The Free Press
Fifteen seems to be the lucky number for Charlene Driggers, who listened to 15 audio books while hand-quilting the colorful bed covering that sold for $15,000 at the recent Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.
But the book listening doesn’t account for all the hours the Hillsboro resident spent taking a needle and thread in perhaps thousands of little stitches on the quilt, which was pieced and appliqued by Rose Wiebe Haury, a Hillsboro native now living in Newton, and Carol Ingenthron of Grantville.
The trio doesn’t know how much time they spent on the project, which helped raise money to feed people throughout the world. Proceeds from the sale benefit Mennonite Central Committee.
“I don’t know how many hours we put in,” Driggers said, chuckling. “I don’t know if I want to know.”
She said she used a 102-inch-square frame to hold the quilt, and it took up a whole room.
“When you’re starting and look at the end, you’re like, ‘Am I ever going to get there?’” Driggers said, adding she started quilting it in September 2016 and finished in December.
The trio worked on a quilt for last year’s sale, which Driggers’ husband, Darrell, won at auction for $11,900. This year, Darrell won the $15,000 quilt and, at the end, bid against a couple they knew who lives in Phoenix—Russell and Kathy Isaac, who actually were the ones who ended up taking it home.
“She had been our classmate,” Driggers said about Kathy attending high school with her and her husband. In addition, Kathy Isaac and Driggers attended Tabor College in Hillsboro together.
The bidding on the quilt, which went fast this year, started at around $500.
“We were pleasantly surprised,” Haury said.
Driggers and Haury think the quilt sold for so much to help MCC feed a lot of people.
“It’s the cause, right?” Driggers said, getting choked up.
Haury added, “Can feed a lot of people for $15,000.”
All of the proceeds from the sale go toward MCC, and the quilt sale brings in the most money. For the quilt auction, there were 238 entries, Driggers said, some of which were wall hangings and Christmas tree skirts. There also were vintage quilts.
The bidding for their quilt took off from $500, with at least five people bidding. When the bidding went to about $7,000 or $8,000, only two bidders left—Russell and Darrell Driggers.
“I knew my husband would bid on it, but I told him he didn’t need to buy every quilt I quilted,” Charlene Driggers said. “I couldn’t believe how fast the bidding was going and how high it was going. At one point, I gave him a nudge and told him to stop. He got the high bid or you could say the other bidder stopped first.
“After the bidding stopped, I told my husband we should approach them to see if they would like to take the bid and be able to take the quilt home. They thought about it for a while and then said they would like to do that.”
Haury said she’s not sure if $15,000 is the highest a quilt has ever sold for at the sale, but she said it’s the highest sold for a quilt on which she’s worked.
“It was exciting,” she added. “You want to be humble about it, (but) it warms your heart that people like your work and then when you think about the money that goes to MCC.”
Planning on the quilt started last summer. Both Haury and Ingenthron had Pinterest ideas saved on what they wanted to do. They decided on a design by quilt and fabric designer Kim Diehl, and Haury traveled to Ingenthron’s residence where she has a big design board.
They patterned the quilt after one of Diehl’s wall-hanging designs, and the top was completed for Driggers to start quilting in September.
“Their work is perfect,” Driggers said about Haury and Ingenthron. “You never find a goof.”
Regarding the quilt that sold for $11,900 in 2016, Haury said several people asked them how they got their buttonhole stitches on the applique so even. Their secret was that it was machine appliqued.
“I love to piece,” Haury said.
Haury and Ingenthron used a variety of light and dark fabrics for a scrappy look this year and last.
“I like to piece dark, and Carol likes a little bit brighter things,” Haury said. “It was fun to work on.
She added, “The quilting is exquisite.”
Asked about when she received it, Driggers said, “And they gave it to me for more fun.”