Trinity Stitchers unofficially started with one or two people and now about 15 women who enjoying sewing are part of the group.
They met every other Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church, lugging their sewing machines, fabric, thread and lots of creative ideas.
Although making weighted lap pads for autistic children is an important part of their work, the women have expanded their line to include quilts, totes for walkers, American Girl doll clothes, table runners and fabric bowls made with clothesline.
The women held a bazaar in early December as a fundraiser to purchase fabric and other necessities to continue their outreach as well as a benefit for the church.
Another bazaar will be held for Christmas 2014 and the women already are making decorative items and holiday crafts for the event.
Barb Gosnell of Altoona has been in the group since its beginning. She was among the first of the women three years ago to team up with Lois Gutshall to make the weighted lap pads.
She enjoyed making clothes for her children, but then put her interest on hold during her working years.
"When I retired, I started quilting," Gosnell said. "I took a lot of lessons."
She, in turn, has shared her quilting skills with other members of Trinity Stitchers.
"Everybody shares," Gosnell said. "When you learn to do something, you teach."
Most of the women have some experience with needles and thread.
Among them is Elaine Conrad of Hollidaysburg, who put her sewing machine away about 35 years ago after making maternity dresses.
"It's a wonderful hobby," Conrad said. "It gives you a chance to exercise your creativity."
Working on projects with the others is pleasurable, she said.
"They have wonderful, open hearts," Conrad said. "It's fun to learn something new and have the others tell you, 'Yeah, you can do this.'"
While some women took a break from sewing to raise their families or pursue a career, others have never stopped.
"Sewing has always been my hobby," said Joyce Otto of Altoona. "I learned to sew in eighth grade."
Otto, who has five daughters and a son, said she made dresses for her girls when they were growing up.
Her older sister, Carolyn Stenger of Hollidaysburg, got the bug first.
"When I was 15, I wanted a sewing machine, and when I woke up on Christmas, one was there," she said.
The hum of the sewing machine was a new sound in their home. Their mother did not sew.
"I used to go to my neighbor and she would help me," Stenger said.
She also learned at her home economics class at school. Even her career was related to fabric and fashion.
"I worked for Butterick for 40-some years," Stenger said.
"It's relaxing," she said of her hobby. "And when you are done, you have something."
"It's all about the sewing," Stenger said of Trinity Stitchers, "and the comradery."