Reporter’s Notebook: Decades-old quilt completed

By Tony Gutierrez: CNJ staff writer

Sarah Sears of Clovis never finished her quilt, “The Tree of Life,” which she started in 1920.

Her daughter, Jan Pisano, now of Boulder, Colo., now in her 80s, asked Liz Judd and a group of ladies who quilt in her building to finish it.

“She came by with these quilt pieces,” Judd said. “There were four or five squares pieced, but there was no backing.”

Judd’s group quilts for charity, raffling and auctioning off the quilts and donating the money to organizations.

“We had to do some mending and add the backing,” Judd said. “We put the strips in between the squares and around the squares. You take the top piece and put some padding in it and put a binding around the edge of it. That’s what we did.”

Sears cut the patterns for the quilt from a July, 29, 1920 edition of the Clovis News Journal.

“That’s how we know when she actually cut the pieces out,” Judd said. “She did the squares by hand. She wasn’t a too terrbly good quilter, but I’m impressed.”

Judd said they took the fifth quilted piece and made a pillow for Pisano. The quilt was supposed to be eight to 10 pieces, but Sears only made five. The patterns were of squares and triangles pieced together to look like a tree, Judd added.

“I just thought this should go back to Clovis,” Judd said. “When I told Jan, she was thrilled. One of the things that gets lost easily is memorabilia from a town. Then I found out it’s a centennial this year.”

Judd said she sent the newspaper cutouts with the quilt. A photo of the quilt is on display at the Clovis Community College 100th Anniversary photo exhibit.

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Tony Gutierrez. Suggested items may be mailed to Managing Editor Rick White at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is: