DON’T underestimate the power of the patch!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
(Photo Contributed) This whimsical farm animal quilt will be just one of the many quilts available during Life Skills’ 22nd annual Quilt Auction on Saturday, July 27, at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.

PLYMOUTH CO. — What started as a few quilts hanging in Foster Park has turned into a great event for Life Skills Training Center in Le Mars.

This year marks the 22nd annual Life Skills Quilt Auction, according to Shelly Thomson, marketing development coordinator for Life Skills.

The auction will be held in Century Hall on the Plymouth County Fairgrounds at 2 p.m., Saturday, July 27, during the fair. Doors will open at 1 p.m., Saturday, to allow people to view and touch the quilts.

“It’s kind of fun to see where we started and how far we’ve come here,” Thomson said.

So far, about 50 quilts have already been turned in, with more expected.

“We have 50 beautiful quilts. They’re every size, every color imaginable,” she said. “We have multiple vintage quilts, more than we’ve ever had. One of the most beautiful is on display right now at American Bank in Le Mars.”

She expects to have 60 or more quilts on auction day.

Quilts are on display around Le Mars, including all banks, Hy-Vee, Emily’s Furniture and Four Brothers, with multiple quilts on display at the Le Mars Arts Center. Quilts are also on display in the Remsen banks and the Kingsley Public Library.

Starting Monday, July 15, and until the auction, all the quilts will be on display at Northwest Bank in Le Mars.

“More than any other quilt auction in the last five years I have worked with the auction, these quilts are going to be keepsakes. They are going to be great wedding gifts, great baby gifts, birthday gifts, Mother’s Day gifts, any gift you can think of,” Thomson said. “They’re going to be heirloom quilts, passed down from generation to generation because there are some beautiful stitches these ladies have put into these quilts.”

There are also some fun quilts.

“We have ISU vs. Iowa quilts, John Deere vs. Case IH quilts, soft fluffy baby quilts, all kinds,” she added.

The quilts are coming not only from Plymouth County, but from clear cross Iowa, Kansas City, and Colorado.

There are new quilters and donors, too.

“Yes, we do have new quilters. One lady brought in five quilts. She’s from Clive. She was in the area, saw the quilts happening, and her cousin lives here, and she said ‘I have some quilts for the quilt auction’ and brought up five of them, five pretty ones,” Thomson said. “It is so generous that people not only in Plymouth County and Iowa but all over the midwest, have all come together for this quilt auction.”

Thomson encourages those who have attended the auction in the past to bring their friends.

“You don’t very often see 60 quilts come together and be on auction. You don’t get to touch and feel them,” she said.

“Again, several of our ladies have brought their ‘A’ games worth of quilts — Ginny Freyermuth, Becky Wiermsa and Phyllis Woll — have brought in eight, nine, 10 quilts in a piece. They really brought some beautiful stuff this year,” Thomson added.

There is also a silent auction, which will have 15 items, such as crayon bags for crayons and coloring books, Christmas stockings, small blankets for children with different textures and more.

“Life Skills’ adult day hab group has worked on a quilt this year. It is not finished yet, but they are diligently working on it to get it done for the auction. They take great pride in those quilts,” she said.

Attending the quilt auction and helping at it is important for the clients, too.

“When they get to go up on stage and hold the quilts up at the auction, that’s a big deal for them. It’s fun to watch their faces,” Thomson said.

It also puts a face on the people who benefit from the dollars raised.

“Right now we have about 70 clients here at Life Skills,” Thomson said. “We have seen in the last six months, a surge of maybe 10 brand-new clients. So they are all in here and we are all excited to be working with them. It’s a fun group of clients we have right now. They are gung-ho and so willing to try different things as far as going out into the janitorial sites, and doing things like that,” Thomson said.

Thomson said the quilt auction isn’t the only presence Life Skills has at the Plymouth County Fair.

Cow Chip Bingo returns on Sunday, July 28.

“Tickets are on sale at area banks and are going fast,” according to Thomson.

“Also during the fair, stop and visit us at the Ice House in Pioneer village. We’re going to be selling some different things, frozen candy bars, in addition to our snow cones,” she said.

“Our quilt auction is our second largest fundraiser, second only to the KC Phonothon,” Thomson said. “This week of the fair is a big deal for Life Skills and it’s an important week for us. We appreciate all the support.”

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