BLUE EARTH - There was food to rival any tailgate party, but the gathering at Michele's Sewing in Blue Earth on Sunday wasn't in honor of the Super Bowl.
Instead of a television set, the sound of sewing machines broke up the chatter of a group of women who have made good use of the annual pigskin mania by sewing quilts and giving them away to various organizations.
This is the fourth year for the sewing binge and the women have produced 15 to 20 quilts each year, said Michele Hard, owner of the shop. Organizations that have benefited from the group's talents are New Horizons Adoption Agency in Blue Earth, Options Pregnancy Center in Fairmont, and Ronald McDonald House. This year's recipients will be residents of Nicollet Place, a retirement community in Blue Earth.
Carrie Meyer works on a quilt top. A bunch of women gathered at Michele’s Sewing in Blue Earth for the annual Super Bowl quilting party Sunday. Quilts made will be donated to Nicollet Place in Blue Earth.
It was Julie Willmert's idea to have the Super Bowl sewing party.
Willmert said she likes giving back and she doesn't mind missing the football game.
"I don't like sports," she said. "We just wanted to do a service project and decided on Super Bowl Sunday, because a lot of women don't like sports. The men can watch sports and the women can leave.
"It's just a good thing to give to other people, and we built it from there," she said.
The event started at 1 p.m. and goes until the last one leaves, usually around 7 p.m., Willmert said. Participants can come when they want, and work as long as they want.
Willmert's sentiments about the football game were echoed by most of the other women in the room, all of whom were busy sewing, ironing and cutting fabric.
"Sports don't interest me, and this is more fun," said Margie Elmore, with a laugh as she quilted. "And it gets me out of the house. It's something to do."
"It's fun to get together and do something productive with friends," said Corinne Eckhardt.
"I like doing community work," added Carrie Meyer. "This is a good project. My mother-in-law is at Nicollet Place and I can do something for her. And I can be with friends."
Liz Rasmussen works at Nicollet Place and is a member of Blue Earth Valley Quilters.
"When I heard about this, I wanted to participate," she said, while laying out fabric blocks. She intends to keep working on her quilt at home, because the women have until April 1 to turn in their work.
The quilters were all using different colors of fabric, but the same pattern: the Sweet Caroline Digital Quilt Pattern, by Anita Peluso of Redmond, Wash. Peluso - Willmer's daughter - had her pattern published in Fons & Porter Easy Quilts Magazine. Peluso designs for Clothworks and teaches at the quilt shop where she also works.
"I taught her to sew and now she's teaching me," Willmert said.
Hard said they are already planning for the next Super Bowl sewing party and want to get a jump start on it. Next year's will be done like a block-of-the-month project. Those who want to participate can come in and get the pattern for that month and work on it at their own pace.
"We have not decided who will get them," Hard said. "We're taking suggestions."