Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 38th annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. This amazing event is sponsored and organized by the infamous Stitchin’ Post Quilt Shop, owned and operated by Jean and Valori Wells. Although the quilt show itself is only one day (the 2nd Saturday in July), the week leading up to the show if full of quilting classes and social activities. This year 1,300 quilts were on display.
Although I’ve been in Oregon for over 25 years, this was only my 2nd Sisters Quilt Show. Ironically, I first heard about it while visiting a quilt shop in Lancaster, PA 12 years ago! It is now penciled into all my summer calendars, as it is such a great show and well worth the trip. Here’s what I think makes the show so remarkable:
- The beautiful region in Central Oregon, at the base of the Three Sisters peaks, part of the Cascades Range.
- The charming city of Sisters, which celebrates and preserves its Old West heritage. Sometimes it looks like you’ve stepped into a Western movie, but in a very tactful way.
- Buy-in from the whole town. The quilts are hung all over the downtown area, on nearly every business, in tents, on A-frames, on clotheslines, on fences, and on walls. Streets are closed, public areas are converted, and firefighters are put to work hanging quilts.
- The non-juried quilt show.
- The organizers’ willingness to evolve. Although I would say that the majority of the quilts on display are traditional, the Portland Modern Quilt Guild has a dedicated site in the center of town for the third year in a row and the instructor line-up this year included Alissa Haight-Carlton, Elizabeth Hartman and Julie Herman, among other modern quilters. I’m sure we’ll continue to see even more balance in the coming years.
If you ever get the chance, I encourage you to attend the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Although I took about 1000 photos of quilts (nearly all of them, ha ha) I decided to just share some of the shots that give you a sense of place.