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(A Lack of) Triangles

Hi Smites

It’s 6am in Sisters, Oregon and I’m tapping out to this post before I hop off to teach my Climbing Scrap Mountain class at Quilter’s Affair. If you’ve never been to this beautiful event, I couldn’t recommend it more! This is my eighth - or maybe ninth, we can’t remember? - teaching trip to Sisters. I don’t teach overseas anymore nearly as much as I used to. Covid lockdowns taught me that mostly I really would rather be at home! I love the classes when I arrive at my destinations, but all of the years of travelling internationally on my own, five or six times a year, took it’s toll and I’ve vowed it’s not going to happen like that again. Some people love the constant shifting, but my little Cancerian heart is much happier dug into its own nest, with the dog and the boyfriend. So the International teaching trips will be few and far between going forward.

Despite that, there’s one show I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world. For starters, the event was set up and run for many years by the incredible Jean Wells, quilting industry legend, but these days then over most by her amazing daughter, my dear friend Valori Wells. Both are authors and fabric designers and teachers, and their quilt shop The Stitchin’ Post is a bucket list destination for many quilters. Next year is going to be a very special one - the 50th anniversary of Quilters Affair and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

I’ve taught at a lot of shows over the years, most of the big name ones and a lot of others besides. Quilter’s Affair is another thing entirely, different from all the others. The event is held in Sisters, Oregon, a little town in the Oregon mountains on the way up to the Canadian border. It’s a beautiful little place where even the bank is in a log cabin style building. The whole town gets involved with the show and theres a community spirit around it that is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

Quilters Affair is held over 5 days, and comprises around about 30 tutors (this year 27), around 1200 students and a whole lot of fun. It’s held in the Sisters High School and the day classes are supported by fun night time events (this year a Bingo night hosted by Scott Hansen and Guicy Guice, an evening auction celebrating the incredible Freddy Moran, where the tutors have all made self portraits for sale in the Freddy style, and an evening lecture by Guiseppe (Guicy) detailing his month long creative residency in Sisters earlier this year. There’s always something to look forward to!

On the Saturday the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is held. Around 15,000 people flock to the town to see over 1,000 quilts hanging through the streets, on the side of every building. At 7 am, the quilts start to go up on the side of The Stitchin’ Post, hung by the local firefighters who arrive in their truck and go up and down the ladder on the side of the store. Once the shop quilts are hung, the rest of the town starts to be hung and by 8 am all 1,000 quilts are waving in the breeze. There are quilts sent from all over world. It’s not a judged show, so there are no prizes - its more a prize to have your quilt hanging in such an amazing setting. For a day, its like Quilt Disneyland. 

There’s all sorts of special exhibitions, some by invited artists and some challenge collections, an exhibition from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild and a section of quilts from all the tutors. It’s quite a thing to see and I look forward to it every year.

On top of that I get to room with my bestie every year - and its during the incessant chatter after class each day (you’d think we would be exhausted but we end up talking half the night!) that Tula and I over the years have hatched our Block of the Month plans. She is coming in a little late this year, and arrives this afternoon and I’m looking forward to seeing her!

I’m getting a post ready for you with all the news and pics from my classes this week, and a show report too. I did not get a chance before I left home to take photos of the cutting instructions for the block triangles, so rather than try to fudge the details without illustration for you I’m going to wait until I’m back. So next Wednesday will be the class/show report and the week after the blocks and quilt layout etc. I don’t get home until the 16th so the extra week is required I’m afraid! Gives you a bit more time to pay with colouring your stars and see what you like. 

This post is a bit lacking in colourful photos, but I didn’t want put up placeholders…. Last year I was the featured artist at the show, and I had the honour of over 40 of my quilts being hung in the forest here at a place called Five Pines. This year Guiseppe is the featured artist! Here are some pics from that exhibition, and next week I will have loads of shots to show you from my classes and from the Saturday show. Have a great week peeps, I know I will. See you on the other side

Sarah x