SEQUIM — Representatives with the League of Women Voters of Clallam County and Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club said they’re surprised a partnership hasn’t happened before.
With 2020 marking the 100th anniversary of women earning the right to vote, league representatives said they wanted a year-long celebration that includes plays and presentations.
Enter a collaboration
At last year’s annual League of Women Voters meeting, Sue Stednick — a member of both the league and quilt club — suggested they work together on a quilt to recognize women’s right to vote.
“Both groups were so enthusiastic,” she said.
Linda Benson, president of the League of Women Voters, said they wanted something that gave the history of all women’s rights to vote.
“We didn’t want to celebrate just a part of it because it wasn’t complete,” she said.
Stednick said a small group of quilters met at Hurricane Coffee Co. each week to brainstorm.
“That was what was so cool,” she said. “Some of us never worked together before, and we’re learning history.”
She said club members “put fabrics together often, but this was so much more.”
“This was a statement,” Stednick said. “That’s what was really fun about it … It just took a lot of thought.”
The quilt is now a staple of upcoming league events, including every show of “Quilters” at Olympic Theatre Arts, running Friday through March 8.
Visitors can purchase raffle tickets for $5 each or five for $20. A drawing will be held on Aug. 15 at Olympic Cellars for the League’s Centennial Celebration.
Benson said finances support their education efforts through community forums and education programs in schools. For more information on raffle tickets and events, visit www.lwvcla.org.
Stednick worked with fellow quilters Anna Schenck Carol Geer, Deni Young, Alanna Levesque, Nancy Wilcox and Norma Herbold for about six months on the wall-hanging quilt.
At first the group thought they’d each make quilt blocks, but it grew into a timeline of sorts, showing a progression from women’s first voting rights to the future.
Stednick said the woman in the quilt’s center, created by Young, represents today’s woman, with her daughter, named Hope, mailing a ballot.
“She represents the future and the responsibility of young people today to vote,” Benson said.
Both Benson and Stednick said they wanted to incorporate diversity because minorities have gained the right to vote at different times.
The banner headline reads “Votes for Women” equals “Progress for the Nation” with outlining words chosen by league members to describe women throughout history.
Quilters say the bottom right side of the quilt starts in the 1700s and shows a woman’s role in agrarian society with no rights to vote or power outside the home.
Going up the right side, the quilt details westward expansion and women’s roles in pioneering the frontier.
At the top left, the quilters honor women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others who worked to educate the public about the validity of women’s suffrage leading to the 19th Amendment being signed in 1920.
Along the left side, quilters say, the quilt shows a diverse group of women looking to the future.
“We want young women to have some understanding and the sacrifices that were made by other women so they could vote,” Stednick said.
The League of Women Voters has developed school curriculum for youths in grades kindergarten through 12 called Kids Voting USA. Stednick said voter education applies to boys and girls, and this curriculum being used in some classrooms in Sequim, Port Angeles and Joyce.
“This generation of children need to know this part of our history that different races were not treated equal. Some still aren’t; it goes on,” Stednick said.
“The more we’re educated, the more we can appreciate and get along and move on.”
Sharon Clayton, president of Sunbonnet Sue Quilt Club, said the partnership between the groups has been wonderful.
“It’s beneficial for the community that we all join forces to support each other,” she said.
For more information on the Centennial Celebration, visit www.lwvcla.org.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].