As the Calmar Lutheran Quilters say,“When life throws you scraps, make a quilt.” In the crazy quilt of life, a block of ladies come together each week to make a difference one stitch at a time at the Calmar Lutheran Church.
Shirley Steggall, president of Calmar Lutheran Welca (Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) takes moment from sewing a quilt together to explain, “We make a quilt for each of our graduating seniors, twelve last year, plus we do lap robes for anyone who turns eighty and baby blankets for any baby/child baptism.” Another big project is making quilts and care kits for the Lutheran World Relief, besides state and local places in need of warm quilts.
Most of the group consists of retired ladies, who instead of taking life easy they share their talents one morning a week to help their fellow parishioners and work on warming the world. The group was busy finishing tie quilts to be shipped out soon, along with other care kits. Visiting the group of about twenty industrious senior ladies recently, each had their own role in making the quilts for the needy as each lady used a big round table on the main floor in the Fellowship Hall to drape her quilt over. Some were pinning, some tying, while Shirley Steggall was busy stitching material together on her sewing machine. They use three sheets for the tie quilts instead of using batting for Lutheran Relief.
They also make lap robes for the Veterans Hospital in Iowa City. They have also given quilts to the police force for victims, abused women, fires and disasters locally. They also give quilts to Bremwood Lutheran Services in Waverly, where children and teens receive mental health services who have severe emotional or behavioral disorders. Some, though not all, have experienced past abuse or neglect.
Much of the material for quilts and diapers for the needy is donated; many come from The Depot Outlet. The Depot sets aside barely used sheets for church organizations and give them to the groups for free. They also make diapers for baby care kits and get other care packages together. In 2012, they sent 151 quilts to Lutheran World Relief (two years= 323), nine Personal Care Kits (two years= fifteen), 57 School Kits (two years= 97), 88 Baby Care Kits (two years=169), five fabric Kits (two years = eleven), twelve blankets (two years = 37).
When the morning is over, some of the husbands begin to show up for the “potluck” lunch, and let me tell you these ladies aren’t only expert quilters, they are fantastic in the culinary arts department as well.
This block of ladies with still nimble hands have long ago realized, “As ye sew, so shall ye rip.” ~Author Unknown