85-year-old Robert Brandt of Decorah sits at his sewing machine almost every day.
He bought the machine for $78 when he and his wife Marlus went from tying quilts for their church to sewing their own.
"I decided we could do it ourselves. So after tying about 300 quilts I bought a sewing machine, read the instructions and started making quilts," said Robert Brandt.
Ten years later, Robert and the machine are still sewing. After suffering from Alzheimer's, Marlus Brandt passed away in 2008, just two months after the couple's 60th wedding anniversary.
Robert never thought about giving up the hobby he and his wife started together.
"Because I enjoyed it and people liked getting them and they kept donating fabric to me. I've got more material than I'll ever use I think," said Brandt.
Robert Brandt has drawers filled with fabric. He makes doll quilts, baby quilts and lap quilts.
Brandt estimates he's given away more than 530 quilts, he's cut and sewn more than 75,000 pieces and he's used more than 300 spools of thread.
"The biggest reward is getting all these thank yous. I don't ask for them and they just show up," he said.
The great-grandfather keeps a scrapbook of all the thank you notes he receives.
Robert knows of his quilts being in eight countries and at least 22 states, and he might reach even more. He plans to keep sewing as long as he can thread a needle.
Robert Brandt has three children, six grandchildren and soon-to-be 12 great-grandchildren. He still drives 20 miles every Sunday to his hometown church in Castalia.
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