Cornelia de Bruin
Triplicate staff writer
Even you knew nothing at all about Ruthe Mayer, after one peek into her home you would guess she's a quilter.
Quilts are stacked everywhere, a quilting frame is set up, a sewing machine holds court in the living room and stacks of fabric bolts fill every shelf of her ceiling-high bookcases.
Mayer is one of two Quilters of the Year chosen recently by members of Azalea Quilters Guild, which includes women from Del Norte and Curry counties.
Her co-quilter of the year is Doris Cunningham, 80, of Brookings.
Now 82 years old, Mayer began quilting as a young woman of 27.
"I made four quilt tops in April, I can make one in three or four days," Mayer said. "At that rate I could make about 40 quilts a year."
At the more leisurely pace she usually works, Mayer turns out a respectable 20 quilts each year.
"I was into quilting when my daughter died, and I had to stop working," she said. "A friend thought it would take my mind off of it (the daughter's death)."
Mayer didn't stay on the sidelines for long, however. She also has a huge family to provide with quilts.
She had 10 children, and from their offspring now has 30-plus grandchildren and "42 1/2 great-grandchildren" for whom to quilt.
Beyond family, Mayer makes quilts for veterans, quilt tops for veteran's auxiliary fund-raisers, quilts for children removed from their homes and quilts for the upcoming Azalea Quilters Guild quilt show.
"We'll have 151 quilts in the show," Mayer said.
She's even helping to set up for the show.
Mayer volunteers her time to Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church's Forever Young program, and cares for her ex-husband, who stays in a garage apartment next to her home.
"I also crochet, make afghans and do my yard work," she said.
Modern quilters use machines to stitch their creations, Mayer said, although she knows how to quilt the traditional, hand-sewn way.
"It keeps me occupied," she said.