PITTSBURG — They simply call themselves “blanket makers.”

They gather around tables and piece each blanket by hand, making about 5-to-10 blankets weekly.

The “blanket makers” meet at St. John Lutheran Church, a mix of ladies of different ages and religious denominations.

The church has had blanket makers since before the 1900s and back then they would mostly make blankets for their family. The earliest minutes they could find were from the 1930s, Marilyn Davis said.

Over the years, the group has given blankets to people in need, from fires to natural disasters.

They have sent blankets to people affected by Hurricane Harvey, to a backpack fundraiser for children without belongings and blankets to go with beds in the dorms at Pittsburg State University.

“We want to make something usable for somebody who needs to be warm at night or to sleep on,” Davis said.

Donna Price agreed.

“It never ceases to amaze me how many children don’t even have a bed,” she said.

They also donate children’s blankets to a program at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. The blankets are part of kits which are given to mothers, Lana Woods said.

“They’ve been really appreciative,” Woods said.

Each person has their own role during their meetings.

For example, Woods puts the baby blankets together and Pit Retzer patches and sews on the binding.

Spending hours a week together, they have become a group of friends where they talk about family and and politics.

Retzer said she looks forward to sewing with the “girls.”

“I live to sew, and I like the girls,” Retzer said.

Price agreed.

“They’ve been really nice, we’ve become good friends,” she said.  

The group works by collecting donations of cloth, using as much of the cloth as possible to create patches. If anyone has extra cloth around, people are welcome to leave it at the church through the south entrance doors and if anyone is looking to join the group may call the church, Davis said.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.