Hesston Record Staff
This year’s Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) will take place April 12 and 13 at the Kansas State Fair Grounds in Hutchinson.
One of the most notable MCC events is the quilt auction. Quilters across the state dedicate thousands of man-hours to cutting, piecing and stitching the dozens of quilts up for auction every year.
This year, Hesston resident Ruth Vogt has donated a quilt to the cause.
Vogt has been quilting for the last 30 years and donating her work to MCC for nearly a decade.
“My sister-in-law got me started. And I’ve been quilting for 30 years,” she said.
Even before she began quilting, Vogt was involved in MCC.
“My parents were very involved in MCC. Mom was the Pie Lady. We went as kids and helped out. I volunteered as a youth and then I just kept doing it. I’ve been donating quilts the last nine years. It’s something I love to do,” she said.
During her years quilting, Vogt has found a size quilt she is comfortable with.
“I like standard or a queen is what I do for the kids and grandkids and nieces,” she said
Vogt approaches each quilt as a unique creation.
“It’s like an art project. It’s something that, once you get started, you want to finish,”
While some quilters have found the craft made much easier by modern machinery, Vogt prefers to quilt the old fashioned way.
“I hand quilt all of mine. It’s about seeing the finished product. It’s an art. I love the more traditional patterns. I’m not an art quilter. Some people are and there are some really talented artists that do more abstract work. I love the traditional quilting,” she said.
Driven not only by her desire to finish what she starts, Vogt said the mission of MCC is one she enjoys supporting.
“It is going to a good cause and it is exciting to have something you’ve made from start to finish,” she said.
One of the challenges for Vogt is beginning a new quilt.
“Putting it together, I’m not really good at colors, or I go by the pattern suggestions. Or I ask my daughter. She’s really good; she knows her colors. The challenge is cutting it. Once you get it all cut out, you just follow step-by-step. It’s really very easy. That’s how you sew it together, go through the steps. It’s sort of like a puzzle,”
While no quilting project is quick, Vogt said the time she dedicates to her craft is often spent multi-tasking.
“It takes hours, but I can sit and watch basketball and quilt. I have to have something going on,” she said.
While monetary donations are helpful to MCC, Vogt said the quilts give her a sense of how much buyers appreciate the time put into quilts.
“For me, it’s more the time than it is the money. You don’t always see the value of your time. One time I was going to sit down and write down every hour I quilted. A regular quilt takes 50-70 hours, maybe more,” she said.
Not only is Vogt donating a quilt, she is also on the MCC Quilt Committee.
“I’m looking forward to see how much money we can raise. We know exactly how much we get out of the quilts. It’s one of our biggest items,” she said.
In the weeks and days before the MCC sale, Vogt and others on MCC committees are hard at work preparing for the three-day event.
“Pertaining to quilts, we spent all of last Monday and this Monday working. We have to measure all the quilts, take pictures, put them online and actually get them ready to go up on the quilt racks. All of this is very important.
“We put up quilts on Tuesday (March 28) in the Hutchinson Library. They are hanging off the banisters, so you can see the whole quilt. There are 16 on display,” she said.
For those who browse through the racks before the auction, Vogt said the quilts are not simply put up at random.
“We divide the by quilts, comforters, baby quilts, wall hangings, and start putting them together by color and what goes together,” she said.
The days of the MCC sale are filled with last-minute labor.
“Thursday and Friday are very big days. We have to clean all the racks, get all the quilts there. Friday we hang them and make sure they have the right name with the right name in the book, and put the plastic over them,” she said.
However, after weeks of work, the auction itself is a time to rest and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“Saturday is just lovely. We enjoy Saturday. We sit and watch them sell. It’s kind of exhilarating,” she said.
The funds from the MCC sale promote causes around the world.
“The money that we raise goes to sending meat overseas. There are millions of dollars that go to sending blankets, relief kits, school kits. They’re working on relief kits. We have sent a lot to Syria. Sending blankets, it costs a lot to ship anything,” she said.
Vogt said donors and volunteers continue to support the cause year after year with financial donations, goods to be auctioned or sold and hundreds of man-hours volunteered.
“It’s rewarding to see what people have done for MCC, the amount of work and time and effort. Ours is just a small portion of that whole sale. It’s rewarding to see how much people really do care about the cause and about MCC.”