The Lutheran group, Women of Life, are holding a raffle to raise money to purchase a wheel chair for St. Luke Lutheran Church of Traer, with the remainder of the proceeds to be donated to Christian Hands Across Traer (CHAT). The quilt can be viewed at the Farmers Savings Bank & Trust in Traer until August 6, when it will be displayed at the Lutheran Church booth during the Winding Stairs Festival.
The Lutheran women have a long tradition of quilt making and when the need for a wheel chair arose a suggestion was made to raffle a quilt. Betty Meggers made and donated the quilt top that was later hand quilted by church women from Waterloo.
The women from St. Luke Lutheran Church, Traer, started making quilts in the 1950's. At that time the quilts were donated to Lutheran World Relief. The ladies met once a week in the church basement from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or a bit later if a quilt was near completion. Some would cut, press or sew, while others would get the backing or the insides ready. All the women would break for lunch at noon. Usually they would bring their own sack lunch but occasionally they would eat out.
Two long banquet tables were put together side by side for width and both were marked for length. Each quilt measured 60x80.
All scraps were kept in a separate box and would be used on corners or edges. One unique use was to cover mason bricks. These were used as weight to hold the pieces in place so they could be tied with colorful yarn. These are still used today.
Every piece of material, whether for the top, backing or insides was donated. Frequently a call went out to parishioners for donations. Sometimes these were made by word of mouth, phone calls or a plea put in the church bulletin.
Since most of the women were farmers wives they decided to meet from January through March. This allowed them to not be away from home during planting and harvesting. Women could always help their husbands by running errands or being a "gopher-go".
As the years passed and the church changed synods the destination for the quilts did also. Some went to Latin American Missions and others were given to needy people during a weather related crisis.
The quilts were displayed on the backs of the church pews during the first week of April. The presiding Pastor would give them a "special Blessing" to send them on their way. This nice touch is still followed today.
MaryAnn Drinovsky set up shop in the church basement for two days a week, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone willing to help was encouraged to attend. Many weeks she was alone and faithful to the cause. After her accident and subsequent living at the Traer Care Center, Betty Meggers took over the quilting. Rather than doing it at church she decided to use her home. She starts the week after Christmas and works through April. She sets a goal of 20 quilts each year.
Her love of quilting began with her mother, who was also a quilter. A pieced top was made for each of Betty's sons. These were later quilted by the Amish and given to her sons.
Betty likes to embroider also and she has in turn made a quilt for her two sons, a granddaughter for a wedding gift, and a grandson who will be married in late August. She has also embroidered one for her own use and has just completed the 50 state flowers.
Raffle tickets may be purchased at Farmers Savings Bank & Trust, Traer or from any of the Women of Life. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn at 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug 8 during the Winding Stairs Festival.