101 year old woman auctions off final quilt - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

101 year old woman auctions off final quilt


A Goshen woman has spent close to 50 years making quilts and giving to a cause she believes in. Now at 101 years old, she is ready to give her hobby a rest.

"I started sewing when I was a little bit of a girl sitting on the porch step, sewing doll dresses," Frances Stauffer.

She turns 102 in November and Frances says she is done. "It was something I just loved to do."

She went from sewing doll dresses as a child, to becoming a professional seamstress and after she retired she tackled quilts. "I made it with the purpose in mind, I made it for the sale."

She started making quilts to donate to the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale, every year since it started in 1946. "It gave me something to do which I like anyway and it was being used for a good purpose."

The auction is Saturday and her daughter-in-law says it will be the last time she donates her quilts. "We recognized at 102, there's got to be a time when she throws in the rag. I think what has kept her working at quilting so long is that she loves to design patterns, she's very creative."

She says women from a local church help with the quilting, but her mother-in-law has always created the design and pieced the top of the quilt.

"I never was an expert quilter, but I did like to make the tops," says Stauffer.

And sale organizers say buyers paid big bucks for her effort. "One of Frances' quilts went for over $10,000 one year," says chair John Martens.

Over the last 10 years alone, he says Stauffer's work has raised over 35-thousand dollars. "Excellent, excellent work and beautiful designs."

This final donated quilt has a feathered star pattern and Stauffer leaves her donation days behind, pretty happy with how it turned out. "I think it looks pretty nice."

Stauffer will also have quilted wall hangings in Saturday's auction. If you're interested in bidding on some of her work the quilt auction is held at the Elkhart County's Fairgrounds in Exhibit Barn A. It will begin at 8:00 and organizers estimate that Stauffer's first piece will be auctioned off around 9.

There are other items at the auction as well. There's crafts, baked goods, garage-sale items, and a silent auction. Starting Friday, the public is invited to enjoy the food booths and look at the sale items.  

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