Quilting for a good cause
by Lisa Amstutz
Many hands make light work, as Grandma used to say, and never is that old adage more true than around a quilt frame. Around 20 local Amish and Mennonite church groups took turns quilting at Lehman’s June 3-10. The resulting Wayne County Churches quilt will be sold at the annual Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale the first weekend in August.
This year’s quilt is a Lone Star pattern in soft aqua blues and browns, designed by Juanita Ross of Kidron and pieced by Pine Tree Fabric.
Participating churches donated money for the fabric. Ross said she purchased top quality, 100 percent cotton fabrics from Pine Tree Fabric for the quilt. “I always try to come up with something unique and different,” she said. “This year I decided to use a traditional pattern with a more trendy color palette. I always use good quality fabric because of the amount of work that goes into a quilt…I want it to be heirloom quality.”
When asked why she volunteers so much time working on quilts for the sale, Ross replied, “My inner creative being is nourished by sewing and using fun colors. If I can use this gift to help others in this world, then I can praise my Maker by using what he has gifted me with.”
This is the fourth year Lehman’s has hosted the event, and Glenda Lehman Ervin, vice president of marketing, is pleased to have the quilters come. “My family is Mennonite and we support the Relief Sale and MCC, both professionally and personally,” she said. “The Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale is a wonderful event that donates thousands of dollars to worthy causes – it also brings thousands of visitors to Kidron. When we added the buggy barn demonstration room in 2007 to Lehman’s, we hoped it would be used for worthwhile community projects, like this quilt.”
Lehman’s employees have been very helpful—even removing light shades to provide the quilters more light, said Corrine Helmuth, who along with Ross is a member of the Relief Sale Quilt Committee. Interested shoppers often stop by to watch and converse with the quilters as they work.
This is part of the goal. In addition to preparing a quilt for the sale, the quilting bee is designed to raise awareness about the event, which continues to grow each year. The sale was started in 1966 to benefit the relief work of Mennonite Central Committee around the globe. MCC works to alleviate hunger, homelessness, and disasters caused by flood, wars, famine, earthquakes. etc. Last year’s sale brought in more than $345,000 through auctions, food sales and the Penny Power collections by participating churches.
There are usually around 200 quilts auctioned at the Relief Sale; about half are full-sized quilts. The quilts are donated by Amish, Apostolic, Brethren, Conservative Mennonite and Mennonite church groups and individuals, and traditionally bring good prices. “The Relief Sale has some good buyers,” said Helmuth. “They come in from the larger cities around and it is amazing how many out-of-state buyers come too.”
The sale also features a wood and tool auction and art and collectibles auction. Shoppers can browse rooms full of new and used books, plants, needlework and handcrafted items from Ten Thousand Villages. And of course there is plenty of food to enjoy—apple dumplings, homemade ice cream, barbecued chicken, egg rolls and much more. Children’s activities include a special children’s auction, carnival, jumping house and face painting.
For more information on the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale, including a preview of auction items, visit www.ohiomccreliefsale.org.