Kim Zenk and her daughter Katie Hebblewhite pose with a few of the 135 quilts they helped make that will be auctioned off to raise money for the Good Earth Village in Spring Valley on Aug. 17. --Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune
Kim Zenk and her daughter Katie Hebblewhite pose with a few of the 135 quilts they helped make that will be auctioned off to raise money for the Good Earth Village in Spring Valley on Aug. 17. -- Quinn Andersen/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Stitching together

Published 9:00am Saturday, August 10, 2013

By Quinn Andersen, staff intern

Meet the Albert Lea mother-daughter team of Kim Zenk and Katie Hebblewhite. They are quilters.

Zenk started quilting with her mother as a girl and now has taught her own daughter the craft.

Zenk and Hebblewhite have created more than 135 quilts to be auctioned off Aug. 17 at the Good Earth Village to raise money for children to attend summer camp.

Zenk, 52, has been donating quilts to Good Earth Village for more than 20 years both in her name and in memory of her mother, who in her life also donated to the camp. Hebblewhite has donated quilts for seven years and was a camp counselor for four years in college.

Both women have attended the camp and are now on the quilt committee.

Good Earth Village is a 500-acre summer camp and retreat space in Spring Valley. It is a Christ-centered overnight camp focused on creating leaders.

Zenk said that the committee makes sure all the quilts donated for the auction are the best that they can be. Its members start planning the auction a year in advance. Hebblewhite estimates that a fourth of the quilts donated come from the Albert Lea area, but some donations come from as far away as South Carolina.

Zenk teaches quilting classes at the Calico Hutch Quilt Shop in Hayward, designs her own patterns and enjoys showcasing her work at bed turnings and trunk shows.

Hebblewhite, 29, enjoys creating quilts with intricate little pieces and patterns.

“I enjoy building things,” Hebblewhite said.

Hebblewhite describes quilting like reading a good book; once you start you just can’t stop. She enjoys taking her hobby and using it to help others.

Hebblewhite put together the auction booklet, a brochure with a picture and description of all the auction items. She said it is fun to think about the groups that made quilts, because quilting can be a social affair.

“The ladies who make the quilts have a dedication to the camp,” Zenk said.

Zenk quilts and likes to be a housewife and spends time with her five grandchildren. She enjoys gardening and is a church organist. Zenk believes sharing her faith is important.

Hebblewhite recently married her husband, Chris, and is employed at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans with her father, Steve. Beyond quilting, she enjoys music, riding horses and restoring antique tractors with her husband.

It takes 20 to 40 hours to make a bed-sized quilt, and the women think it’s well worth it to be able to give it away at the end.

“It’s a great sense of accomplishment,” Zenk said.

Hebblewhite enjoys the auction’s variety, where a quilt can sell for $10 and another could go for $1,000.

“There is something for everyone,” Zenk said.

Both women enjoyed their time spent at Good Earth Village as children and think of it as a special place.