Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, Sunflowers!

2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

For this year’s post on the 2017 Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) I am going share my 2017 SOQS experience in one post instead of breaking it into a series of posts like I did last year. Warning: There are a lot of photos in this post!

For more background on the SOQS and for photos and stories from previous shows, see my blog category Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.  

Also watch for upcoming posts and videos from two other local bloggers Woolie Mammoth: wooliemammoth.blogspot.com and  Kristen Shields: kristinshieldsart.com/blog on the 2017 SOQS. There was an incredible Lion King Exhibit I did not get photos of and perhaps these bloggers will feature photos of this mind blowing photos to share on this traveling exhibit.

It was very hot yesterday (imagine the witch in the Wizard of Oz: “I’m melting, melting”)

in Central Oregon and this year I decided to go to the show in the afternoon instead of the early morning as previous years. I had plans to meet friends for dinner after the show and I thought I would be completely melted by the end of the day if I went early!

Pathways Exhibit

I shared the progress on my art quilt for the annual Central Oregon SAQA exhibit, Pathways, in several previous posts (most recent Artist Statements, Part II). It debuted on Saturday July 8, 2017 at the SOQS.

Below are photos from the exhibit which featured the works of some majorly talented art quilters in the SAQA group I belong:

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My SOQS Wandering Partner

My friend the NY Times Bestselling Author, Marie Bostwick, was in town for a book signing at Paulina Books (a wonderful indie bookstore, please support your local indie bookstore!).

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I retrieved her after the book signing to extract her from the comfort of an air conditioned bookstore so she could experience the sweltering heat and wander around and look at quilts!

Inside Sisters City Hall: Respite from the Heat

Here is a secret to SOQS: If it is sweltering hot, you can take break from the heat inside of Sisters City Hall and look at quilts (or pretend like you are looking at quilts and just sit inside and relax!)

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Inside City Hall, when you first enter, they had an incredible quilt on display by Jean Wells Keenan that is a tribute to the town of Sisters Oregon:

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Walking into the City Council meeting hall, there was an incredible display of art quilts, the Quilt for Two Rivers project, inspired by the Whychus Creek in Sisters:

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It was very empty in City Hall towards the end of the SOQS and Marie and I spent a leisurely 30 – 45 minutes or so sitting in the comfortable chairs of City Hall, in air conditioning, visiting. Finally the SOQS volunteers came in and kicked us out as they had to lock up City Hall.

More Around SOQS Photos

I did not take the volume of the photos I have taken in previous years attending SOQS. I hope I do not sound too jaded but it is a very nice show with a lot of very nice quilts, but I  no longer think I need photos of every spectacular quilt.

Instead I took photos of a sampling of sights to give a mini experience of attending this mind-blowing show. The entire downtown of Sisters, Oregon is closed to traffic and the entire downtown, every building (and seemingly every nook and cranny) is covered with quilts!

Here is a glimpse inside the Stitchin’ Post quilt shop (Jean Wells Keenan of the Stitchin’ Post started the show in 1975):

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 During SOQS it is pure madness inside this quilt shop as compared to the rest of the year for us locals. I do not attempt to shop there during SOQS (as I can shop there anytime the rest of the year) but I do like peeking in to see the craziness as quilters from all over the world try to take home a little of the magic.

One thing I have to say about the Stitchin’ Post, besides having a fantastic staff (which includes many talented fiber artists), is that it has a fantastically curated selection of fabrics and yarn. If you are an art or modern quilter this is definitely the place to buy unique and hard to find fabrics.

At the show I ran into Donna R., an extremely talented art quilter and long time SOQS volunteer. She had on a handmade and dyed dress created from previous SOQS volunteer T-shirts:

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The SOQS volunteers are quite an amazing group. I volunteered once in 2007 when I had my first quilt ever in quilt show at 2007 SOQS, but I have not been able to volunteer again since that time. Maybe in the future.

Speaking on volunteers, Jan T. another incredible art quilt and head of our Central Oregon SAQA group, presented a quilt story book in which each page of a giant book had a story on the right and a quilt on the left inspired by that story:

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How often do you get to see something like that? Only at the SOQS!

While at the show I ran into the wonderful teacher and incredible person, Janet Shorten the head of Sisters of the Heart Foundation which brings medical teams and community enrichment teams to struggling villages in Uganda. Janet teaches women in Uganda to do crafts, including quilting, then helps them sell those crafts to raise money for their communities.  Here she is with one of the quilts the women she works with in Uganda made:

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They focus on community empowerment and if you are looking for an organization to support with your donation, I recommend this wonderful organization!

