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Ruby Lanning Lundgren
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Ruby Lanning Lundgren

Quote:  I can see her sitting there embroidering that hair and piecing it, so it is a work of love to me."The Fairy"
© 1936, Ruby M. Lanning Lundgren. 76" x 97"
Private Collection.

The Fairy was created in the 1930s by Ruby Lanning Lundgren for her daughter, Elaine Lundgren Carlson. Following are some of Elaine's memories about her mother and that quilt:

"My mother became interested in quilting and made a few quilts with conventional patterns and then she told my two brothers and me, that she would make each of us a quilt if we would bring her a pattern.

Quilt:  The Fairy
Ruby Lanning Lundgren made "The Fairy" for her daughter Elaine, who chose a Harold Gaze advertising illustration for the design.

"And she expected a conventional pattern, but my younger brother brought her the cover of the Saturday Evening Post for April 3, 1930. And it was picture of 2 Japanese figures, one was on a little bridge and the other was down below playing a mandolin. Well she looked at it and said, that's not what I have in mind, but it sort of intrigued of her so she took the picture and put threads across it and up and down, making one inch squares. Then she enlarged those squares to one foot and she made patterns from that and then she looked for material that would approximate the material in the gown and then she made the quilt.

Ruby's daughter Elaine
Ruby's daughter, Elaine Lundgren Carlson remembers her mother's quilt as a "work of love."

"And my younger brother for whom she was making the quilt was about 12 years old and we usually had a large quilting frame that we set up in our den and he used to sit under the quilt making balsa model airplanes and my mother would sit and quilt and listen to soap operas.

"And so when she finished the quilt, she asked my older brother, what have you found? And he brought her a picture that he had gotten from an old Printers Ink Magazine and it was a picture with a bright red background and this was another oriental woman and she was reaching out her hand to a white parrot in a black cage. Well she couldn't find material that pleased her for the woman's gown so a lot of that she embroidered and the method that she used making it was the same that she'd used in the other quilt.

"So then she asked me what I would like, well I had found a picture that I had liked in Printers Ink several years before that and it was a picture of a fairy standing on a dewdrop reaching over to a carnation getting nectar I guess out of the carnation so I gave her that and she used the same method making that, enlarging the squares, but the hair on the fairy is all solid embroidery and in order to indicate the gossamer gown that the fairy wore she used some crayon on it so that was how those quilts were made.

"She made mine in 1936 and it took her about a year to make it. I can see her sitting there embroidering that hair and piecing it so it is a work of love to me.

"She was a wonderful woman. She had been interested in art, she had worked in an art shop in Chicago at one time. She had done art work in Chicago and then she had painted pictures both in oil and in watercolors. And after she was married, why, she occasionally did some painting but not too much until she started these quilts. But at that time we lived out in the country and my mother did not drive and so she was kind of there alone. My brothers and I went to school and my father went work so she was there alone most of the time so that gave her a lot of time to work on the quilts."

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