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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment July 23, 2016

7/9/2013 1:01:00 PM
Quilters flock to Sisters for show
Tammy Ambrose, right, goes over some documents with volunteer Sarah Peery, up from Bend, as another volunteer looks on. photo by Jim Cornelius
+ click to enlarge
Tammy Ambrose, right, goes over some documents with volunteer Sarah Peery, up from Bend, as another volunteer looks on. photo by Jim Cornelius

Volunteers stitch together annual Quilt Show
Quilters are already arriving in numbers for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. They are participating in a week of classes known as Quilters Affair in the run-up to the Saturday, July 13 show, the largest of its kind in the world.

The whole thing can only come together because there are dozens and dozens of volunteers who are willing to pitch in, whether it's to check-in quilts or get them hung up across the buildings of downtown Sisters - and to rescue them if they fall or if the weather gets sketchy.

Some of those volunteers are local quilters; others make their visit to Sisters a "volunteer vacation."

Steven Letnaunchyn is in town from Maryland. His wife is taking Quilters Affair classes, and he's signed up to do whatever is needed from him.

"Normally we take our camper (to quilt events) and I just sit in the camper and fill my time," he said.

This time he and his wife flew out, and he's not going to have any trouble staying busy. He's on the Quilt Rescue Team, helping with setup, and is an "at-large" volunteer.

The nature of the show - outside and in town - lends itself to plenty of work opportunities.

"This was kind of a more hands-on thing, and it sounded like an interesting thing to do," Letnaunchyn said. "They're just going to fill me in as they need."

The Marylander was in Oregon 41 years ago, studying at what is now Western Oregon University. He and his wife will make a trip to Monmouth during their stay, and head up to Madras to hunt for thunder eggs.

Chris Shimizu, of California, has been attending the show for six or seven years.

"I live in Sacramento, and I'm a school-teacher there," she said. "I come up for the quilt classes and the quilt show."

Outgoing executive director Ann Richardson inspired her to volunteer.

"You know what the big draw is?" she said. "It's Ann. I'm really gonna miss her."

She's been volunteering in the quilt show office.

"The last few days I've been folding the quilts," she said. "They have so many jobs there. Whatever they need, I'm just happy to help."

The well-oiled machine that is the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show makes it attractive for volunteers to participate.

"It's so organized," Shimizu said. "Everybody has their job and they've been doing it for years. It's incredible to see how it all culminates in one beautiful day."

Karen Shadley has also been checking-in quilts - "which is wonderful because you get to see them up close and touch them," she says.

Shadley is happy to give back "because the quilt show does so much for the community. But also," she says, "it's just fun."

Like most volunteers, Shadley is a quilter herself.

"I had made one quilt back in the '70s," she recalled. "When we moved to Sisters in the early '90s, I started taking classes at Stitchin' Post, and I've been quilting ever since."

Being part of such a singular event is very gratifying to the volunteers, who enjoy the atmosphere of Sisters at this time of year.

As Shimizu put it: "When you walk around on Quilt Show day, you just see so many happy people."

By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Sisters is already rolling out the red carpet for the thousands of quilters who come to town each year for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Many are already on hand for a week of classes, and some have their tickets for a special screening of the documentary "Stitched," which follows three quilters as they prepare for the Houston quilt show. They toured Sisters to explore other examples of the fiber arts in the Around the Block Fiber Arts Stroll last Sunday.

It all builds up to the big day, on Saturday, July 13, when quilts will blossom on storefronts throughout downtown. The weatherman is promising bluebird weather with temperatures around 80 degrees and plenty of sunshine to show off the quilts in their best light.

Cascade Avenue through downtown Sisters will become a pedestrian mall - closed for the duration of the event. Westbound traffic (coming from Bend and Redmond) will be routed north on Locust Street, west on Barclay Drive and south onto Larch Street for access to downtown and the show. The block of Main Avenue between Locust and Cedar will be closed to traffic and utilized by traffic-control officials as a staging and communications area.

The Sisters Elementary School parking lot and the parking lot between the Sisters Schools Administration building and City Hall will be designated for disabled parking. A five-passenger cart will shuttle between the center of town and the disabled parking lots throughout the day. Free parking and a free shuttle is available at Sisters High School in the Sisters Park & Recreation District side of the parking lot at 1700 McKinney Butte Rd. Signs will direct people to that location. The shuttle, provided by the Sisters Lacrosse Team, runs continuously from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Furry Friends Foundation will be at the show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Hood Avenue next to Eurosports and across the street from Bedouin.

As the official dog watering station, they'll have a kiddy pool set up for the pups, along with lots of water available. The nonprofit will also be selling tickets for the Furry Friends raffle quilt. Meet the quilter, Valerie Fercho-Tillery, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A limited quantity of coffee mugs sporting four of the quilt blocks will be on sale.

Furry Friends Foundation stocks the year-round pet food bank in Sisters and sponsors spay and neuter services for pets of low-income families.

The quilt show raffle quilt "Streams of Color" was designed by Jean Wells and pieced by the East of the Cascades Quilters. Laura Simmons of Sisters did the final assembly and the quilting. The quilt design echoes the artwork of Dan Rickards in this year's show poster. The signature "fish block" was designed by Stitchin' Post employee Paige Vitek and has made an appearance in a number of raffle quilts. Tickets will be sold on the back lawn of Stitchin' Post until the raffle drawing at 4 p.m. on July 13.

Young aspiring quilters are invited to come to the activity area in Town Square, where quilters-to-be are welcome to create a small take-home project with the help of show volunteers. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Those who couldn't fit everything in on one day are invited to "Save It For Sunday," enjoying a special guest lecturer and quilts on display among the pines at FivePine Lodge & Conference Center. Authors and Modern Quilt Guild leaders Alissa Haight Carlton and Elizabeth Hartman share what's happening in the modern quilting movement and host a tour of beautiful quilts from around the country.

For more information on quilt show events, visit

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