W00t! I did something totally fun and blog-worthy. At the last minute, I took the Fabric Depot bus to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. It was a serendipitous combo of having the day off work and making a new friend who had an extra ticket.
Sisters is about three hours from Portland, so it was quite nice to turn over the driving (and parking) to the coach. Once at the show, I buddied up with an Instagram friend and we ended up spending the whole day together wandering from eye catching quilt to eye catching quilt. We found out that we had very similar tastes (probably why we follow each other on IG). It was a pleasure, as always when seeing exhibits of any sort with a friend, to talk about what we were seeing and why we liked (or didn’t like it). Overall SOQS is pretty traditional. This year though, Quilt Con had a special exhibit of some of it’s most favored quilts so there was definitely a big Modern influence. The Portland Modern Quilt Guild had a small exhibit too, in which my “Partisan” was hung. Interestingly, I was not that wowed by the art quilts. I think it was because most were literal and for some reason that doesn’t do much for me. SAQA’s Central Oregon pod had an exhibit of their Doors exhibit which was easily the best of the art quilts on display.
Here’s some of my favorites of the day:
Inside The Stitching Post, Valori Wells’ new fabric line Marks was front and center. I have a big ol’ crush on this fabric and I love this display which is chic and naive at the same time. My only purchase besides lunch was a fat quarter set of the blue color way.
The show organizers do a fantastic job of organizing the quilts so that they flow well together, and very often they are enhanced by the colors of the buildings on which they hang or the plantings in front of them. “Daybreak” by Marsha Savage looked particularly nice with the golden sedge grass in front of it.
A detail of “Freddy Dot Com” by Susan Brennan. This quilt looked so good with the poppies and other flowers in front of it.
A big reason for going to the show (besides it being relatively close to me, and the world’s largest outdoor quilt show) was that my quilt, “Partisan,” was part of a special exhibit of The Quilt Block Abstracted by the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. Hanging next to me is “Fallen Petal” by Karen Lee.
I’m a sucker for flying geese, so of course I like Heather Davidson’s “Two by Two Dancing Geese” which was also in the PMQG exhibit.
I also liked this variation on a Lone Star, “Carkai Quilt” by Meredith Hobbs.
Speaking of flying geese, I’ve been drooling over this one by Sarah Bond online for what seems like ever. It absolutely holds up in person. It’s beautifully executed and even looks great hung sideways (which I didn’t even notice until a fellow traveller pointed it out to me. This quilt was one of many which represented the best of Quilt Con 2016.
Two color quilts can be so dramatic, and so classic. The gradation in this one makes it particularly attractive too. “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades” by Rebecca Burnett. I’m pretty sure it was part of the Quilt Con exhibit too.
I failed to get the name or maker of this one but I was struck by the way it echoed the building on which it hung.
We rarely get a chance to see the backs of quilts at shows, but outside, and on a breezy (becoming windy) day we caught many glimpses. The richly glowing “Embers” by Stephanie Royle uses all solids on the front but has a fun patterned fabric on the back.
And, in the teacher’s tent, this richly colored quilt by Pam Raby glowed due to the sun behind it. I had the chance to see this one at work and it has such delicious color without the sun, but this outdoor addition added an extra dimension.
Another teacher quilt was this cheeky “Curious Duck” by Ann Shaw. I see the influence of Ruth B McDowell, who’s work I love, especially in the bold choice of background fabric.
“Eichler Homes” by Mickey Beebe. I think this was part of a special exhibit of quilts using Moda fabrics. The whole quilt is made from the Grunge line, which is one of my favorite blenders. I think this design might have been too stark with simple solids, but the subtle colors in Grunge add just enough variation. I also loved all the little trees between the houses.
Another Moda quilt was this one titled “Just a Speck/Lolies.” I love that this is a Pineapple Log Cabin but the charcoal line and the fantastic circular quilting move the focus away from the center of the pineapple and out to the corners creating an unexpected secondary focus that becomes the primary.
This one was so simple, but so intriguing. At first I thought the floral was more concentrated in the center diagonal of the quilt, and scattered toward the edges, but it was just a trick of the effect of the turquoise blocks. The way the squares advance and recede is really fun. Plus, the quilting was simple, but perfect.
I’ve seen versions of this X and + quilt in more Modern or novelty prints where it’s bubbly and fun. I enjoyed seeing it in mostly batiks for a slightly more grown-up look.
This one, “Patches in Light” by Susan Cobb caught my eye because of it’s clever use of a Marcia Derse fabric. Usually Derse’s hand painted-looking fabrics are used more like one would use batiks. But pairing them here with a solid looking background and the navy accents (not to mention the little citron surprises) gives a much lighter, modulated look.
There were lots of quilts by Grande Dame Freddy Moran. Most were raw edge appliqué, loosely free-motion quilted, and had barely finished edges. But they were exuberant and so obviously about the color and composition and the fabric itself (oh, the fabric! Where does she find these wild things? I want to shop with Freddy!). I could’t help but get the feeling that her quilts were saying, “Hey, I’ve been quilting forever and I’ve earned the right to do whatever the hell I want!” And I love that.
Another quilt that bucked tradition was this one coordinated by Wynde Dyer. It is made of tarp and was created by at risk youth at Caldera Art Center under Dyer’s tutelage. It was rejected by the quilt show for technical reasons (weight, materials?) but a local bookshop was kind enough to give it space.
And finally, The One That Shouldn’t Work, “Not So Lone Star” by Patrick Wilson.I just love this more is more Lone Star. I found Australian aboriginal print fabric, Erin Michaels paint by number designs, stripes, Kaffe Fasset, novelty sunflowers and more. Only the very brave would pull that variety out of their stash or a quilt shop’s shelves and know they’d work together.
I talked to others about whether the corner stars were necessary, or if the floral background really worked. I noted that without one or both of those elements, it would just be a classic Lone Star. There’s something about the way everything is competing and yet blending that, in my eyes, make this so striking.