She stitches her heart out

Alma Decker has been doing embroidery and needlework for more than 90 years, and it shows. One can tell by looking at Decker's work she's no novice. Tight, thin stitch work with subtle curves and twists takes an experienced hand. She's done cross-stitch, French knots, and made quilts and pillow cases with Crewel stitch work, and stitched together a few blouses.

Alma Decker has been doing embroidery and needlework ever since she was a kid, and it shows.

Decker, 97, entered the Presbyterian Manor's "Art is Ageless" exhibit as the eldest artist and won an honorable mention for her work.

One can tell by looking at Decker's work she's no novice. Tight, thin stitch work with subtle curves and twists takes an experienced hand. She's done cross-stitch, French knots, and made quilts and pillow cases with Crewel stitch work, and stitched together a few blouses.

When she started out she didn't have patterns to stitch from, so she made her own -- such as apples-- and hand quilted her quilts.

"Back then, Wakarusa was just a wide place in the road," Decker said. "There wasn't any entertainment, unless you went to Topeka, which didn't have a car. So, since we couldn't go to Topeka, we made our own fun."

How quickly she completed a project depended upon the project and how busy her father was.

"When Daddy was working every day, I quilted three quilts in a month," Decker said. "Usually I had one quilted (a month), the rest of time when he was home and I had someone to talk to."

Decker's daughter Marsha Habluetzel said her mother's needle work "has been more of a hobby for some time rather than a speed thing."

"I just like to do needle work," Decker said.

The hardest thing she's done is "probably making a good knot," Decker said. She's made a lot of them, "but sometimes they don't always turn out so good."

The hobby has been great for passing the time in her senior years too. Habluetzel said her mother works on some kind of needle work almost every day.

"She takes Sundays off," Habluetzel said.

Currently she's working on a quilt, tea towels for the Covenant Church to restock their needs and pillow cases for all of the grandkids, dresser scarves, and "lot of gift for the grandkids and great-grandkids.: The tea towels that won honorable mention at the Art is Ageless show were sold to someone who said they reminded her of the tea towels her grandmother used to make.