Local woman a Quilter of the Year


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.

andquot;I made four quilt tops in April, I can make one in three or four days,andquot; Mayer said. andquot;At that rate I could make about 40 quilts a year.andquot;

At the more leisurely pace she usually works, Mayer turns out a respectable 20 quilts each year.

andquot;I was into quilting when my daughter died, and I had to stop working,andquot; she said. andquot;A friend thought it would take my mind off of it (the daughter's death.andquot;)

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 andquot;42 1/2 great-grandchildrenandquot; 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.

andquot;We'll have 151 quilts in the show,andquot; 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.

andquot;I also crochet, make afghans and do my yard work,andquot; she said.

Modern quilters use machines to stitch their creations, Mayer said, although she knows how to quilt the traditional, hand-sewn way.

andquot;It keeps me occupied,andquot; she said.

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