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History stitched in over time- and in quilts

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Ruth Lazott holds up a 142-year-old quilt that her great-grandmother made when she was 12 years old. Lazott completed the Moving Star quilt on the bed in January.Quilting has been in Ruth Lazott’s family for more than a century.

The quilts that cover her home from floor to ceiling hold all sorts of stories of personal and cultural history.

Lazott will be the featured quilter in the Skip-a-Week Quilt Club’s annual show during the 2013 Summer Celebration.

She plans to display quilts or handiwork from seven generations of her family.

As far as she can tell, Lazott is the fifth-generation quilter in her family.

Lazott’s mother used to make quilts for all of her children as it was cheaper than buying them blankets.

Lazott’s first memory of quilting was sitting at her mother’s knee cutting out quilt pieces when she was four or five years old.

Her mother made clothes for Lazott and her nine siblings by hand.

She would give Lazott the fabric scraps- starting Lazott’s lifelong obsession with collecting fabric.

Lazott has an entire closet filled with neatly folded and labeled fabric pieces. She adores anything with a rose pattern.

“All of the women in my family did beautiful handiwork,” Lazott said.

Lazott’s mother taught all of her children, even the boys, how to embroider.

The children would doodle a design such as a flower of star and show it to their mother. She would then have them embroider the design on a corner of her dish towel.

Lazott has a framed embroidered picture of a doe and fawn that she embroidered “as a young bride” in 1948.

“Looking at it, I will always be reminded of those early months of our marriage and the love and devotion we held for each other,” Lazott wrote of the piece and her husband, John Lazott.

Lazott knows the story behind every piece of quilt or handiwork in her home.

There’s the 172-year-old piece of coverlet made by her great-great grandmother as part of her hope chest in 1841, there’s the quilt that reminds Lazott of a log cabin that her great-grandmother made as a 12-year-old in 1890, there’s Skip-a-Week quilt club collaborations and a quilt her 21-year-old granddaughter made.

Lazott has kept a detailed scrapbook of every quilt she’s ever worked on. She estimates that she’s worked on more than 100 quilts in her lifetime.

Not surprisingly, the heavy tome is full.

“I would say the quilt I’m most proud of having a part of is the one (Skip-a-Week Quilt Club) gave to City Hall,” Lazott said.

In 2005, Skip-a-Week Quilt Club presented Estacada City Hall with a “Centennial Quilt.”

For her square, Lazott transferred a photograph of the old gazebo from her mother’s photo album and created an image of her memory of it.

Lazott has been a Skip-a-Week club member for 15 years.

“That group has been in existence continuously since 1921,” Lazott said.

The group claims to be the oldest quilting group in continuous existence in Oregon- a statement no one has contested, Lazott explained with a smile.

“So many close friends. When one of us hurts, all of us hurt,” Lazott said of the group.

The club has 20 to 30 active members.

They meet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday at Garfield Grange, 33460 S.E. Divers Road.

Anyone, even those with no quilting experience, are welcome to come.

Nearly 13 years ago, Lazott started an extension of the club for “the girls who work in daytime and couldn’t come up to the grange.”

They meet 4-6 p.m. Wednesdays at Lazott’s home.

The group is working on its 24th quilt; they have hopes it will be ready for the show, but are not sure it will be.

Sometimes the group is commissioned to create a quilt, other times they work on projects for each other.

Last year, they gave away 18 quilts.

Lazott graduated from Estacada High School in 1948 and has lived in the area for most of her life.

“The hours just go by and you don’t worry about anything. It’s just good therapy,” Lazott said of her lifelong quilting passion.



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