Blankets keep you warm.
Quilts tell a story.
So imagine all the tales to be told at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on the second Saturday of July, when the streets of this small Central Oregon town are blanketed (pun intended) with the creative tapestries woven by thousands of quilters from around the world.
For quilters, every stitch has a purpose. Each quilt has meaning.
I know this because my mother is a quilter and her mom was a quilter too. I have several of her hand-sewn creations, including my personal favorite “Star T” quilt that features my name, “Ted” discreetly sewn throughout. Each of my children has their own quilt from grandma (as do a couple of their dolls.) And the “wedding quilt” is one of our most prized possessions. Some of my grandma’s quilts have seen better days – a little frayed around the edges thanks to 40+ years of use. But they’re no worse for wear, serving as the perfect picnic blanket, dog bed, and beach towel when called upon.
Some quilters would be offended if their creations weren’t heavily used. Others look at the quilts like paintings, and are more likely to be hung on a wall than be found on a bed.
According to the Quilt Show organizers, more than 10,000 visitors from all 50 states and 27 foreign countries attend the show each year. It’s a bucket list event for true quilters and paradise for those who appreciate the woven arts. (What’s more, a stop at the Stitchin’ Post fabric store is a must-do for quilters looking for new designs, inspiration and some pointers from local experts.)
It’s a hands-on event for sure with master quilt makers teaching classes and leading workshops all week long. According to the quilt show folks, hundreds more are displayed in “show-and-tell exhibits” for first-time quilters, youth quilters and – get this – quilts made by men! The quilters range in age from 10 to 92.
Many of the quilters will be on hand near their displays to talk to you about their work. Be sure to seek them out and learn the story behind the stitch.