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Quilters from across Minnesota come for friendship, camaraderie at Dakota County library

Once a month, a group of about a dozen women who are all deaf or hard of hearing meet at the library to work on their quilts.

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. — You don’t need to go far at the Inver Glen Library in Dakota County to find a good story. 

In fact, you don’t even need to open a book. All you need to do is watch the Crafty Bees sew their quilts.

Once a month, a group of about a dozen women who are all deaf or hard of hearing meet to work on their quilts.

“If people come here and they talk all day, that's perfectly fine,” said Cindy Wielenberg, one of the founders. “There are no rules.”

Most group members talked to KARE 11 through interpreter Rita Van der Puije, who works with Keystone Interpreting Solutions. 

Cindy Wielenberg, along with her friend Marcia Passi, looked for a more permanent location for their group to meet and decided Inver Glen Library would be their new home. 

“We’ll talk about our families, we’ll talk about our kids,” said Passi. “Deaf issues sometimes.”

Shawn Whiting drives all the way from Rochester to come to the group. 

“This is my favorite thing of the month,” she said. “I look forward to this day — when we all get together.” 

Whiting said that being someone who is deaf can be isolating in Rochester. 

“It’s very common in the deaf community there,” she said. “There's a fear of joining the hearing communities, that I will be left out.” 

She loved it so much that she started bringing her best friend, Edna Quinby, to the get-togethers. 

“I was not so certain about it, you know, like, quilting was for older people,” she said. “I was like, 'No, this is not my thing.'”

But it turns out, quilting is absolutely her thing. 

“It is just a meditative thing.”

Susan Specht enjoys coming to the group because of how much she learns. 

“We can really support each other,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”

Specht said the best part of the group is that they all talk with ease. Normally, there's no interpreter or clunkiness.

"It's so easy and fluid," said Specht. 

During lunch, all the women will sit around a table and talk about their lives. 

They will often bring projects to show one another or ask for advice on quilts in the making. 

"We're just always sharing things with each other," said Specht. 


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