Laura Merrick will be one of many who will show their talents in the quilt show of the 12th Annual New Mexico Ag Expo, Feb. 23-25 at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds. Her family is rich in a quilting tradition which dates back to the 19th century.
Merrick knows all too well about quilting. She’s devoted more than 40 years of her life to quilting. Her grandmother taught her mother and her mother taught her to quilt and at the age of 81, she has taught it to her daughters.
“It’s my life,” Merrick said about quilting. “I love to do it, even after all this time.”
She had a sewing business that started due to word of mouth, but she had to cut that lifestyle short in 1988. She was unable to participate in the quilt show of the New Mexico Ag Expo last year because she said she had to have surgery during that time.
“I’m anxious to see some of the other quilts,” Merrick said. “I think many of them are extremely pretty. I’m very interested in seeing some of the other people’s work.”
Merrick will be displaying an antique quilt in the antique quilt category of the quilt show that her grandmother passed on to her mother and she passed it on to Merrick.
Merrick said that her grandmother knitted the quilt in 1873, making the quilt 131 years old with the original design conceived in 1844. According to Merrick, the quilt is called a Ladyfinger and is made of flax, a plant with blue flowers commonly cultivated for its fiber.
“This quilt has never had any work done to it,” Merrick said. “It’s exactly how it came. She threaded the quilt with flax and I kept it in a cedar chest. I take it out a couple times in the year to air it out.”
Merrick said she would like to pass it down to one of her children one day so they can maintain the quilt in good condition.
“I fold it in a different fold when I put it back into the cedar chest to keep it in different creases,” Merrick said. “It’s very fragile. It’s so old.”
Merrick will be entering another quilt into the competition which has a bow-tie design to it.
“The New Mexico Ag Expo is the biggest event of the year for the chamber of commerce,” Anna Foster, of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce, said. “It’s the biggest money-maker for the chamber. We have people from everywhere in the U.S. come to the Ag Expo.”
Organizers expect more than 100 quilts on display in the Women’s Building. Some quilts will be for competition and others will simply be for show.
“We have different thread companies from around the U.S. send material such as padding, thread and patchwork,” Foster said. “Linda Custer (in charge of the quilt show) will use these materials as door prizes.”
The Women’s Building will showcase selling items such as jewelry, candles, crafts and cookware. There will also be cooking and floral demonstrations. Carmen Matthews of Pampered Chef will give a cooking demonstration at 11 a.m. on Feb. 25 and Rose Riley of Katie’s Flowerland will give a floral demonstration at 2 p.m. on the same day.
There will also be a workshop on dating fabrics and quilts and how to repair old quits will be included. There will be prizes of $15, $30 and $50. For information, contact the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-635-8036 or 356-8541.