Hand quilted beauties at an Amish Quilt Auction

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For years my family has been going to the semi-annual Amish Quilt Auction in Bonduel, Wisconsin. But since the small farming town is a six hour drive from where I live, I’ve never been able to organize a trip to coincide with the event. That is until this fall’s auction.

It is pretty safe to say that I was not disappointed. A fundraiser for the Amish School, the auction featured nearly 300 quilts, each one of them hand quilted. Held in a large barn that is half filled with auction items and half filled with auction attendees, my family arrived the night before like we were Black Friday shopping to set up lawn chairs in the second row.

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Then we spent close to an hour going through each quilt one by one. They’re all folded and draped over large hangers so you can get a good idea that you’ll probably like the quilt, but won’t know for sure until it is hung up in all its glory on the auction stand.

There were some beauties. Intricate applique, perfectly pieced lone stars, impossibly small fine hand quilting stitches in complex designs. What is disappointing is what the quilts go for. Some will run up a high price and sell for a respectable amount, others sell for so low the selling price wouldn’t even cover the price of fabric.

I saw an intricate king-sized quilt go for $525, while a log cabin top only sold for $85 and one crib quilt in the traditional Amish style of using only solid colors sold for just $10.

My relatives have purchased more quilts that they probably would want me to admit over the years. I have one that my grandmother bought me for a wedding present. It is so complicated I probably still would find it challenging to replicate it.

Amish Quilt Auction 07

There also are baked goods, small items such as baskets and rugs and beautiful handmade Amish furniture. Of course I was most interested in the quilt racks and tables made from a treadle base and new wooden top. But there also are dining room sets, bedroom furniture, even a time out chair complete with a clock inlaid in the chair back.

I could have gotten in a lot of trouble if I hadn’t forgotten my checkbook at home. I’m sure my husband is glad I did.

The Bonduel Consignment Auction is always held on the Saturday before Mother’s Day and the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Keep an eye on the Shawano County calendar of events for information about location and times. If you go, Shawano County is also the Barn Quilt Capitol of Wisconsin. Make sure to drive around the countryside to see the barn quilts. You can read more about them here.

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