Lutheran women make 100 quilts

Linda Daling and Rosemarie Hinderer work on tying a quilt. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Elonna Rejniak holds up a quilt square produced by Thelma Erskine from small scraps. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

When she came to the United Lutheran Church’s quilting day March 2, Karen Badten brought a newspaper clipping from 1979 that was recently given to her.

It shows 13 women behind one of the quilts created that year.

The women looked at the picture and saw many familiar faces, but commented that all those women have now passed away.

Now it is a new generation of retirees that are continuing the longstanding tradition of producing 100 quilts each year for Lutheran World Relief. The women meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday beginning after the New Year and ending sometime in April.

Ladonna Viebrock sews together pieces of batting at United Lutheran Church on March 2. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

They are operating with less hands than the previous generation, though. Seven gathered for the work at the church March 2. To make up for their lower numbers, some are coming in on Wednesdays. Badten and Elonna Rejniak also work throughout the year to produce backs and some of the tops for the quilts.

A friend, Thelma Erskine of Wenatchee, helps by sewing smaller scraps of fabric into tops or into squares that can be used to design the tops.

“She’s a big, big help,” Rejniak said of Erskine.

At the church on Fridays, each member seems to find her own job. Rejniak and her sister Ladonna Viebrock work to measure the batting and to pin on tops and backs. In this role they are the designers of the quilts, and produce many attractive patterns.

“We get to be a little artistic with what we have,” Rejniak said.

At a table, Lois Hinderer, Rosemarie Hinderer and Linda Daling were tying the quilts together at measured intervals with yarn.

Badten and Camille Viebrock finished up the quilts by binding the edges using sewing machines.

Camille Viebrock pins on binding which she will then sew with a machine to complete a quilt. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)

Throughout the hours the women are working they get a lot of socializing in.

“It’s never quiet,” Rejniak said.

The group has done well this year, producing 74 quilts so far.

During April, the quilts will be boxed up by Gateway Ministries members and then transported with contributions from other Lutheran churches in the area to Spokane, and then on to Maryland by train. A poster that Rosemarie Hinderer received from Lutheran World Relief shows that last year’s quilts that reached the Maryland warehouse were shipped to people in need in Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Georgia, Haiti, India, Iraq, Tanzania, Jordan, Peru and Serbia.

In addition to the quilts, the Lutheran women and other members of the church make hygiene kits for the relief agency. These include a comb, a toothbrush, nail clippers and two bars of soap wrapped in a bath towel.

The United Lutheran women also make some extra quilts to be given to the church’s high school graduates and to newlyweds.

The women make the tops and backs of quilts from donations. The tops are from donated fabric scraps and the backs are from donated bedding.

The group welcomes donations of scraps or bedding at any time, and they also welcome extra hands. The only requirement for being a volunteer is the ability to tie a knot. Those interested in helping or donating materials may contact Camille Viebrock at 745-8420.