Locals use quilt making and other crafts to make staying at home fun

Eufemia Didonato

LA CROSSE, Wis. – (WXOW) – Since the pandemic began, people have been trying to find ways to make staying at home fun. Two local quilt creation businesses have seen an increase in interest since staying at home became the new trend.

Olive Juice Quilts has been in Onalaska for around 11 years selling material for quilts and notions, as well as machine repair. One thing Karla Peterson, the manager at Olive Juice Quilts, never thought they would sell is material to make facemasks.

“It is definitely something new, something we never carried before,” said Peterson.

When the pandemic first began and masks first started being made, Peterson said they had a hard time keeping up with supply need but since then it hasn’t been a problem.

“We have people we have talked to who have made thousands of masks,” said Peterson.

The River Road Quilt Shop has been in La Crosse for 13 years also selling fabric to make quilts, notions, patterns, and kits for quilt making. Like Olive Juice Quilts, they didn’t anticipate the supply need for facemask creation.

“This year has just really been different,” said Christine Molstad, manager at River Road Quilt Shop.

Masks can be created out of pretty much any quilt material. It is the elastic and wire that is crucial to the creation.

Something many don’t know is that there are different types of masks.

“Kind-of everyone has their favorite that they make but there are a bunch of different styles,” said Molstad. “Who knew there were so many types of masks you could make?”

But masks aren’t the only thing people are creating while they stay in.

“We have noticed a lot more machines coming in for repair, and a lot more quilts come in to be long-armed so I think a lot of people are either bringing out their old machine to work on or getting quilts done. I think a lot of people are doing some hobbies at home,” said Karla Peterson.

For both businesses, they say quilting has been very strong throughout the pandemic.

“We have a lot of regular customers that have been going to town,” said Molstad.

For many, it’s more than just staying busy.

“Mental health. They say quilting is therapy and I think it is for a lot of people. You create something you feel good about it, you’re busy,” said Molstad. “With the worries about getting the virus, spreading the virus, when you can take your mind off of it and do something productive, that is good for anyone’s mental health.”

Both businesses are currently open for anyone interested in digging into their creative side. Olive Juice Quilts isn’t open for entry into the store but they are doing online orders and curb-side pick-up. River Road Quilt Shop is open seven days a week.

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