Community Quilts: Decorah Gals

I’ve started working with another local group of ladies from Decorah, Iowa.  They are quilters who started quilting together as part of their church group.
They are busy ladies and always helping in the area when there is a need.  Beyond that, they make many quilts for Lutheran World Relief.

Sue is my connection with that group.  I have known her daughter in law for many years as we are both childcare providers and attended many of the same classes.  It was fun to have a connection to Sue through her daughter in law.

The gals primarily tie quilts as that is what Lutheran World Relief prefers.  Here are some pictures of quilts that the gals recently finished.

Several of these tops were from the Cresco ladies.

Some were made with big squares which is a popular design for Lutheran World Relief.
There is often a dedication ceremony during church services to bless the hands of the ladies that made them and to bless the quilts as they go out.

Churches often have the quilts displayed on the pews like this on that day…
Here are the ladies working on a few of the quilts.

They aren’t a big group and due to Covid have a differing number of people who help with the project.

Backings are often sheets and are often brought to the front, flipped over, and sewn down.

Many of the quilts that go for LWR end up being used in a variety of ways other than what we typically think of a quilt for.  Some are hung in trees and provide shade for a family.  Some are used as a clean place to gather to eat.

I sent the ladies some fabric and some scraps and some tops in this last shipment.  Sue assured me that they do their best to use everything that is sent their way.

The blocks in the quilt below I believe were sent by a blog reader.

If anyone is in the Decorah area and is looking for a place to take unwanted fabric, contact me and I’ll get you in contact with Sue.

As with many groups who quilt for LWR they are always looking for fabric, batting, and sheets for backing.

If you want to know more about LWR, you can find their website page about quilting HERE.

It has been a pleasure to get to know Sue.  I loved that she shared some pictures of their group in action.  I think it’s important for all of you to see that fabric donations provide so much for the people who receive the quilts but also is a wonderful outlet to those making the quilts.  Often helpers are happy to have a way to be helpful.  It’s good for them to safely get out and socialize, quilting groups do just that!

Thanks to everyone who sent goodies that were passed on to this group.

Sue gave me a list and the group donated 225 quilts in 2020.  That is impressive.  They have gone for everything from LWR, to benefits, to women’s shelter, to homeless shelters, and more.  I feel so blessed to be a tiny resource for these busy, busy ladies.

13 thoughts on “Community Quilts: Decorah Gals”

  1. For our granddaughters we bought some books thru the Lutheran ministry out of Missouri. It shows the world life ministry. I love seeing the pictures of the women working together to make quilts. They probably hand tied them because sometimes it is quicker as a group to get the quilts done. Maybe they don’t have access to a long arm or a machine quilter. I’m sure Jo can answer that question better. I think it’s really wonderful.

  2. When I lived in Colorado (moved to Michigan 19 months ago), I was part of an LWR group. I attended a large Lutheran Church, so we had a morning group and an evening group which consisted of those of us who still worked,. The quilt squares are usually 21′ and each quilt uses 12 squares. Of course sometimes the squares were pieced, and I think the quilts were tied because it is a faster way to complete them. We did bring the back to the front and then the edges were machine stitched. Last few years I was there we finished approximately 200 quilts each year and we did a dedication putting them over the pews on the Sunday they were dedicated. After I left, the groups had many tubs of fabric donated from a lady who died. She wasn’t a member of our group but one of our members was her friend. We were able to get grants from Thrivent and we used that to purchase batting. I had heard that some quilts were even cut into smaller quilts by the recipient, so member of family each had one.

  3. Jo, according to the LWR site, “2. Tie the layers together using crochet or similar cord, or machine-quilt them together.” They are one of the few charities I know of that accepts tied quilts but I don’t think they necessarily prefer them.

  4. Our church ladies make between 30 to 40 quilts a month for LWR. But with the bombing LWR last I heard was not receiving any. We had major fires in Oregon so the ladies boxed up 80 quilts and sent them to fire relief groups. They are an awesome group of ladies.

  5. I’m quilting with the Lutherans today! We made 143 quilts last year but we only meet twice a week and less than ten of us usually. I am the cutter of squares and back maker. And fabric procurement specialist. One lady takes the squares and arranges them in a pleasing fashion. Another lady comes in and gets the completed fabric packages and sews up 3 tops a week. We have a group of tie-ers. I also bring out the sewing machine and usually sew up things during the session and make repairs. One lady who doesn’t go to our church came in and and now she is cutting the squares which frees me up to do other things. And we have a 94 yr old who does all the ironing. We miss Sally when she isn’t there. Fabric just appears. The word is out for us! Its such a rewarding event.

  6. Judith Fairchild

    The Assemblies of God’s women’s group do this also. I don’t know anymore how much is done. The Lutheran ladies in Mountain Home Arkansas make quilts and layettes for every baby at born at the local hospital. I’m sure they send some to the world relief too. They do stay busy.

  7. Earlier this year you asked for feedback on batting from Minnesota. Did you get any? We do LWR quilts at my church in DSM and am always looking for deals on batting.

  8. I tried to contact the local quilting group. They are closed. ?
    Ca p Hill Pa. 17011
    Can you let me know if there is a, local group I could send some materials to?
    Thank you

  9. Our church quilts stay in our city (population 180,000). Child Protection Services gets most of the kids quilts. We also cover the logo on new reuseable grocery bags with kid theme fabric then CPS uses them to pack up a child if they must be removed from unsafe situations. They were using plastic grocery bags that rip so this is an improvement for which they are grateful. “Ugly” fabric was sewn into 135 pairs of potholders (inside is fleece and/or flannel scraps) & donated to a mission that helps people get set up in their own home. A wise lady (age 85) told me “there’s plenty to do if we want to do it.”

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