Coughlan, Ruby

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                               RUBY COUGHLAN
                 Love of Quilting; spends 75th birthday with work she enjoys
                              by Margery MacRae

Ruby Coughlan of Barnetville spent her 75th birthday doing the same thing she has done almost every day for the past 10 years – quilting.

Coughlan, who does all the quilting herself, made 45 quilts last year. “I love it – that’s what I spend most of my time doing," she laughed, adding that on some days she is at her work at 7 a.m. in the morning and is still there at 10:30 p.m. “If I get tired in the afternoon I just lie down for a little while and then go at it again,” she said. “I always have quilts ahead waiting to be done. Right now I have three.”

Coughlan is well known for her excellent work and people from many miles around bring their quilt tops to her.

On the day of the interview, Coughlan was working on a quilt brought to her by a lady in Burnt Church. "I will have this one done by the end of the week - it never takes me longer than a week to do a quilt," she said.

As for her birthday, Coughlan said she celebrated that on May 21 at the home of her daughter in Gray Rapids with her seven children, 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. "We had an open house, so there were lots of friends and family members there," she said.

From early spring until late fall the quilting frames are always in place on the Coughlan veranda. In the winter they have to be taken into the living-room, which is not so convenient, but there is always a quilt in those frames. “I always enjoyed quilting and did a lot of it even when my children were young. That is when people started asking me to quilt for them. I guess that's how I really got started. I quilt every day except Sunday. I used to dressmake too, but I got away from that when I started full time with quilts."

Although Coughlan has three daughters, only one of them really enjoys hand work and she does some knitting, crocheting and of course some quilting. Coughlan says some of her quilts have really gotten around. One even went as far as California where it was entered in an exhibition. Out of 90 entries Ruby's came in second. She has the ribbons to prove this.

"I have done lots of quilts for people who have entered them in the Chatham Exhibition and won prizes. I also make crib quilts and right now I have some of those for sale," she added.

Coughlan has a granddaughter who will be graduating from Blackville High School next year and she has told her grandmother that she would like to have a graduation quilt. This, she explained, will be a quilt with graduation caps, complete with tassels, along with the graduates' names.

"I'm also planning to do a special one for my daughter’s fortieth anniversary," she said.

All of Coughlan's quilts are done completely by herself. She never has anyone in to help her. "Years ago one of my sisters used to help me but I do these all by myself now. I have three tops ahead to do right now."

Although she is kept very busy quilting, it isn't the only thing this lady does. "I belong to quite a few organizations," she said, naming them over. "I go to A.C.W. (Anglican Church Women), Senior Citizens Women's Institute, Historical Society and the Ladies Auxiliary. I also go to church nearly every Sunday. I do a lot of my own house work and of course I get the meals.

Coughlan's husband Marven is deceased but she has one son who lives at home with her. Something which makes her quite happy is that her son, who was a bank manager in Ontario for many years, retired in April and has purchased a home in Barnetville close by.

Source: Miramichi Leader – June 06, 1995

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