Manna House welcomes quilters from across the country

September 16, 2014 by


A group of women whose interest in quilting brought them together online 10 years ago have spent the last week at Manna House of Prayer in Concordia for their annual retreat.

With some 40 members across the country, and now in Canada and Mexico, the “Blotto Babes” have chosen different locations for their week together each year. And this year Concordian Jean Buoy recommended Manna House.

So 16 of the group’s members arrived Sept. 9 and have spent the past seven days working on a variety of projects and catching up with each other. Members came from South Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota, Mexico — and nearby, notes Ruthann Stindt of Belleville. “I had quite a trip to get here,” she jokes.

For some — like 84-year-old Marian Chambers of Granbury, Texas — the catching up seems as important as the quilting. Chambers says she is the matriarch of the group, although only a month older than the next most senior member, and spends most of the time Monday morning introducing a visitor to other members of the group.

Chambers introduces Kathy Stack of St. James, Mo., as the “baby” of the group. The 58-year-old Stack just laughs, and keeps working at her sewing machine.

Donna Whittle

Donna Whittle

Donna Whittle of Joplin, Mo., is one of the founders and explains that when the group started, there was an online quilt shop that had a monthly block lottery in which quilters would make a single block and send it in; then once a month there would be a drawing and the winner would receive all the blocks that had been submitted.

That “block lottery” got shortened to “blotto” — “and since we’re all women, we’re the Babes,” Whittle explained with a laugh. Thus the group was named.

Today they wear a variety of T-shirts decorated with bees, the initials BB and a year, with each design representing one of their previous nine annual retreats.

The 2014 T-shirt will honor Manna House — and they’ll be back, Whittle said. They have enjoyed their week in Concordia and the hospitality of the Sisters of St. Joseph who staff the retreat center on East Fifth Street.

Sister Betty Suther, Manna House administrator and herself a veteran quilter, has experience in meeting the needs of this kind of group. She hosts several weekend quilting retreats during the year at Manna House, and this year will also welcome at least two other quilting groups who have reserved it for their annual gatherings.




One Response to “Manna House welcomes quilters from across the country”

  1. Lois wagner on September 17th, 2014 9:51 pm

    Sorry I couldn’t join you this year, would have loved to meet all of you. I have met Jean and Birtie.
    Maybe next year will be not so hectic; I love the Manna House, the ladies there are so nice. I was there
    in April and had a wonderful time. It is so nice to see faces and put it with your name. Glad you had a
    wonderful time in Kansas and will pray that I get to come next time. Lois from Kansas
    PS: I got the 10 Minute Block Quilt top done, just need to have it quilted. Several of the ladies liked
    it when I laid it out on the floor of sewing room.

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