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Local quilting group helps make life a little warmer for those in need

Putting the finishing touches on a baby quilt destined for Mahube-Otwa Monday morning were Piece by Peace members (left to right) Angie Svenby, Alice Hammer, Sheryl Manke, Denise Warweg, Ellen Hatlen and Pat Mastin. Vicki Gerdes/Tribune1 / 5
Alice Hammer threads some yarn through a quilt to tie together the back and front panels. Vicki Gerdes/Tribune2 / 5
Piece by Peace members work on the baby quilt. Vicki Gerdes/Tribune3 / 5
Mastin, Svenby, Hatlen and Hammer display one of the finished quilts. Vicki Gerdes/Tribune4 / 5
Pat Mastin uses a clear cutting board to make straight edges on the quilt pieces she is cutting out to make a pinwheel quilt design. Vicki Gerdes/Tribune5 / 5

On one side of the table in the Ecumen-Emmanuel basement conference room, Pat Mastin is carefully explaining to Sheryl Manke and Denise Warweg how to piece together a quilt square pattern.

On the other side, Alice Hammer, Angie Svenby and Ellen Hatlen are threading yarn through a small children's quilt to tie the front and back panels of the quilt together.

It's just another Monday morning for the Piece by Peace Quilters, a group of Detroit Lakes area quilting enthusiasts who have been getting together for over 10 years to make quilts, table runners and pillow cases for donations to various local charitable endeavors.

Though the quilters are supply most of the materials and patterns for the quilts themselves, "we do receive some financial support from Shepard of the Lakes Church," sad quilter Pat Mastin.

Recently, the group also found a new home for their quilting get-togethers at Emmanuel.

"We just love the space we have here," said Mastin. "They've been so accommodating."

In return, the group welcomes any residents of the nursing home and its adjacent senior housing communities, The Madison and The Cottage, who would like to participate in their weekly quilting sessions, which run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Monday.

"They have also asked if we might occasionally make some quilt tops for the residents," Mastin said.

The Monday sessions are open to anyone who has a love of quilting, she added.

"We have such a great fellowship - this is such a fun group," Mastin said. "We just bring our lunches and eat here...anyone who wants to join us is welcome."

One of the newer members of the group, Sheryl Manke, said that she got started by doing ties for the quilts, and now is able to help make some of the more complicated patterns.

"Working with Hospice (one of the groups for which Piece by Peace supplies quilts), I get to see where these quilts go," she said, adding that some of the recipients become quite emotional when they receive them.

"It does make a big difference to a lot of people," Mastin said, adding that some of the older people at the nursing home "go down memory lane" when they see some of the familiar quilting patterns being created.

"We do all kinds of new patterns," she said -- but some are also quite old.

Hatlen said that the pattern for one of the quilts they were working on was one that had come from her grandmother.

In all, there are about eight regular members of the group. They supply quilts not only for Hospice of the Red River Valley, but also Quilts of Valor, the Becker County Food Pantry, Mahube-Otwa Community Council, Compassion House, Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, Becker County Relay for Life and Ecumen-Detroit Lakes.

"We made seven pillow cases and seven table runners as gifts for some of the (Emmanuel Nursing Home) residents as Christmas gifts," Mastin said, explaining that they made them for residents who otherwise would not have received a gift.

"We also make some for the fire and police departments if they ask for them," she added, noting that the firefighters and police officers often like to keep them on hand for victims who might need the warmth and comfort that the quilts provide. "And we make some for various benefits as well."

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454