Arlington woman sends gift of warmth to soldiers in Iraq

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Quilts for soldiers

Joyce Weckwerth of rural Arlington has made eleven quilts for area soldiers serving in Iraq. Displaying Weckwerth’s work above are two St. Peter area soldiers. – Submitted photo

A comfortable night’s rest has been made a bit easier this past year for several area soldiers who have received a gift of warmth from their homeland.

Joyce Weckwerth, of rural Arlington, has made and sent quilts to eleven area soldiers serving in Iraq. She is planning to send more quilts in February.

Weckwerth began her quilt project for the troops earlier this year. With the large temperature variation from daytime to nighttime, the “[soldiers] can get cold,” Weckwerth said.

One quilt can take 40 hours to complete, according to Weckwerth. She begins by cutting the fabric to a specific pattern. There are 12 yards of fabric and 20-24 blocks per quilt. Weckwerth has been using Army Star blocks in a variety of colors including red, navy and tan.

Weckwerth sends the quilts to someone equipped with a long arm quilting machine. Once returned to Weckwerth, the quilts get a binding. A soldier’s name is then attached to complete the quilting process.

The following groups have assisted Weckwerth in the quilt project: Ewenique Quilters Guild of St. Peter, Kindred Kwilters of Le Sueur, and Quilted Hearts of Arlington. Weckwerth said she has also received some cash and fabric donations.

Area soldiers receiving quilts have included: Matt Schwope, Michael Diehn, Scott Peterson, Steve Peterson, Chad Kleist, Jason Lenertz, Barry Mathwig, and Tim Solomonson.

Weckwerth said she also sent a quilt to two St. Peter area girls from the National Guard unit in Roseville. She later received a picture of the girls with their quilts.

Weckwerth said she finds out which area soldiers are serving in Iraq through “word of mouth.” She admits that making quilts for all the area soldiers may be a bit “overwhelming.”

Weckwerth welcomes anyone who wants to help her with the quilts. The cutout blocks and directions for sewing are here waiting for distribution, she said. Weckwerth can be reached at 507-964-2800.

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