photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

Sisters resident and 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show featured quilter Liz Weeks has fond memories of the crazy quilted robes pieced together by her grandmother over 50 years ago. All those free-flowing shapes were made from scraps of fabric that were left over after her grandmother sewed ballet costumes for nieces and maybe a tie or two of her husband's - or just any remnant fabric that was available.

"She crazy-quilted bathrobes for everyone in the family," Weeks said, smiling. "She must have made 10 in all, and I saved four of them. It's called that because when it was really popular in the 1800s they called it crazy to do. Crazy quilts are the earliest American quilt style."

Weeks says she has always loved sewing, dating back to her childhood when she made outfits for her dolls. Weeks really can't remember when she wasn't doing something in the sewing realm.

"My mother and grandmother taught me to sew, knit, crochet and embroider. And although my mom didn't quilt, she did everything else, including making all the dresses for the girls in the family," Weeks added.

Weeks made her first quilt in the 1970s, then quit to raise her daughter and teach elementary school.

"I got bitten by the quilting bug again in 1999 and haven't stopped since," she said.

On a trip to Australia in 1999, Weeks stayed with a high school friend who was a quilter. Her friend invited her to go on a shop-hop, on a bus with a bunch of friends.

"I was astounded when I saw all these women buying what I now know are fat quarters. I always had in the back of my mind that someday I wanted to make a really nice quilt," said Weeks. "And after returning home from that trip I thought maybe I had better take some classes, and I did. This is what started me down the road of fat quarters, mats, rulers and rotary cutters."

A fat quarter is a quarter-yard-cut of fabric that has been cut apart on the fold. You end up with two pieces of fabric 18-by-22-inches.

For Weeks, her quilts have a functional and sentimental beauty, and they are usually meant to be used.

"I love to quilt because I like seeing the patterns and colors come together," Weeks told The Nugget. "I like traditional quilts the best, and I like my quilts to be useful and for people to find warmth in them."

Weeks is passionate about pieced quilts, appliqué, and enjoys an embroidery project when she is traveling.

She is a member of the Sisters quilting group, East of the Cascade Quilters, where she learned how to use a long-arm machine, so she could quilt for the groups community project "Quilts for Kids."

"Our group makes quilts to give to Head Start and kindergarten kids. We also give quilts to the fire and police departments."

Weeks gives much of her time doing volunteer work, including the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS).

"Liz has volunteered for the past 10 years in the Quilt Show event office doing a very important and particular job in the sorting and placement of quilts," said Jeanette Pilak, executive director for SOQS. "Liz manages the 'quality control' process of checking the work of the sorting team to ensure that the size of the quilts will actually fit where they have been placed. Once she confirms everything is correct, those quilts get bagged by section and building number for the hanging teams to pick up on the morning of quilt show. While the sorting team ensures that every view of town is pleasing to the eye, it is Liz's detail work that ensures that quilts look perfect exactly where they are supposed to be."

Weeks also volunteers for Sisters Kiwanis Food Bank, and she is also the Central Oregon liaison for Coffee Creek Women's Quilting Program where she delivers fabrics and quilting supplies to the prison for the ladies' quilting class.

One of Weeks' greatest joys is teaching her granddaughter, Ella, to quilt. This is Ella's second year having a quilt in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

"Ella started her first quilt when she was 6, and finished when she was 9," said Weeks "That quilt was in the show last year. She worked on it only at my house and only when she wanted to work on it. Her second quilt went much faster and will be in this year's show!"

Weeks will be on hand to talk about her work on the lawn at Ponderosa Properties, (corner of Hood Avenue and Ash Street) during the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, July 14, starting at 9 a.m.