October History of W-ELCA



Dedicated weekly quilting sessions began in the 1980’s, thanks to Pearl Johnson,

who established Tuesday morning get-togethers.


Attendance records kept in the 1990’s show that at least 20 women gathered regularly to quilt.  They set up three tables for tying, with five ladies at each table.  Ladies used treadle sewing machines to sew the pieces of fabric together.  Other ladies would cut apart jeans, men’s coats, drapes, flower sacks, and feed sacks to make the different layers of the quilts.


Sometimes, ladies at their circle meetings would cut out one-foot squares of material to be sewn together for quilt tops.  Every year, at least 100 quilts were sent to Lutheran World Relief. (pic)


In addition to the quilts made for Lutheran World Relief, Holmen Lutheran women responded to the April, 1997, flood in West Grand Forks, North Dakota, by sending three bed spreads, one baby quilt, six bed sheets, three wool blanks and 18 quilts.


To meet Lutheran World Relief requests for soap, the industrious women even cooked grease and made bars of soap to be sent to developing countries around the world.


Drop in Numbers


Through the years, the number of quilters has gradually dropped.  In the year 2000, about 10-13 women gathered weekly.  In 2012, four to eight women gathered weekly.  One table was set up for tying, two people sewed on electric sewing machines, and two to three people measured materials.  Many sheets, mattress pads, and other large material pieces, contributed by congregation members, make it easier to prepare the three layers of the quilts –the top, the filler, and the back.


In spite of the reduced number of workers, at least 100 quilts are sent to Lutheran World Relief each year by Holmen Lutheran women.


Thank you to all those women who diligently worked on sewing projects to benefit needy people around the world.