For nearly three decades, Boulevard Presbyterian Church missions have reaped the benefits of what its quilters group has sewn.

For nearly three decades, Boulevard Presbyterian Church missions have reaped the benefits of what its quilters group has sewn.

The group hand-sews quilts on order from church and community members.

"All of the money we make we donate to church mission work," said Sara Beaber, one of the eight women who meet each Wednesday morning to work on the quilts.

The group was started about 30 years ago by some Boulevard members as a way to practice the craft of quilting by hand, she said.

From the start, the group has served as a fundraising project, Beaber said. Last year, the group raised $700.

Over the years, the quilters have raised about $22,000, Helen Hoehl said.

In most cases, people bring quilt tops to the group, which then begins working to complete the quilt, Virginia Achtermann said.

They usually completes two quilts a year, she said.

"Depending on the size of a quilt, it can take a year to finish," Virginia Leidheiser said.

"I think there's a lot of satisfaction out of sewing the quilt by hand, stitch by stitch," Hoehl said.

The last quilt the group made, which it raffled in November, took 700 hours to complete, Leidheiser said.

Many weeks, not all eight members of the group are able to attend the quilting session, Beaber said. Other group members are Ellen Rennick, Bertha Taylor and Alice Fowls.

"Ideally, we like to have two quilts going, but it's not always possible," Beaber said.

The long process means that when a quilt is completed, "we're ready to celebrate," Hoehl said.

But the women are committed to making the quilts by hand, she said.

"We're a bunch of old women who like to do things the old-fashioned way," Hoehl said.

Hand-sewing quilts has become somewhat of a lost skill, Achtermann said. Most people who make quilts these days prefer to use sewing machines.

"We're doing it the way it was done a hundred years ago," Hoehl said. "People used quilts in pioneer homes to keep warm."

"As people became more affluent, they made quilts as an art," Achtermann said.

For Achtermann, its the end result that draws her to quilting.

"I really appreciate the completed quilt," she said. "Some people do it for the process, I like the product."

"It has a therapeutic effect," Ruth Smith said. "It's relaxing to be doing something with your hands."

There is also the social aspect of the quilting group, Hoehl said.

"Since it takes so long (to complete a quilt), we have a chance to do a lot of talking," she said.

"We cover a lot of subjects," Beaber said.

"We used to start with a prayer and end with a joke, but we ran out of jokes," Hoehl said.

The group meets from 9 to noon each Wednesday morning in room 111 at the church.

"We always take a break for tea in the middle of the morning," Smith said. "It's just a nice social get-together."

New members are always welcome and they do not have to be Boulevard members to join, Beaber said.