LUCKY NUMBER 13
The number 13 is lucky for some and not so lucky for others.
For First Lutheran Church women quilters, the number 13 is lucky. It took women of the church 13 Mondays to fabricate 230 quilts.
Every year Lutherans across the U.S. sew quilts and assemble kits of supplies that Lutheran World Relief sends to partners around the world that request them to meet the needs of people affected by poverty and disaster.
Mission Quilts were one of the earliest forms of aid that Lutherans sent through LWR to reach out to people in other parts of the world.
Lutheran World Relief, partnering with other agencies, reports that 305,490 quilts were shipped to the warehouses of St. Paul and Maryland in 2017.
Most of the quilts go to Africa while many others go to Angola, Georgia (Russia), Mauritania, Niger and South Sudan.
The tradition of Lutheran World Relief quilt making started just after World War II with quilts being sent to refugees in Europe.
In addition to quilts donated to Lutheran World Relief, blankets, school kits, personal care kits, fabric kits, baby care kits and soap are collected and sent to LWR.
First Lutheran quilters spend about seven hours each Monday, working on quilts that are sent to Lutheran world Relief. The talented quilters, led by Kaye Toquam, coordinator of the project, began their project on Monday, Jan. 7 and finished their work on Monday, April 8.
"It's a fun project and gives us an outlet for sociability," remarked quilter Dona Gullickson. Marilyn Heinz and Phyllis Peterson are longtime quilters, both logging around 25 years of quilting experience at First Lutheran.
"These quilters bring our community together," Toquam says.
Each Monday, the quilters work on fabric that measures 60 by 80 inches. Lucille Peterson has donated much of the material used to craft the quilts. Memorial monies are also used to purchase supplies.
Fabric squares brought to the church by the quilters are part of the process, which may include 12 21-inch squares or 48 11-inch squares.
No pattern is used during the work project. The quilt bottoms are made of old sheets. "The ladies turn scraps into a thing of beauty," Toquam observed.
The top is donated fabric sewn together and hand tied. The tops are taken home where one of the quilting steps is completed. Two sewing machines are in action most of the days and on the final day of quilting March 19, Bev Hoveland and Doreen Blome were operating the sewing machines.
Only one Monday was missed by the quilters during the Jan. 7 to April 8 timeline. And, that was due to a nasty blizzard on Monday, Feb. 25. Quilting was called off for that day.
As many as 25 quilters can show up on any given Monday. Quilters usually work from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The 230 total is slightly below the 232 total of two years ago.
All quilts are sent to Lutheran World Relief with the exception of 10 that are kept back.
One is kept for the BP Cancer Group auctions in September, one for the BP Education Foundation auctions in March, one for the BP Youth Club auction in February and one for the Good Earth Village Bible Camp fundraiser. Five are also designated to be sold at the Country Store during the day of the BP Lutefisk Dinner in October.
The homemade quilts were displayed by the church women on Palm Sunday, April 14. These beautiful quilts were attractively draped over church pews and over the front altar railing.
The quilts were dedicated during a special ceremony at church services on Palm Sunday.
On the Monday after Palm Sunday, the quilts were boxed and ready for shipment to the Lutheran World Relief warehouse in St. Paul.
Local trucker Rick Hansen, also a member of First Lutheran, transports the quilts free of charge.
Upon arrival in St. Paul, the quilts are removed from the boxes, bailed and labeled for shipment to wherever Lutheran World Relief finds a need, Toquam said.