Friendship quilt returns to Friona

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Emma Lu Stewart said she plans to keep a recently discovered quilt, made in Friona the 1940s, to show it to people. Then she hopes it will be added to the Friona museum.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

A piece of Friona history has made its way back to the Texas town.

In 1948, a small home demonstration club called the Merry Matrons made pieces of a quilt with ships as the motif. Each matron made a pair of squares, one with her name and one with her husband’s name below a ship. They exchanged squares with the other matrons in the club.

Each matron quilted the squares they were given into a quilt — a quilt the group called a friendship quilt in honor of the friendships they shared and the ship motif they chose.

In September, a top of one of the quilts surfaced on eBay.

Denise Parker, who grew up in Friona, often searches the auction Web site for yearbooks she doesn’t have. When she saw the quilt and recognized a few names listed on it, she called her mother, Louise Bynum.

Bynum called her quilting buddy Emma Lu Stewart of Friona, who knew June Brummett of Clovis, the sole surviving member of the club from the 1940s. Stewart said she dropped her quilting projects and finished the top into a whole quilt.

Brummett said finding the quilt brought a rush of emotions and memories.

“I remembered a lot of good friends, lots of memories,” Brummett said. “I hadn’t thought about those things until they found it.”

Brummett said it had been so long since she made her friendship quilt, she wasn’t even sure where it was. When she mentioned it to her granddaughter, J’Mi Heflin, remembered having it.

“I’ve been gone from over there (Friona) for so long, I lost track of everybody,” Brummett said.

Heflin said hers is a family of pack rats.

“We’re kind of a sappy, nostalgic family. We hold onto things that wouldn’t mean a hill of beans to anyone else,” she said.

Stewart said the more she looked at the quilt online, the more she wanted it.

“I wanted it to come back to Friona,” she said.

Stewart said she plans to hang the quilt at Prairie Acres, the nursing home in Friona, for a while so the seniors can see it. After that, she hopes to have it put into the Friona museum.

“I think it would be nice for it to be there,” Brummett said.

Parker said she couldn’t believe the quilt still existed after 51 years.

Parker said the listing for the quilt originated in Oklahoma. A woman had bought boxes of fabric at the estate sale of Dortha and Ertis Bass. She found the quilt top mixed in with scraps while going through the boxes at home.

“I think it’s home,” Bynum said.