Harley-Davidson quilts rev up auction

FAIRMONT – The Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp quilt auction has been a tradition for 27 years, and this year’s focus involves a quilt project taken on by a Fairmont woman.

Ruth Ann Beckendorf has been doing charity quilts for about 20 years, but she became inspired for the featured quilt when she was approached by her daughter-in-law.

“She asked me to do a T-shirt quilt for my son,” Beckendorf said. “He had all these Harley-Davidson T-shirts that he never wore, but didn’t want to get rid of them. He had shirts from all over and they just gave me the box to do what I could.”

Beckendorf managed to make a Harley-Davidson quilt, and it inspired her to try a second one.

“I had donated a quilt [to the Bible camp auction] last year,” she said. “I ran the idea by the quilt committee, because I didn’t want to start all that work if it was going to fall flat. But they thought it was fantastic. I was really surprised.”

Beckendorf also was pleasantly surprised by the reaction she got when she started collecting more Harley Davidson T-shirts.

“I had never been in a Harley store my entire life,” she admits. “I didn’t know what kind of reaction I was going to get when I’d go in and talk about making a quilt … But they were very receptive. All the ones I went to are very professional and neat stores.”

Beckendorf received enough Harley Davidson T-shirts for free or at reduced costs. The stores that donated were honored with embroidered patches on the quilt.

Beckendorf was also fortunate enough to find border fabric that saluted the Sturgis motorcycle rally.

“You can’t get this just anywhere,” Beckendorf said. “I just happened to be at the Hayward fabric store when some of this came in.”

Beckendorf received help in the making of the quilt.

“Julie Petrowiak did the machine quilting, and the machine embroidery was done by Michelle’s Sewing in Blue Earth,” Beckendorf said. “They donated their time at a reduced cost.”

The quilt will be sold as part of the 27th quilt auction on Aug. 2. Viewings will be 5-7 p.m. Aug. 1 and 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 2, with the auction beginning at 1 p.m. at the Ingham Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp. Those interested in proxy bidding can call (712) 337-3306. Quilts available at the auction and more information can be found online at okoboji.org