Their completed masterpiece now hangs in the Ouray County Historical Museum.
Each year, the Ouray County Historical Society sponsors a raffle for a unique historical item. The 2010 raffle prize is once again a beautifully crafted vintage quilt that reflects both national and local history.
Called “Garden Bouquet,” it features lavender urns of hand-appliquéd pastel flowers, goldfinches, and bluebirds inside a lavender print border. Each urn holds a different variety of flower, including wild rose, crocus, lily-of-the valley and pansy. The 66 by 80-inch piece (throw-size) is the product of nearly five months of work by OCHS member Sue Hillhouse and her quilting team.
Roger Duckett’s grandmother, Hazel Duckett Weston (who ran the Pioneer Grocery in Ridgway with her first husband, Fred Duckett), had intended to complete this quilt 77 years ago, clipped this pattern from the Denver Post in 1933, but never found time to complete the project. Her great-grandaughter, Christen Duckett, runs Duckett’s Market in Ouray today, while Roger’s wife, Charlotte Duckett, is one of the 15 quilters who produced this project. The Duckett family donated the original newspaper pattern pieces and fabric swatches to the OCHS in memory of Hazel, after her death, in 1985.
It was one of the popular quilt patterns by “Nancy Page,” a syndicated quilt designer, published by the Denver Post and other newspapers during the Depression years. Nancy Page was the pen name for Florence LeGanke Harris, whose quilt patterns were accompanied by tales about the fictional “Nancy Page Quilting Club.” Depression-era women regularly clipped the patterns, which helped sell newspapers and provided a creative outlet for women during hard times.
Another of Hazel’s unfinished patterns became last year’s OCHS raffle quilt, the “Magic Vine.”
“The older patterns are really fun to make and fit well with OCHS’s mission,” says Hillhouse.
Even the frame on which the quilt was completed has a local history. Former Ouray resident Bob Boecking built the frame about 30 years ago for the Presbyterian Quilters. Hillhouse estimates that the team spent 160 hours working around the quilting frame at Marianne Zegers’ home studio – and that doesn’t include the time each individual spent on the appliqué, 12 blocks, border, and binding.
Just as the women of Hazel Duckett’s day enjoyed the social aspects of quilting bees, modern-day quilters form lasting friendships as they cut and stitch.
“Everyone enjoyed the quilting very much,” Hillhouse says. “We felt a special bond, working closely together and making something of a challenge but also something of beauty.”
She adds that Linda Hanson, winner of last year’s raffle quilt, was so intrigued by the workmanship that she joined the raffle quilters this year. Hanson, Mary Stapleton, and Paula Ashmead stitched the binding.
The “Garden Bouquet” quilters are Paula Ashmead, Joan Chismire, Charlotte Duckett, Linda Hanson, Penny Hanshaw, Sue Hillhouse, Cindi McCord, Martha Metzger, Sandy Michaud, Joan Moyer, Kathy Pettingill, Nancy Rule, Norma Shafer, Mary Stapleton, and Marianne Zegers.
The quilt will be raffled off during Ouray’s Oktoberfest on Oct. 2 at the Ouray Community Center. Winners need not be present to win. Tickets are two for $5 or five for $10. They may be purchased from the museum or at Alpine and Citizens State Bank branches in Ouray; at Buckskin Books in Ouray and at Cimarron Books in Ridgway.
Victorian Quilters Tea to Kick Off Annual Quilt Show
Quilt enthusiasts can see many more vintage quilts at the museum’s annual Quilt Show July 21 through August 24. Members of the community are encouraged to share their own family quilts or quilts they may have acquired and enter them in the show. Entries need to be in the museum July 13-19. Contact the museum at 325-4576 for an entry form and other information. This year, all entries must be pre-1960.
A Quilter’s Victorian Tea will kick off the show July 21 at Venue Roscoe Fox at 3 p.m., led by Rani Hult, of Durango, who invites ladies to wear Victorian attire or accessories. “Hats admired but not required” is her slogan. Sue Hillhouse will describe the history and development of quilting in Nancy Page’s era, and explain how the “Garden Bouquet” was created. Refreshments will be served. Admission is $5, which includes free admission to the Quilt Show at the museum. Please call the museum to make a reservation.
The public may view the quilts during regular museum hours, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Mon.- Sat. and 12-4:30 p.m. Sun. “Garden Bouquet” is on display now at the museum. Call the museum at (970) 325-4576 for reservations.