A threaded needle, a silver thimble, a small scissors, and a willing spirit are tools of the trade for women of Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church. About 15 to 20 women meet each Tuesday morning to quilt and tie projects for mission at the church.
“This is therapy for me,” said Marilyn Ratzlaff. “I come here for my own mental health program, to work together with these women. It gives me purpose.”
Intricate stitches take concentration, but the women in the three or four sewing circles find time to visit and enjoy one another’s company.
“Some of us here are former career women,” Ratzlaff said. “We have teachers, accountants, and secretaries here. This gives us something to do.”
The women quilt and tie bedspreads and comforters for all sizes of beds. Members of the group or other church acquaintances piece the tops or assemble the projects.
“This quilt was just made from throwaway scraps,” Marion Graumann said. “Those scraps were turned into something useful and beautiful.”
The women donate all of the finished quilts and blankets to Mennonite Central Committee. They take them to the North Newton office and then workers there send the quilts to countries where people have suffered from disaster or disease need them for warmth.
“This is a mission for our church,” said Marilyn Jost. “We enjoy contributing as we can.”
Alice Jost said the group completes ties about two blankets each week, but the quilting projects take longer.
“The only time we don’t meet on Tuesday is if the weather is bad, and we have had some of that this year, so our total might be down, but we donate quite a few blankets over the course of a year,” Jost said.