It's been a week of errands and preparations, but sadly not much writing. I have a finished living room. Well, it's in pieces and boxes but it's been purchased and lugged home and it's waiting to be put on the truck. I've also been sorting through things I've managed to collect over the years and I have a whole box of strange and wonderful (toys, knickknacks and art supplies) that is going to my cousins.
This weekend is the quilt auction in Northern Michigan. It's a Mennonite relief sale and I've been to probably four out of the past five or six years worth of auctions. They sell all sorts of donated items at the auction block, carvings, handmade wood furniture, needle point, refurbished bikes, bric-a-brac, but none of that ever goes as high as the quilts.
These quilts are pieced by machine but they are almost entirely quilted by hand on a frame. When machine quilted quilts showed up the first year the women went all a twitter -- and the quilt went for a third of what other quilts of the same size were fetching.
You never know how the prices are going to run, it depends on who is in the crowd. I've heard that the relief sale in Goshen, Indiana usually has the highest prices because people in the know from Chicago drive down for it. There a queen/king quilt of exceptional color and pattern will go for $8,000 easily. I've seen quilts go that high in Northern Michigan but not often. Some years the best pieces only fetch $1,200-2,000 and some years they keep breaking $3,000. We'll have to see what kind of year this one will be.
I remember seeing one piece the first or second year I went, a "wedding quilt" meaning it was all white and actually a single piece of cloth, that had over 500 hours of hand stitching invested in the quilt top. Needless to say it was done by a quilting group rather than one woman.