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.