by Cori Hilsgen
People who enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink usually have a preference for what they like to drink.
If you are one of these people and prefer to drink Crown Royal Whiskey, a blended Canadian whiskey, you might be interested in a quilt the Church of St. Joseph quilters pieced, quilted and hand-stitched for the parish’s annual Fourth of July festival.
The church festival has been canceled this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but an online quilt auction will be conducted the weekend of July 4.
The 90- by 98-inch Crown Royal quilt was pieced together by Jeny Meyer and Michelle Mehr and contains blocks created from the colorful whiskey logo bags that were donated by Jim Fautsch in memory of his wife Phyllis, and Ann Terwey.
Even though the quilters were forced to stop stitching in mid-March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they still have a large selection of quilts they were able to finish before residents were asked to stay home and practice social distancing.
In addition to the Crown Royal quilt, this year’s selection for the online quilt auction also includes at least 19 full- to queen-size and 17 baby quilts.
Delrose Fischer, who has been the chairperson since 1996, said she is always looking for new ideas for the festival auction.
“We really have some unique quilts this year,” she said.
The group of quilters who meet regularly to stitch together includes Fischer, Marilyn Brinkman, Cathy Buchheit, Sharon Froehle, Ione Jacobs, Linda Loso, Jeny Meyer, Josie Meyer, Betty Schloemer, Ilene Schmitt, Geri Schwab and newly recruited quilter DeDe Schulte.
Besides sewing the quilts, Brinkman, Fischer, Loso, Jeny Meyer, Schloemer and Schmitt help Patty Loehlein and Lois Warnert piece quilts.
Froehle, Loso, Schloemer, Schmitt and Schwab hem most of the quilts.
Judy Meemkin, who pieced quilts 1986-2016, occasionally still helps piece baby quilts and sews borders on the quilts. She also helps set up and clean up for the group’s Monday lunches.
Lynn Valek threads needles for the group to help make it easier for those who have a difficult time seeing the small holes in the needles.
Another quilt stitched by the group is a Grandmother’s Rose Garden quilt donated by Kay Lemke. The blocks on the quilt were pieced by Lemke’s mother, Viola Hiemenz, many years ago, pieced by Loso and hemmed by Schloemer. It is made from vintage fabric.
Other quilts include a Lady with Umbrellas quilt that was donated by daughters of Polly Schulte, who helped start the quilting group. Schloemer finished the quilt that had been started by Schulte.
Another is one of Minnesota State Parks with fabric donated by Angie Johnson and pieced together by Loso. A Fun-on-the-Farm quilt was pieced by Warnert. Mary Brinker donated a Sail Boats quilt and Karen Brinkman donated an appliquéd dinosaurs children’s quilt. Norine Olmsheid donated five quilt tops and the quilters have stitched two of them for the festival auction.
Fischer said a Robbing Peter to Pay Paul quilt required a lot of stitching and took the quilters four days to complete.
Since 1996, the group has set a goal to try to raise $10,000 or more from the quilts and have raised between $9,500-$13,000 yearly. Last year’s quilt auction raised $13,000.
The group enjoys gathering and visiting with each other as they stitch the quilts. Many of them enjoy the social time they can share.
This year, after finishing the Crown Royal quilt, some of them sampled a taste of the whiskey.
The quilters usually gather in Heritage Hall stitching from 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mondays and 8 a.m. until finished on Tuesdays. They gather from the first Monday in August until the end of November and then start again in January working through March, usually taking the months of April through July and December off for extended breaks.
It requires many volunteer hours for the quilters to complete the stitching of the quilts and they are always seeking additional people who are interested in helping stitch quilts or cook meals for the group.
People who helped provide Monday meals for the group this year include Linda Bauer, Elaine Eisenschenk, Mary Kay Kern, Meg Klecker, Terry Loso, Shirley Miller, Pat Osburn, and Sharon and Tom Steil.
Black Diamond Auctions, which has been conducting the quilt auction since 1987, will conduct the online auction. Interested bidders can use their computer or smart phones to participate.
For anyone who is interested in seeing how the auction might work ahead of time, Black Diamond currently has some auctions on their website. Interested bidders can register at the Black Diamond website at any time, even if the quilt auction does not have pictures on it yet.
To register, visit bid.blackdiamondauctions.com.
The quilts will be posted on the parish website at www.churchstjoseph.org first. After the information is given to Black Diamond Auctions, they will also post the information on their auction website for people to preview.
Jeny Meyer said the quilters are working to create a safe, live quilt preview the weekend of June 27-28 and hope to have all the quilts on display in the Church of St. Joseph Heritage Hall.
“We will be enforcing whatever social distancing guidelines we need to follow when that date comes,” Meyer said. “We will also help people register for the auction at the preview if they have questions.”
Interested bidders should watch for details on when bidding will begin, and when the auction will close. Those details are still being worked on.
The group also plans to post the quilts on the Joetown Rocks Facebook page.
If you are interested in joining the group or helping prepare lunch, contact Fischer at 320-363-7306 to volunteer.