers support for veterans. Westby is also member of the Heritage Quilters group, she said. Often, the women bring personal projects or team up on group efforts.

On that same Wednesday, some of the quilters also worked on fleece blankets to be given to graduating seniors of the church, an annual tradition. Cindy Klocker of St. Joseph likes the gesture of the blankets.

“It’s just a nice remembrance for our students who are graduating,” Klocker said.

Klocker said she has quilted for years but has learned a lot about sewing from the Wednesday gatherings. St. Joseph resident Kay Reardon makes a point not to miss out on Wednesdays. She says she works so sometimes she comes dressed for work so she can quilt first before going to her job.

“I really like coming here,” Reardon said.

Her fellow quilters share her feelings. Whether it’s sharing stories about recent trips, family or a newly discovered quilting pattern, the fellowship hall at Resurrection Lutheran Church turns into a living-room setting filled with friends on Wednesdays.

Nancy Holy of St. Cloud joined the quilting group shortly after it got started in 2006. Wednesdays are like a day out for her.

“I look forward to Wednesdays,” Holy said. “It’s just nice to get together. We have a lot of fun.”

Rene Krueger of Waite Park has been sewing her whole life, so the weekly quilting group is familiar territory. From 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays she is in her element.

“I like the camaraderie,” Krueger said.

Bonnie Kabe also likes the camaraderie that comes from the weekly gatherings. For her that’s what Wednesdays are all about.

“You become friends,” Kabe said. “That’s the best part.”

[/media-credit] Ellen Chovan talks March 20 about one of the many quilts a group of women made at Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph. The women make quilts in support of different causes.

[/media-credit] Cindy Klocker of St. Joseph cuts cloth March 20 for a fleece blanket at Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph.

[/media-credit] Quilters (from left to right) Eloise Westby, Rene Krueger and Bonnie Kabe work on a quilt March 20 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in St. Joseph.

[/media-credit] Quilters meet every Wednesday at Resurrection Lutheran Church to make quilts that have been donated to various causes statewide and beyond.





TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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