SOLDOTNA — Once a week at Northwood Retirement Apartments in Soldotna the whirring of sewing machines and laughter can be heard as five women take over a few tables in the far corner of the lobby near the windows and bookcases to set up their quilting and crafting headquarters.
The group of ladies, who call themselves the Northwood Quilters and Crafters, recently finished making eight service quilts and presented them to Alaska State Trooper Capt. Andy Greenstreet on Monday.
Greenstreet said the troopers will hand them out to victims of domestic violence and other crimes as needed.
“There’s something about a quilt that is comforting,” Greenstreet said. “It’s neat for a group like this to come together. . This represents hundreds of hours of work and dedication to the community.”
The quilters also attached Beanie Babies to the quilts with safety pins. Greenstreet said officers often keep the toys in their vehicles in case they encounter a situation that calls for a little extra comfort for a child.
Each quilt took about five weeks to make. The quilts were made with brightly colored fabric scraps quilter Joyce Eby had leftover from previous projects.
Joyce Eby has been sewing for over 30 years. Hilda Vehmeier, fellow Northwood resident, asked Joyce if she would teach her how to sew when Joyce was showing her daughter, Kim Eby, how to make a potholder one day.
Vehmeier decided their trio should invite more people to sew and craft with them. Sue Martin and Dee Gaddis joined the group. The ladies have made potholders, quilts, pillows and table runners. Joyce is the go-to quilter of the bunch when others have questions, as she has the most sewing experience.
After the presenting Greenstreet with the service quilts, the women went back to their sewing machines and projects. Vehmeier is working on a “Flying Geese” quilt. The blocks are made out of multiple triangles arranged in a way to look like geese flying in a “V.”
“They look like geese don’t they?” Vehmeier said with a laugh while showing her finished row of blocks to Joyce.
Joyce reminded her to press her seams before adding to the row.
“Hey, at 73 I’m just learning,” Vehmeier said. “It’s been fun.”
Vahmeier’s favorite part of starting the group has been “being able to give to other people,” with the service quilts. She has previously donated crocheted scarves and afghan blankets to other organizations.
The group welcomes more quilters and crafters or anyone who wants to stop by and visit with them to come to Northwood, resident or not, on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. They also encourage anyone who has leftover fabric scraps to donate them to the group so they can use them in future donation projects.