BROOKVILLE – A group of quilters meet in the basement of the Evangelical United Methodist Church in Brookville to sew patchwork quilts and teddy bears to give to those in need.
Peggy Willeumier is one of the original members of the group which first began making quilts to send to people. She has taken on a leadership role in the group, and says the quilts have “become my passion” since she retired.
The group meets weekly on Wednesday mornings to work on their quilts and teddy bears. As they finish their projects, they send them to different groups that need them. Their quilts have gone to the Sioux Native American Tribe in South Dakota, to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to many more places.
Just last month the group distributed 125 quilts. They send them with different groups and people who go on mission trips. They try to meet whatever demand they see, and are often working outside the group meeting time as well. Willeumier said that many people take projects home with them to work on as well.
The group is not just quilters, or those who know how to sew. They have a wide variety of jobs they share to create a finished quilt or teddy bear. Once the group gets all its equipment set up, they begin an assembly line-like process in which everyone has an important job for the completion of a quilt.
Some of the husbands who come measure and cut all the quilt squares from the fabric. Other group members do things like knotting the patches together, padding the layers of the quilt, and sewing the edges.
They have been a self-sustaining group, and have not asked for any monetary donations to keep up their supplies. Some people have donated fabric to them when they find out what they do. They make and sell other products like table runners, bags, and jewelry. Some of their other products can be found on a table for sale at Plyler’s Restaurant in Brookville.
Willeumier recently took a day to travel to Altoona to stock up on supplies while there was a sale at a surplus store. They use every scrap of fabric and stuffing they have. All extra pieces of material get used as stuffing in the bears.
“We just have story after story of wonderful things that have happened,” Willeumier said of the quilts.
Some of the quilts and teddy bears are sent with a church in Indiana that travels to the Native American Tribes in South Dakota. They have heard stories of some of the children there picking a quilt, and not having a bed to put it on, so they try to add extra padding into the quilts they know will go there.
Once they sent quilts with a group going to on a trip to build beds for a village. They were told they would need 40 quilts. When the group got to the village, they ended up making three extra beds and didn’t think there would be quilts for them but they somehow had three extra quilts with the ones they were given.
“It’s things like that that show we’re doing what we’re supposed to. It gives us purpose,” Willeumier said of the miraculous stories she’s been told.
Many of the members of the group are retired, and being able to make the blankets gives them something to do they know helps someone else. They are willing to give blankets to anyone going on a mission trip, and try their hardest to meet whatever demand there might be.