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Volunteer of the week: The Estates Quilters

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - (From left) Esther Connolly, Martha Telfer and Loreta Brubaker, pictured last year, are just some of the members of The Estates Quilters.As near as we can figure, The Estates Quilters have been in existence for between 45 and 50 years.

The quilters have only been keeping records of members since 1997. At the present time there are 11 members. Although the players have changed over the years, what they do is basically the same as they did 50 years ago.

People pay the quilters to quilt their tops. “They bring us their quilt tops, batting and backing, and we hand quilt them,”?the quilters said. “Some of these quilts tops were made by their family members years ago but never quilted. Most have been stored, kept in excellent condition and some are at least 100 years old. Some are worth as much as $500 or more. It is not cheap to make a quilt. In the olden days, they used whatever material they had available, usually old dresses, shirts and feed sacks.”

As of right now the quilters have a list of about 26 quilts to be finished, which means work for the next two years. In 2012, they completed 27 quilts.

“We charge by the size of the quilt and since we are cheaper than most places people are willing to wait,”?they said, noting they have quilted quilts for people as far away as England, Washington and the Portland Metro area.

The group members are part of the Woodburn Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and, every year, they donate approximately 4,600 hours of service to RSVP.

As a nonprofit organization, the monies collected for doing this service is spent in various ways. Some is spent on buying batting, thread and other needed supplies but most of the money is spent on helping others in the community and neighboring communities. In 2012, the quilters donated more than $2,000 to various organizations.

The quilters help with numerous activities at The Estates, such as new lights, flooring, water heater, painting and chairs for the craft room; donating money to the Green Thumbs, helping with the auditorium drapes, the 50th year celebration and many other things.

Activities outside The Estates consist of the Woodburn Area Chamber of Commerce’s program for hanging flower baskets around the city, money to help after the fire at the Woodburn High School (donated to Woodburn Proud), Love Santa, Inc., American Mothers Organization, American Heart Association, Red Cross, Relay for Life, Women’s Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Liberty House in Salem and Northwest Medical Team. The group also donated money to the Vernonia and Turner flood relief, sends boxes to soldiers in Afghanistan and made lap robes for local care centers. The quilters even helped a young man make enough money to go to Japan one summer with his school and donate about $200 a month to AWARE Food Bank.

There are four ladies that tie quilts. These quilts are cut and put together by members with donated material. After these quilts are sewn together and tied they are given to the Veterans Hospital in Portland. Some of these quilts are used as bereavement quilts, used by the veteran, then given to the veteran’s family as a comfort quilt. One member of the group knits afghans from donated yarn, which are then given to veterans who are in wheelchairs. One member’s husband transports these quilts to the hospital.

Batting for these quilts is ordered from back east and is getting more expensive to buy all the time, the quilters said. Material are donated from individuals who have pieces left over from a project or from loved ones who have moved to a care center and no longer sew.

Each November, the quilters raffle off a quilt at the annual Estates craft show. This year the quilt is a Christmas quilt. The money from this year’s quilt will be donated to Love, Santa Inc.

The ages of the group range from 62 to 84, and between them, they’ve accumulated 40 years of quilting experience.

“Our members come from various backgrounds and every one of us joined for their own reason,” the quilters said. “But we have found over time that the fellowship, the fun we have and the good feeling we receive from helping others makes us continue to grow within ourselves. While satisfying our own need, we like to think we are helping our community become a better place for us all to live.”

The group meets in The Estates Craft Room every Monday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Get in touch with them by calling The Estates office.



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  • 17 Sep 2014

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