The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

The town I’ve been taking classes in this week is Sisters, Oregon. It’s named after three mountains that can be seen from town, known as the 3 sisters. They’re apparently pretty tall, as they all have snow on their peaks yet.


Today, I followed the advice of a quilter I met in my Montana class: I got up very early and headed to Sisters well before the official 9 a.m. start time. In fact, I was in Sisters at 7:15. I found parking easily, but imagine my surprise when the entire highway was rerouted around the center of town. Apparently this quilt show is a VERY big deal.

One of the interesting things about this show is that they display the quilts outside. Every business in town puts up quilts on their porches, balconies, rooflines, etc. here’s a few shots of the early morning:




I decided (along with apparently everyone else in town) to grab breakfast at The Gallery. While I was there, I met a friendly woman who shard what she knew about the a lot show. The town relies heavily on this one day event; she said they were expecting 30,000 people. 30,000! I think ,ost of the arrived while I was having breakfast. 😉

So it was time to see the show. Pictures tell the story so much better than I can:





There were so many styles, colors, sizes…here’s a few of my favorites:





That last one cracks me up!

The last stop I made was at the Teacher’s Tent. The instructors from the week out their work on display.

This is a variation on the Honey Quilt done by the instructor, Elizabeth Hartman


These are by Rob Appell



This one’s by June Jaeger, the instructor for the pet quilt:


Other instructors made these:



By 11:00, I felt like everything I looked at was made out of patchwork. There were hundreds of quilts, and they were all wonderful. It was starting to get really busy:


I headed out of town, appreciating my good fortune that Bernadette had advised me to go early. Traffic was backed up for miles.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the pool, soaking up my last bits of Oregonian sunshine. Tomorrow I leave Bend to head for Boise. Time to work my way back toward Montana!

Packing again under western skies,

Get Your Inner Wonky On!

I finished the week of classes here in Oregon with modern quilt designer Elizabeth Hartmann. She was my instructor yesterday, too. Today’s class was on an improvisational piecing technique she called “mod mosaic.” In the quilting world, the term”wonky” is used to describe seams that go crooked. Our pieces today were meant to be purposely crooked. It sort of goes against everything I know about seams as a quilter, but it ended up being pretty fun!

Here’s a photo look at the steps:

Cut a pile of rectangular and square shapes; arrange.


Put together using a white sashing.



Join pieces and create bigger blocks.


Here’s a close up shot:


Pretty wonky!

I have really enjoyed the classes here this week. As a quilter, they’ve really stretched me to try new things and to think more deeply about fabric as art. It’s pretty exciting! I can’t wait to finish these projects when I get home and get started on the others that I have running around in my mind!

Tomorrow is the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Festival. I’ll post more about that tomorrow- it should be something to see!

Wonky under western skies,

Piecing It All Together

I’m going to start tonight’s post with a couple of seemingly random observations. I’ve been meaning to share them for a week, but I keep forgetting….

Did you know?

1). Montana and Oregon have NO sales tax.
2). Every gas station in Oregon is a full-service station. It is against the law here to pump your own gas. Very, vey odd.
3). Today, the odometer showed that I have put 3000 miles on the car. 🙂

So, since two days have passed since my last post, I have competed one quilt top and just barely started another….I love the method, but it is time consuming.

Yesterday, I spent the day in class with instructor Rob Appell. He is the antithesis of everything you may think about a man who sews….he’s a surfer, plays guitar, skateboards, rocks Shaun White-esque hair, is married and has two kids, and, oh yeah, is a fabric artist and quilt designer. He was amazing. His passion is the environment, particularly the sea. He also is a conservationist who has donated over $13000 from his sales to wildlife groups.

Here’s a few of his pieces:



Yesterday, we worked on endangered species wall hangings.

I apologize in advance that my picture-taking seems to be slipping. I get engrossed in a project and forget to snap pictures. For this project, we followed a pattern and added pieces to a piece of plain gold fabric.

Here kitty, kitty…

Last night, I had dinner with a couple of new friends. Teri and Carolyn, if you’re reading this, thanks for inviting me! Then it was off to hear about Melinda Bula’s journey to becoming a fabric artist. Before they let her speak, they introduced the instructors and let them share a piece of their work. I’ve included a couple of really interesting ones. You start to get a sense of how diverse the art quilt world can really be.





Today, I spent the day with a young quilt artist, Elizabeth Hartman. She’s probably a couple of years younger than I am. I am also doing a project with her tomorrow. It’s kind of fun to round the week out with “modern” quilts as opposed to what is considered traditional patchwork. We worked on a pattern called “The Honey Quilt.” It’s triangles sewn into half-hexagons, then made into strips. Sew the strips together, and you start to get this:

Pretty fun and funky! And yes, I picked those colors…and yes, I realize they “look like me.” I can’t help it…I love those colors!!

Tonight I came back to the poolhouse after class to float around and read. This week has been mentally tiring. I decided tonight was just for relaxing. It’s been a wise choice. Here’s my little piece of heaven:


Now I’m sitting outside listening to birds and watching the shadows creep across the patio. They have some stunning sunsets. I love the peacefulness of the evening, and also the colors the sky as the day transitions to night. This was a couple nights ago, right here by the poolhouse:


Peaceful under western skies,

The Emergence of “Da Frank”

I’ve survived the first quilt class of the week here in Oregon. And I’m pleased to say that I did just fine! The information I gained during the last class really helped with this one, though the actual fusing technique is different.

These are a couple of my instructor’s designs:




It starts with a line drawing of the photo, which is then enlarged onto butcher paper. You can see some of the other subjects in the pictures below.



These images are mirror images of the actual photos we sent the instructor. It was our job not only to recreate the picture, but to also transpose it. Good times!

Te next step was to color code our drawings to determine where dark, medium, and light shaded fabrics were needed. The colors were just for coding, so they didn’t need to be realistic. Meet Technicolor Frank:


The we traced and created pattern pieces on fusible web. Fusing and cutting takes a LONG time. The were just the dark brown pattern pieces.


After you have it all cut, then you start working on sections. I started with his tail, then worked forward.


The rest of it is like doing a big jigsaw puzzle: connect, press, overlap, connect, press, etc. eventually, you get to a finished project. Here’s a couple from class:





Wait! Did you see that? I FINISHED!!


I was pleased. I thought it was a good likeness of “da Frank.”




Is it perfect? Nope. Am I really learning what I set out to learn through this grant experience. Definitely. Am I loving every moment of it? You betcha!

The last two days, I’ve left class mentally exhausted. Good thing the house I’m staying in has pool access. I’ve been working on finishing a novel while sitting or standing in the cool water. Rough stuff.

Tomorrow’s a date with a Bengal tiger quilt…grrr……

Basking in the sunset under western skies,