Dorothy would be the first to argue that she didn't make both window covers, and of course she would be right! She did sew the first one, at the front of the sanctuary, entirely by herself to honor the memory of Pam Gruginski, her nephew's wife who had passed away. The second cover, created in pieces and attached to the window by Velcro, was completed in 2010 with Dorothy organizing the efforts of a dozen or more volunteers doing the cutting, stitching, quilting and placement. Dorothy and the window covers were featured in a national quilting magazine in 2013.
But the windows represent only a small portion of the quilt work done by Dorothy over the past 20-plus years.
Dorothy Gruginski and Nancy Bracket were among the founding members of Willapa Harbor Quilters Guild and are still active members. At 91, Dorothy is the guild's senior member. But it isn't her age that draws the attention of fellow quilters and fans. It's the craftsmanship she displays in all her work, and it's the friendship she offers to family, friends and acquaintances. She is a modest mentor who helps teach 4-H students and others about this traditional fabric art.
Dorothy took up quilting around 1990 after retiring from other pursuits, including raising two nephews and working full time in various office jobs. She had been sewing clothing and household items throughout her life. But once she started on quilt-making, that quickly became her passion. Over the years, admirers far and wide have viewed and many have purchased her quilts. Some have been auctioned for more than $1,000 to benefit local organizations.
Many of Dorothy's quilt projects will be on display on the stage during the “Quilts on the Willapa” show at Raymond High School Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show also features quilted items by others in the area.
Three vendors will be at the show: Quilt Harbor of Aberdeen, Quilters' Junction of Centralia, and Cathy's Classy Quilts of Rochester. The first two offer fabrics and related items; Cathy's Classy Quilts will demonstrate a HandiQuilter machine. Quilt Harbor will provide sewing machine maintenance during the show.
For more information about the show or Willapa Harbor Quilters, call 942-2910 or 875-6506.