Alene Rucker sits at a dining room table and holds an example of her decorative wheat weaving. She is wearing a green t-shirt.

Alene Rucker

Wheat Weaving, Quilting

Alene Rucker (Arlington) is a wheat weaver and quilter. Rucker, who married a wheat farmer, learned to weave wheat in the 1970s from Sandra Greenfield. While now semi-retired, Rucker continues to teach wheat weaving in her local community.


Alene Rucker is a wheat weaver and quilter. People across Gilliam County know Rucker by her name, face, and reputation. Born in Nampa, Idaho, she moved with her family to Oregon during the war years when her parents came to work in the defense industry. Rucker learned to quilt from her mother and became so proficient that her peers recognize her as a master. She does beautiful hand applique and hand quilting. She is also an excellent machine quilter. Rucker is also one of the best wheat weavers in the Gorge. Wheat weaving, which is associated with the broader category of straw weaving, started out as a harvest tradition in England and other parts of Europe. Women would fashion intricately braided, plaited, and woven pieces into geometric shapes, human and animal figures, and even religious symbols. Rucker and her husband, a local wheat farmer with whom she’d gone to high school, farmed for 35 years. The craft, which was once ubiquitous but then faded, underwent a revival in the wheat growing regions of the US, particularly in the Great Plains states. Rucker had seen wheat weavings and thought that since she and her husband were raising it, she would like to know how to make something out of it. In the 1970s, Sandra Greenfield, a local Condon weaver, taught Rucker how to weave. Although many wheat weavers have their wheat shipped in from the Midwest, Rucker insisted upon using wheat from her own fields to create intricate her three-dimensional designs. Now semi-retired from wheat farming, Rucker uses wheat from Kansas, but continues to teach weaving classes in her local community. For many years, Rucker has taught Gilliam County 4H classes in sewing, leatherwork, and wheat weaving. She has also been a fair judge and is a member of the National Association of Wheat Weavers.

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