A small group of women are making a difference one thread at a time in Federal Way.
The St. Luke’s Church Needlers, which provides handmade quilts, hats and more to the community, was started in 1969 by local residents Mary Ann Brekke and Nola Davenport. The group celebrated their 50-year anniversary in 2019 and currently has 10 members.
“We’re prolific sewers and that’s our passion,” said Marjorie Simpson, a co-leader of the group along with Betty Clifford. “It’s good to serve the community by doing so.”
In the last year, the Needlers have crafted more than 1,800 items such as quilts, wheelchair bags, walker caddies, crochet blankets, baby bibs, hats, cell phone cases with ID pockets, and fidget mats, among other designs.
On Dec. 1, members of the Needlers met with South King Fire Capt. Brad Chaney, resident Roger Flygare, and Hanna Bailey of Quixote Communities to donate items to the fire department and local veteran services organizations.
Prior to the pandemic, the Needlers met two days a week at the church to sew and put the quilts together. In the spring during stay-at-home orders, “there wasn’t much else to do but sew,” Simpson said.
Most of their materials and fabric are donated. Then, the creations are donated right back to the community.
“We figure out what our fabrics are that we’ve got and think ‘what can we make with this?’ Then once we decide what we can make with it, we think of who would need what we make,” Simpson said.
The Needlers provide donations to three local nursing homes, the fire department, the Federal Way school district, hospitals and local veterans. In 2015, the Needlers sent about 300 quilts to Eastern Washington to individuals impacted by the wildfires.
The group usually donates to the same organizations each year, “but if a need comes up in the community during the year, we give.”
The St. Luke’s Church Needlers welcome new volunteers. The group will begin sewing again in January and will meet from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 515 S. 312th St. If you are interested in joining or have fabrics to donate, contact Marjorie Simpson at 253-661-0356.