So that is my reporting from the 2017 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Check out the other blogs I mentioned early in this post for additional photos.


Postscript

While at the show, I did stop at the Sisters Habitat for Humanity Thrift shop and found this lovely sunflower fabric for $2:

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I do love sunflowers and if you have followed my blog for awhile you might remember my obsession with sunflowers, like in this July 2016 post Waiting for the Sunflowers.

It is July again and I am once again waiting…so I just had to buy this fabric!

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Studio, Thrift Shop Adventures

The Backstitch and the End of Tangled Floss

Inviting the Backstitch into my Repertoire

Continuing my theme of cleaning out the old UFOs (unfinished projects) from yesterday’s post, this weekend I also worked on an appliqué project that I began in a wonderful class a over year ago (Adventures in Appliqué). 

I made progress on this piece while attending the annual retreat with my Quilting Sisters in May 2017 (Quilt Retreat Inspiration and Projects):

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To finish this wallhanging size quilt top, I needed to embroider the words that go with the image using a “backstitch”:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

Hopefully it is obvious (fingers crossed) that my wallhanging contains an acorn which eventually becomes a large oak tree in time.

The concept of the wallhanging is based on the African Themed Bible Verses appliqué quilt that students had the option of making in the class.

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Bible Verses Quilt by Ugandan Women, Sisters of the Heart Foundation, Sisters Coffee House during the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

I being the rebel, decided to use the words of an ancient Chinese philosopher as inspiration for my piece (also a rebel, I decided to make a smaller wallhanging with one block instead of a quilt with multiple blocks).

Although I have allegedly been quilting for 17+ years, sometimes I feel like a brand new quilter when I discover something else I do not know how to do: in order to stitch on the words, I needed to learn how to do the backstitch.

The wonderful instructor, Janet Storten (who is the Director of Sisters of the Heart Foundation) kindly offered to give me a refresher on the backstitch as she did cover it in her class (and I swear I did pay attention in class). I was tempted but I thought I would take a chance and try to learn the backstitch from YouTube.

YouTube is filled with awesome instructional crafting videos (and I have lost hours of time watching one right after the other). I discovered one by the talented crafter Lauren Fairweather:

As Janet had instructed in her appliqué class, I first lightly drew words in pencil on my fabric (see I did remember something). Following the video above, I slowly did my first backstitch letters!

This is another hand sewing meditative experience (slowing down and focusing appears good for the soul!)

In time I know I will get better, but here are photos of my progress so far (I had to put my work in a hoop to stabilize it until I get more experienced):

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So Tierney, you stitch on TWO letters and then post photos? Why yes, I am very proud of those two letters – ha! Of course when the whole top is finished I will post an updated photo.

A Tale of Tangled Threads

Actually a tale of tangled embroidery floss, but the words “embroidery floss” did not not provide the alliteration that “threads” did in the header to this section!

Last May when I took Janet’s class on Appliqué I discovered embroidery floss cards (Tierney – have you been quilting under a rock all these years, why do you not know about basic crafting items?!?!) Janet was kind enough to share some of her huge collection of embroidery floss cards with her students. She gave me this one that coordinated with my piece:

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I did not know such magical cards existed! I thought that she had discovered a mysterious and secret fountain of embroidery floss!

You see I have always purchased embroidery floss this way:

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Photo credit: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts

And turned these nice little packages of embroidery floss into TANGLED MESSES.

Prior to learning to stitch with them, I used embroidery floss in various colors as the “string” to hold the chopstick on the miniature kimonos I make so they can become a wallhanging.

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Miniature Kimono by tierneycreates with red embroidery floss

Other crafters will likely cringe at this but I would just cut in the middle of a new package of embroidery floss in order to access a length of it for hanging the kimono. Then I would put the rest of the floss away in a small bag and it would turn into a tangled mess.

I would untangle the mess to try and cut more floss out for another kimono as needed.

Are you cringing, I mean really cringing? Do you want my “Crafter Card” revoked at this point?

Not able to find embroidery floss on these mysterious spool like cards, I just kept doing what I was doing until I discovered a large package of embroidery cards with floss and some EMPTY CARDS for $1.50 a couple of weeks ago at a thrift shop.

(Lightbulb)

So…you buy the cards and then you wind your embroidery floss onto the cards!

This weekend I sorted my thrift shop find into an old small plastic container with dividers and wound all my floss packages onto their own spool cards!

I went from this (note the tangled floss in small packages):

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To this:

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When I ran out of the cards I got from the thrift store bag, I used one of them as a template and created my own with some recycled cardboard.

Just think how much more basic quilting/crafting stuff I will learn in my next 17 years of quilting!