A labor of love

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2018

Church group create 50 to 60 quilts every year to give people both near and far

The Dorcas circle at First Baptist Church in Clarks Grove has been doing its part to help out in the local community as well as communities in need all over the world.  Dorcas, the group’s namesake, was a woman in the Bible who used her hands to make things and show her love for the poor and less fortunate by giving her creations to charity.

Meeting once a month for about five hours a day, the circle members get together at the church to craft quilts they donate to relief efforts or community events in the area as well as around the globe.

When the circle started back in the early 1970s, the group made fewer than 10 quilts a year. However, thanks to advancements in technology, the group now makes between 50 and 60 quilts each year.

“Back when I joined, they were still using a cardboard template,” said Pat Draayer. “We did not have the nice cotton materials — we just took clothes apart. We were lucky to get out six quilts a year. Then came along the rotary cutter and electric sewing machines, and oh man, then we really had it down.”

Members of the congregation or community donate all of the fabric that the circle uses to make the quilts. The Dorcas said they never seem to run out of anything, but they are always looking for more donations.

Although the circle only meets once a month, they do a lot of work for the club outside of their monthly meetings as well.

Many of the women take the quilts and fabrics home with them to get some of the materials cut or sewn before their next meeting.

“We do quite a bit of homework each month,” said circle member Jody Nechanicky.

Normally the club has 12 members who attend their meeting each month, but due to many of the members going south to avoid the cold, they only have five crafters during the winter months.

Quilt-making is a long and multi-step process. Members of the circle are able to stay on their toes by working on many different quilts at different stages of the process at the same time.

First, all of the materials must be cut to exactly the right size. Then a design needs to be laid out, followed by the design being stitched together — and that’s just one side. That doesn’t include the other side, the stuffing in the middle or sewing and tying the pieces together at the end.

Some of the quilts made go to local organizations or families who have been struck by tragedy, while some of the quilts make it as far as Honduras to help the less fortunate there.

Most recently, the club donated 45 of their quilts to relief efforts in Houston to victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Although many of the ladies had different reasons as to why they enjoy making the quilts, all of their end reasoning’s were nearly the same.

“All of these quilts have been wrapped in prayer,” said circle member Maryalice Hanson. “It just puts a smile on your face knowing that now we get to give this to someone and how delightful it would be to snuggle under that.”

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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