Well, put it this way: the seven-day event is like the Tour de France of quilting, the Ryder Cup of quilt teachers, and the Superbowl of quilts all in one place – just for the quilt lovers of the world to enjoy. Oh yeah, and it’s set in a stunningly beautiful setting with clean streets, good food and decent coffee. So I guess the answer is a resounding YES!
The event is so big that I have to take it in bits, and I’ll walk you through it both from a teacher’s point of view and as a humble visitor.
To start with, Sisters, Oregon, is named after these three sister mountains, named Faith, Hope and Charity. They gaze down over the pretty little town and its surrounding valley.
It’s quite a captivating place, a little bit country…
And a lot country…
The town hosts an annual Rodeo, a yearly music festival and the quilt show. The place runs like a well-oiled machine and everyone is kind and accommodating to the hoards that descend upon this small town for these events. I can’t say that I have experienced such a positive atmosphere in a whole community before; it really is quite remarkable.
The heart and soul of the quilting event is the Stitchin’ Post, which is an incredible quilt store created by Jean Wells-Keenan. She, along with her wonderful daughter Valori Wells and a fabulous staff, has been hosting the quilt show for more than 30 years.
Valori’s talents are multifold, and they are not limited to what is on display at the store. She has designed beautiful fabrics, created many sewing patterns, and has published several successful books. Look at this lovely sight of some of her work that greets you at the door of the store!
A trip to the store would by itself be incentive enough to vacation in this town. The collections of fabrics are drool-erific!
For a white fabric freak like me, this aisle was enough to make me break out in hives. I can go to two or three stores and not find one fabric with a white background, and at the Stitchin’ Post there were whole ROWS of it. I was so overwhelmed I didn’t buy a thing; I couldn’t decide where to start!
Finding my books for sale in the store was such a pleasure, and I was doubly delighted to have Maverick Quilts and Dream Chair Quilts next to Emily Cier’s books. I had bought Scrap Republic for a dear friend as a special Christmas present!
The first night that I was there, the teachers were invited to a dinner hosted by Jean Wells-Keenan and her jovial husband John. The food was amazing and the quilted eye candy was superb!
I had the pleasure of meeting many quilters that night, including Rosalie Dace, Barbara Shapel, June Jaeger, Rob Appell, Emily Cier and Scott Hansen. I’ll tell you more about these characters in future posts.
To avoid standing around like a tourist at Disneyland taking photos of everything and anything, I only snapped a couple of pictures at Jean’s house (with permission), but I’ll just say that I wish my house looked a tiny bit like her’s.
To tell the truth, I felt like a fish out of water; I’ve never been great at parties. But, Valori and Jean were very kind and welcoming to me, which really helped. I was also lucky to meet Emily Cier that night and share a bit of her lego-zany-alien-phone-mojo-fun.
I was pretty tired and cranky by bedtime that night, but the adventure was just beginning!