Seeds of ideas “sewn” in P.E.O.

MEEKER I The seed was first “sewn” a few years ago. It was but a spark of an idea that our small town of Meeker could host a show featuring the unique handiwork of quilters from across the northwest corner of our state. However, the first seed was most likely “sewn” long before that as a group of women, friends and sisters in P.E.O. came together almost weekly to make a stitch in history, their history, and to lovingly and patiently create works of art together. With each hand-stitched corner, or block carefully cut, the idea grew into something that seemed enchantingly possible.
Last year, the seeds of these small ideas culminated when Meeker’s local P.E.O. Chapter BA put on its inaugural quilt show entitled “Quilts in the Country.” The show was housed in the historic Meeker Elementary School downtown. The venue naturally lent itself to utilizing the old classrooms as well as the historic gymnasium to display quilted items of all sizes, shapes and ages. With chalk-dusted blackboards and heavy celour stage curtains as the backdrops, the quilts were the true showstoppers in every color, style and age imaginable. As visitors quietly mingled amidst the memories of an old school they may have attended as a child and beautifully crafted quilts strung cheerfully along its walls, one could not deny the treasures of history and memories that were united at the show.
One such quilt was Meeker’s Pioneer quilt, which featured hand-embroidered blocks from many of Meeker’s first pioneer ladies. The quilt’s owner, Lucy Jane Howey, can remember as a child when her grandmother, Mary Allsebrook Smith, would host teas at her house, inviting many of the town’s pioneer ladies. At one such tea, her grandmother handed out white blocks of fabric, requesting that the ladies embroider their name as well as the date they came to Meeker on the block. Later, Lucy remembers her grandmother and mother, Wilma Smith, working diligently to assemble the blocks, hand quilting them together into a beautiful piece of history. They quilt was finished in 1936, when Lucy was just 10 years old, and it continues to live on as a piece of history, with 84 ladies “piecing” it together more than 75 years ago. “Quilts in the Country” is excited to have the opportunity to display this historic piece again at this year’s upcoming show.
After a successful first show, P.E.O. Chapter BA is excited to announce its upcoming second annual Quilt Show in conjunction with the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials on Sept. 7-8. The show will again be held downtown at the historic Meeker Elementary School at 455 Main St. and will feature a huge array of quilts, old and new, from across Northwest Colorado. If you have a special quilt, we encourage you to enter it to be displayed in the show! Please contact Stephanie Oldland at 970-878-4711 or by email at stephold@wreawildblue.org for more information. This year the prestigious People’s Choice Award will be expanded to include a People’s Choice Award for each display category.
This year’s raffle quilt was lovingly constructed by a group of six Chapter BA ladies and is a beautiful blend of rust, green and cream paisley fabrics. The piece was entered into the Rio Blanco County Fair and was awarded reserve grand champion in its division. The raffle quilt is currently on display at Meeker Drugs. We invite you to purchase raffle tickets now at Meeker Drugs or at our show in September for a chance to win the one-of-a-kind quilt. And don’t miss our Country Bake Sale featuring jams, jellies, breads, cakes, hand-sewn items and fresh-from-the-country flowers!
P.E.O. Chapter BA thanks you in advance for your support of our “Quilts in the Country” show. The fundraiser enables us to continue to assist women in their educational endeavors in our community, our state and our world. It also has allowed us to create a brand new scholarship in Meeker, which is open to high school senior women looking to pursue their secondary education at a vocational or trade school. We believe that assisting young women in all stages of their educational journeys is important, and we thank you for supporting us in our mission.