Mabel's Quilting - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Mabel's Quilting


If you know Mabel Wagner, live by Mabel Wagner or maybe just had a nice conversation with Mabel Wagner, chances are you've received one of her homemade quilts.

At 90 years old, Mabel spends her free time sewing, patching, batting and tieing for a cause.

"She does a great job on it," Mabel's husband Ed said. "It keeps her busy."

It all started eight years ago when Mabel's grandson, a Marine, asked for a quilt with airplane print.

"That was the start," Mabel said.

She hasn't stopped quilting since. It's been something kept her busy and active over the years.

"I enjoy it. I just enjoy it. When dad and I grew up we had nothing to give nobody. Back when times were hard," Mabel said. "So I think we're kind of making up for it."

Veterans are close to Mabel's heart.

Two of her grandchildren served and her husband, Ed, was in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Ed was 21 when he was sent home from the war. In fact, it was exactly his 21st birthday the day he hopped on a ship back to the states.

At 91 years old, Ed is an avid reader, puzzler and keeps active by walking on the treadmill for 12 minutes everyday.

He met Mabel in 1952 and asked for her hand in marriage on their second date.

They were married four months later.

This fall will be their 66th wedding anniversary.

Mabel doesn't always get to see her quilting work delivered to the hands of the receiver, but she does have a memory of a trip to a Hastings nursing home.

"I had one service man up in Hastings. They brought the quilts and put them out. Each got to pick their own. He picked up one all stars and stripes and all that," Mabel said. "He looked at his supervisor and said do I get to keep these, or do I just get to look at them? No she says, this gal in Rochester brought them up for each one of you. He started crying. I've never had anything homemade in my life. That kind of got me. He was in his late 70s."

A majority of the quilts Mabel makes are donated to local nursing homes for veterans.

Each quilt contains about $45 worth of material and Mabel makes about 7 to 8 quilts a week.

Although, she may have to start charging for materials for quilts for friends and family, she'll never charge a labor fee.

Mabel says Ed hasn't complained about her money spending yet.

She plans to continue to give back for as long as she can.

"As long as I can get up and down with the floor. When I cant do that anymore I'll have to come up with some other ideas," Mabel said.

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