Ripley UCC quilters mark National Quilting Day with new ‘Soul Stitching’ group

Quilts to be displayed during Traer’s upcoming Birthday Bash

Soul Stitching quilters (l-r) Mary Ann Steffeny of Traer, Jane Knoop of Traer, Gayle Hansen of Madison, Wisc., and Myla Hansen of Winthrop look through stacks of donated fabric last Saturday in the basement of Ripley United Church of Christ, Traer. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANNETTE KNOOP

A new quilting group met for the first time at Ripley United Church of Christ in Traer last Saturday morning in an effort to appeal to a broader audience.

Amid the backdrop of National Quilting Day celebrations – observed annually the third Saturday in March – several members of Ripley’s core Wednesday morning quilting group joined forces with Deacon Annette Knoop to patch together a new quilting group, Soul Stitching.

“We are trying to increase our numbers [in the quilting group],” Knoop told the Telegraph, “to include any and all that would like to be involved in the wonderful mission of Ripley’s in providing warmth via patchwork.”

The new group will gather one Saturday a month beginning at 9 a.m., Knoop said, in order to open the group up to those who work or are otherwise busy during the week.

Modeled after a traditional quilting bee during which non-quilters join quilters alike in tying knots or adding a few stitches to an almost completed quilt, Soul Stitching was off to a great start on Saturday with more than a dozen women in attendance.

Peggy Drinovsky smiles while working on a quilt top last Saturday during Soul Stitching at Ripley UCC in Traer. Drinovsky is a member of the church’s core Tuesday quilting group as well. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Several of Knoop’s friends and family who hail from a younger generation than those who comprise the bulk of the Wednesday core group spent their time Saturday morning tying knots across several quilts that Knoop’s mother Jane Knoop had set up in the church basement.

Members of the small but mighty core quilting group at Ripley have pieced and sewn together thousands of handmade quilts over the years, donating their colorful quilted masterpieces to area organizations including the Traer Food Pantry, Tama County Public Health & Home Care’s Stork’s Nest program, the Salvation Army, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Worker in Waterloo, the Iowa City VA Healthcare System, Sunrise Hill Care Center, Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs, and more.

The new group will operate in tandem with the core group toward the same donation goal.

“[Soul Sitching] is a time to get together, tell stories, and have fun,” Knoop said.

Soul Stitching is open to any individual with a desire to spread warmth through patchwork, Knoop said. Quilting and/or sewing experience is not necessary.

Myla Hansen of Winthrop snips away the end of a long thread after tying knots on a quilt top during last Saturday’s first meeting of the new quilting group Soul Stitching at Ripley United Church of Christ in Traer. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

The next meeting of Soul Stitching is set for April 15 beginning at 9 a.m. in the basement of the church located at 400 S Main Street in Traer.

Contact Annette Knoop via the Ripley United Church of Christ Facebook page for more information.

Quilts on display for Traer’s 150th Birthday Bash

As part of its Sesquicentennial year, Traer’s Big Birthday Bash is being planned for Saturday, June 3 from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Taylor Park and will include live music/entertainment, food/beverage vendors, free birthday cake, kids activities, a moonlight movie, and much more.

As one of the oldest congregations in Traer – founded in 1856 – Ripley UCC’s quilting groups plan to hold an exhibit of quilts in the church sanctuary at some point during the Saturday festivities.

A computerized embroidery machine stitches away last Saturday morning in the basement of Ripley United Church of Christ, Traer during the first meeting of the new quilting group Soul Stitching. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Look for more information about the quilt display by following Traer Sesquicentennial-150 Years of Pride & Progress on Facebook, or the church’s Facebook page.

Telegraph note: This story has been updated to reflect the core quilting group meets on Wednesday mornings, not Tuesday. The Telegraph regrets the error.

A handmade quilt folded and ready for donation pictured in the basement of Ripley United Church of Christ last Saturday. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Kris Kolbe of Solon ties knots on a quilt during the first meeting of Soul Stitching last Saturday in the basement of Ripley UCC in Traer. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER