A small group of people with quick-moving needles have spent hours in a windowless room on the Iowa State Fairgrounds for the past seven days.
“We’re making quilts for children’s charities. We have seven agencies that will get these quilts,” Sharon Meisenheimer told Radio Iowa.
Meisenheimer leads this annual State Fair project for the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild. The Guild buys the batting — that’s the white, fluffy material on the inside of a quilt, but the rest of the fabric for the colorful quilts is donated.
“Last year we made 446 by the end of the fair,” Meisenheimer said, “and we’re hoping to surpass that this year.”
Everyone is welcome at the sewing table.
“We let anybody sew who wants to,” Meisenheimer said. “Lots of times children that are very young sit on their parent’s lap and push the foot feed while mom or grandma guides (the fabric through the machines). When they’re to the point that they can do it themselves, we’re here to help them.”
At least three members of the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild are on hand to give advice or help manage the machines. Carol Krause of Des Moines didn’t much help.
“I’m quilter. I’m a needleworker,” she said, with a smile, as she made a seam in strip of cloth. “I love it!”
Krause has been volunteering for this quilting marathon for the past six or seven state fairs.
“This all goes to charity,” Krause said. “I’ve got my sister here and she’s a stitcher too. I just hope the people who receive these will be so thrilled.”
If Krause and the the rest of the group make just two more quilts for charity than they did during the 2017 Iowa State Fair, they’ll cross a big milestone. Quilt number 3000 is in their sights this Sunday, at the completion of their ninth state fair quilting project.