by Cori Hilsgen
Harley Davidson motorcycle riders who enjoy riding the highways during warmer days might enjoy the warmth and comfort of a keepsake quilt during cold days they are not able to ride.
These motorcycle riders will have a chance to bid on a Harley Davidson T-shirt quilt at the annual quilt auction which will take place at the Church of St. Joseph annual July 4 parish festival.
The quilt measures 95-by-104-inches and contains 30 T-shirt squares. The shirts for the quilt were donated by Jim and Doneva Hommerding (Keller, Texas), Dean and Dede Budde, Paul and Trish Gannon and Ellie Studer (all of St. Joseph), Dan and Kelly Willard (St. Cloud) and other anonymous donations after a request was made to church parishioners.
It was pieced together by the church quilting group’s chairperson Delrose Fischer and newly recruited quilter Linda Loso.
The ambitious and seldom idle Church of St. Joseph quilters have been busy stitching for this year’s annual festival and have much to show for their hard work.
Other members of the group include Marilyn Brinkman, Cathy Buchheit, Sharon Froelich (another new quilter to the group), Ione Jacobs, Judy Meemkin, Jeny Meyer, Josie Meyer, Betty Schloemer, Ilene Schmitt, Geri Schwab and Lynn Valek.
In addition to stitching the quilts, Brinkman, Fischer, Loso, Schloemer and Schmitt also help with piecing the quilts. Schwab hems most of the quilts with some help from Schloemer and Schmitt.
Meemkin, who pieced quilts from 1986-2016, still helps set up and clean up for the group’s Monday lunches. She also occasionally still helps piece baby quilts and sew borders on the quilts.
Valek threads needles for the group, a task that is getting harder for some members of the group who have a more difficult time seeing the small holes in the needles. She also sewed this year’s Harley Davidson pillows to match the featured quilt.
“We have one of the best selections of quilts this year,” Brinkman said. “It is a nice variety of designs and colors.”
Fischer, who has been the chairperson since 1996, said she is always looking for new ideas for the featured quilt each year.
In addition to the Harley Davidson queen-sized quilt, this year’s auction will also include 17 other queen-sized, two king-sized, two lap quilts and 17 baby quilts.
Other quilts include a “Proud to be American” 71-by-81-inch Mickey Mouse holding an American flag quilt bordered with stars (pieced by Fischer), a butterfly quilt (pieced by Patty Loehlein), Cabin in the Woods quilt with three pillows (pieced by Brinkman), Eagle quilt (pieced by Lois Warnert), a detailed, hand-embroidered quilt (embroidered by Darlene Ostendorf and includes many extra hours of stitching by Schloemer), a Bugs in a Jar machine-embroidered quilt (pieced by Fischer) and more.
Something new this year is the chance to purchase three of the quilts at a set price before the auction.
Fischer, who keeps a detailed photo history of previous quilts sold at past auctions, said the Mickey Mouse quilt has been a popular quilt selling between $175-$425. A 2003 autographed Minnesota Twins quilt sold for $4,700.
Other previous quilts done by the group include necktie, hanky butterflies, antique cars, antique tractors, historic barns, Nascar racing, Harley Davidson hankies and motorcycles, Joetown Rocks Concert 10th anniversary, Rock and Roll, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves. Many of these quilts were autographed.
Fischer said one of her favorites has been a vintage hanky quilt that the group completed a few years ago, with the hankies folded in the shape of butterflies and embroidered.
She said the group’s goal is to raise $10,000 or more each year. Since 1996, the group has raised between $9,500-$13,000 yearly.
When asked why she continues to quilt, Fischer replied: “What else would I do?” However, having just turned 83, she is trying to enlist a co-chair among the quilting group to take her place when she decides to no longer chair the group.
It isn’t just the stitching that brings this group together. Socializing and sharing festival news with other parishioners is also a big part of their quilting.
Because the group enjoys visiting with each other so much, they often gather for lunches during the months they aren’t quilting.
“It is a fun group,” Schwab said.
The group recently celebrated Josie Meyer’s 90th birthday in April.
The quilters gather in Heritage Hall stitching from 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mondays and from 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 takes an average of at least 100 volunteer hours to complete only the stitching of the quilts.
The group is always looking for additional people who are interested in helping stitch quilts or cook meals for the group.
Current people who help provide Monday meals for the group include Elaine Eisenschenk, Dolores Giroux, Mary Kay Kern, Meg Klecker, Shirley Miller, Pat Osburn, Sharon and Tom Steil and Joyce Stock.
Fischer started displaying the quilts the end of April in the Heritage Hall parish center and the display will continue through July 1. The Harley Davidson quilt will be displayed now-July 1.
This year’s quilt auction will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4. Col. Frank Imholte and family, of Black Diamond Auctions, has been conducting the auction since 1987. Last year’s quilt auction raised about $11,700.
If you are interested in joining the group or helping prepare lunch, contact Fischer at 320-363-7306 to volunteer.
To view this year’s quilts to be auctioned or the ‘“Buy it Now” quilts, visit the website joetownrocks.org.
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.