Quilter to showcase her work at ag expo

Laura Merrick works on a quilt at her Portales home. Merrick, an avid quilter since she was a child, looks forward to participating in the quilt show this month at the New Mexico Ag Expo. The Ag Expo is Feb. 23-25 at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.

By Tony Parra

PORTALES — Laura Merrick of Portales owns a piece of history. She’ll share it with others during the 12th Annual New Mexico Ag Expo’s quilt show scheduled Monday through next Wednesday at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds.
Merrick will display an antique quilt her grandmother knitted in 1873. Merrick said she received the quilt from her mother.
The quilt’s design was conceived in 1844, Merrick said.
She said the quilt 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 treasure.
“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 said 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 the skill to her daughters.
“It’s my life,” Merrick said about quilting. “I love to do it, even after all this time.
“I’m anxious to see some of the other quilts. I think many of them are extremely pretty.”
Organizers expect more than 100 quilts on display in the Women’s Building at the fairgrounds.
“The New Mexico Ag Expo is the biggest event of the year for the chamber of commerce,” said Anna Foster of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce. “We have people from everywhere in the U.S. come to the Ag Expo.
“We have different thread companies from around the U.S. send material such as padding, thread and patchwork. Linda Custer (in charge of the quilt show) will use these materials as door prizes.”