MEEKER | They’re not quite sure if they started getting together in 2006 or 2007, and they all credit the initial idea to different people, but the Walbridge Wingnuts are certain they enjoy what they do on behalf of the residents of the Walbridge Wing.
Volunteers Pattie Terp and Ginny Barton and Wing residents Mary Arnold and Dorothy Miller are credited with starting the sewing club by Wing activities director Jean Gianinetti.
“Sewing machines were commandeered and they started with simple aprons,” Gianinetti wrote. “We also had ladies that liked to crochet or embroider. One was a wonderful woman who, even though she was blind, crocheted a doll outfit for many dolls that she made.”
Some of the crafts take as much time to complete as a work of art, but the process is part of the fun. “Doris Welle worked for two years on a gorgeous pillow case that had almost all satin stitch,” said Terp. “She is now the satin stitch police. Every embroidered piece must have satin stitch. I showed her my finished towel and she said ‘well, that hardly counts!’ We are still laughing about that!”
As more volunteers came along, the group decided they needed a name. The name originally proposed was the “Wing Angels.”
“We all looked at each other and said, ‘nope,’” said volunteer Elaine Jordan, and so the Wingnuts were formed. The group now has personalized shirts, which they wore to the Wingnutz restaurant in Rifle for lunch once. The restaurant took their picture and shared it on their website.
The craft items created throughout the year—tea towels, aprons, hanging towels, scrubbies, dishcloths, pot holders, hats, scarves, mittens, yoga socks, ornaments, pillowcases, baby clothes, boot cuffs and more—are sold at an annual craft sale in October. All proceeds go to the Walbridge Wing activities fund.
“Their generous time and quality sewing have brought many activities and great additions to our quality of life [at the Wing],” wrote Gianinetti.
The proceeds have been used to purchase items for the residents from a popcorn machine to a sound system, and to “keep the art supplies flowing.”
The Wingnuts meet every Wednesday afternoon year-round and create crafts to sell at the annual Walbridge Wing Craft Sale in October. This year’s sale is Friday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pioneers Medical Center lobby.
By NIKI TURNER | firstname.lastname@example.org