photo by Jerry Baldock
photo by Jerry Baldock
Colorful quilts lined the streets creating a riot of color that spilled across downtown Sisters, soaking guests in a flood of design schemes on Saturday for the 44th annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Beginning at the break of dawn on Saturday, hundreds of volunteers hung over 1,200 quilts.

From contemporary to traditional king-sized quilts, the town of Sisters was an exploration of patterned artistry pieced together, transforming Sisters into the largest outdoor quilt show in the world.

Sponsored by Kaufman Fabrics, the event brought together visitors of all ages from around the globe to browse a galaxy of quilt displays.

“Bountiful Living” was the theme for this year’s quilt show and of the 2019 poster created by artist Kathy Deggendorfer.

Deggendorfer, a local artist, creates designs rich with color and pattern that feature the Central Oregon lifestyle.

Participants from all over the world took the Cherrywood Challenge again this year and designed quilts with a limited color palette of purple. Quilters were encouraged to push themselves creatively to design an original quilt, taking inspiration from the iconic musician Prince.

SOQS Board Chair Jeff Omodt said, “This is the 4th year we’ve had the Cherrywood Challenge exhibit at the community hall at the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire House. I love what the Cherrywood Challenge adds to our SOQS show. It’s a different take on what quilting is. The results are an awesome range of art that is enjoyed by non-quilters young and old as well as our serious quilters.”

This exquisite quilt exhibit found its way to the Quilt Show when Omodt saw a short online video about the Cherrywood quilts.

This year Omodt impersonated Prince for a unique photo opportunity for visitors.

He added, laughing, “Trying to make a Cherrywood fabric guitar was harder than I thought.”

The next challenge is in the works, based on the painter Bob Ross.

Kiwanis members Mike Vermillion and Allen Hull helped Omodt set up the venue.

Vehicles waited in traffic at Pine Street while 56 women from Emerald Valley Quilters emerged from a huge bus while travel chairman Linda O’Bryant from Eugene counted heads.

“This year we hired a bus!” O’Bryant told The Nugget.

There was a new fundraising event this year, Celebrity Sew-Down, that was held at Sisters High School on Wednesday. The celebrities are recognized quilters Tula Pink and Rob Appell.

Appell noted, “It was a friendly competition that Tula and I headed up with two teams of six quilt-makers from the teaching faculty. We had two piles of fabric, a couple of sewing machines and two hours to make a quilt.”

They auctioned two opportunities for a golf cart tour around the Quilt Show, where winners rode along with one of the Quilter’s Affair instructors.

The 2019 Inspirational Instructor was Scott Hansen, who has been teaching for Quilter’s Affair for the past seven years.

Hansen, who is known as the Mad Color Scientist, hails from Sultan, Washington, where he runs Blue Nickel Studios from his home. He has been quilting for over 20 years and now has his own designs with Banyan Batiks.

Just in case visitors needed to find a special exhibit or where one of their quilts were located there were three information booths to choose from. The information booth on Hood Avenue was run by volunteer coordinator Pat Lamourex and Nancy Keatley, who is Dawn Boyd’s sister. Boyd is the new executive director for SOQS.

Boyd had her debut at this year’s Quilt Show and invited her family to volunteer.

“My entire family is here helping,” Boyd said. “Including my daughter Jillian Marks. We are problem-solving, trouble-shooting, and helping people with what they need. It’s amazing to watch the entire town change in a 24-hour period. It feels like you’ve stepped into a whole new world for a day. It’s Disneyland for quilters.”

She added, “You wait for the magic to happen and then you get to watch everyone enjoying themselves. That’s why we do what we do.”

The Quilt Show is a family affair including the furry kind, and as the day heated up so did the dogs. The Furry Friends Foundation supplied lots of water and treats for pets and hosted a doggie pool full of the cool stuff to splash around in at Fir Street Park. Furry Friends foundation, which provides pet food for families in need in Sisters, was also selling raffle tickets for a pet-themed quilt made and donated by Valerie Fercho-Tillery.

In 2017 Open Door Wine Bar owner Dan Rickards designed the SOQS poster, which featured an oversized open storybook of colorful quilts resting on a table with Sisters stunning scenery in the background.

Storyteller Book has since morphed into a special exhibit at SOQS. Storyteller Book is a larger-than-life storybook filled with quilted pages, each telling a unique story. The quilts are created with imagination and skill by 11 Central Oregon artists who donate their work. The quilts are for sale, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support the SOQS. This year’s quilters included June Jaeger, Anna Bates, Jean Wells Keenan, Janet Storton and more.

Rickards said, “I’m so excited about this exhibit and almost all the storybook quilts are already sold. It has really gained momentum.”

Sisters resident and SOQS Board Member Carol Dixon chronicled the stories behind each exquisite quilt in the oversized book.

“This is my second year doing this, and I really enjoy it because I love all the quilts,” Dixon said. “Plus, it’s just fun to talk about them.”

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show was open to anyone, and up to 12,000 quilt enthusiasts from as far away as New Zealand rolled into downtown Sisters by tour bus, RV, bicycle, motor vehicle and even on foot to take it all in and browse through the bounty of impressive quilts, wander through exhibits, buy a raffle ticket or two, and even try their hand in a quilting class.