Ramona Powell of Byers, Colo., Rebecca Maddox of Mustang, Okla., and Mary McGill of Lakewood, Colo., show a reproduction quilt they recently finished at Tuesday’s meeting of the Needles and Friends Quilt Guild at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. L&T photo/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
In 2008, Ramona Powell and her friend, Mary McGill, went to Mustang, Okla., to visit Powell’s sisters and their families.
Powell told one of her sisters that she was researching the names on a quilt made in 1937 by the Dombey Club, a quilt group in Turpin, Okla., for a former neighbor who now lives in the Oklahoma City area.
“She gave me two completely worn out friendship quilts our mother had saved,” Powell said of her sister. “They are so threadbare that they have no monetary value, but are priceless to me because they have the signatures of my great-grandmother, both grandmothers, mother, aunts, cousins, various other relatives and friends which I knew as I grew up in the area.”
The Dombey Club was named for a mail route from Liberal to Ochiltree, Texas, from 1904 to 1950. The club name was later changed to the Jolly Neighbors Club when the Ochiltree post office was closed and the mail changed to Turpin.
Both of the quilts Powell got from her sister are dated 1931.
McGill and Powell later took the quilts to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colo., a research museum, only to find no museum anywhere has the space or need for quilts in this condition.
“They suggested we document them with the Colorado Quilt Council so the pictures of the fabrics could be used for research since the quilts are dated 1931,” Powell said.
Later in 2008, the quilts were documented in Ellicott, Colo., and after researching the pattern, no such pattern could be found.
“Since nobody in this group could come up with the pattern, we decided it is probably an original design made by one of the members,” Powell said. “Since the dates are the dates of birthdays, we like to imagine everyone in the group got blocks on their birthday.”
Powell said it was later decided that she should order 1930 reproduction fabrics and make a reproduction quilt which would be documented to preserve the pattern.
“I did choose to use the names of family members and persons I knew as much as possible,” she said as she presented the new quilt to the local Needles and Friends Quilt Guild Tuesday evening at that group’s monthly meeting.
Powell, who now lives in Byers, Colo., said one interesting thing about the quilts is that some of the ladies had included the names of their children.
“Was there not enough blocks, or why did we do this?” she said. “We were small children at this time.”
Powell said the original quilts were so badly worn, quilters needed to put a piece of paper under the lining and put straight pins in the holes made by the embroidery stitches to copy some of the names.
“We really wanted these signatures,” she said.
Powell started making and researching something about each of the names on the quilt in 2009, finishing in May 2013.
“I am still trying to find as much about each person as I can,” she said.
Anyone who knows the ladies on the quilt or anything about them is asked to contact Powell at 2431 South County Road 193, Byers, CO 80103 or calling 803-822-8432.