If you lie on it or sit on it, Ruby has it COVERED By MICHAEL STRAND The Salina Journal It seems you can't find a horizontal surface in Ruby Rodda's rural Solomon home that isn't covered with some kind of doily — sometimes several. Then there's the crocheted bedspreads, quilted bedspreads and other assorted pieces of fine craftsmanship, examples of what some 80 years of experience can produce. Rodda, now 88, recalls learning to crochet when she was "just a little girl. I was watching my mom, and she asked if 1 wanted to learn how. Of course I did, and I've been doing it ever since." While the doilies are impressive in themselves, what with their hundreds of hand-tied knots, it's when Rodda pulls out one of the bedspreads you get an idea of how much time she spends with her hobby. "This bedspread took three rolls of crochet thread, each is 3,000 yards," she said. That's 9,000 yards total, or more than five miles of thread. The first bedspread took her two years to complete, "but I didn't work on it all the time." She said she doesn't keep track of the hours she spends working on a piece. "I just work on it for a while, then do something else," she said. "It just depends on how much time I work on it. I sit down in the evening and pick it up." She also hasn't kept track of how many pieces she's made over the years. "I have no idea." Those kind of numbers aren't important if you're doing what you love. "I'm not the kind to just sit down and do nothing," she said. "I just want to do it. "I haven't charged anybody anything after all these years; I give them away to my children and grandchildren and friends and neighbors." But Ruby also made a pretty good living doing much the same kind of work with her hands. A drought in the 1940s left the family in tough times. "I prayed to God I'd find something to help bring in some money," she recalled. "We had a chair that needed reupholstered, and so I started working on it. I didn't have any training, I just kind of looked at it and got started." A neighbor saw her work and convinced Rodda to reupholster some furniture. "Then another neighbor saw it and another, and before long I had a pretty good business going." Good enough that the family built a workshop onto the house, and that's where Rodda worked for 46 years, well past when most people have retired. WsSKfMimth- See RUBY, Page 8 JUStIN HAYWORTH / The Salina Journal Ruby Rodda spent nearly five decades upholstering furniture. Now she spends her spare time crocheting bedspreads and doilies.
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