The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 3, 2012

Quilting for Mennonite Relief

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Vonita Unruh’s colorful and intricate Log Cabin-pattern quilt fetched $3,800 Saturday, to help rebuild homes destroyed in disasters, feed hungry children and bring the love of the Lord to hurting people.

The Clinton woman, a member of First Mennonite Church in Clinton, pieced the quilt and then took it to her church, where she and the others in the quilting group painstakingly stitched it by hand.

“It probably took me two months to piece it and it took us probably eight months to hand quilt it,” Unruh said. “There are just four ladies.”

From the first snip of fabric, the quilt was destined for the 2012 Oklahoma Mennonite Relief Sale, Unruh said. It garnered the most votes in the People’s Choice voting and was auctioned at noon Saturday.

Not one of Unruh’s quilts has ever been privately sold. They are gifts of love for family and others. About once a year, she sends a quilt to Corn Bible Academy.

“I’ve been piecing for probably 14 years,” Unruh said. “I started out making whole-cloth quilts, then went into piecing.”

Quilts are a centerpiece item at the Mennonite Relief Sale. The quilts run all sizes, from lap quilts to king-size quilts. Every imaginable pattern and design can be purchased there. Up for sale were an all-over, off-white quilt with a lighthouse pattern stitched into it, a Savanna Medallion pattern in bright colors, and many other patterns including Dresden Plate, Kansas Troubles, Dresden Hearts, Granny Stars, Love Ring and Celtic Roses.

A Grandma’s Garden quilt donated by Eden Mennonite Church at Inola, was started in the 1930s, donated to the church in 2012, then completed, quilted and brought to the sale.

John Miller, a member of Clarita Amish Church at Coalgate, came to the sale along with his wife and three other couples.

“Our church has a quilt donated,” Miller said as he sat in the crowded stands, watching the auction and bidding on things that caught his eye.

Although he and his wife don’t come to the sale every year, a group from his church does make the annual trip to Enid for the Mennonite Relief Sale. The congregation’s connection to the sale runs deeper than merely providing fundraising support. It includes manpower support as well.

“Our church helps with the disaster service,” Miller said.

Beyond quilts and crafts, both sold at auction, the many vendors offered quilting supplies, holiday gifts, books, decor items, handmade jewelry, music makers, ornaments and food items ranging from angel food cake to zwieback.