Shows, retreats and horses…


Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show – Sisters, Oregon.  Have you ever been there?

I haven’t been there… yet.  Someday, right?

This is the 41st year for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and while it might seem to be as “big” as some shows-events-retreats, it really is.  Tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world – all 50 states and 27 countries – go what is internationally recognized as the world’s largest outdoor show.  It’s also very high on the “I’m going to get there some day” bucket-list for many quilters.


As the story goes… “The show began when the founder, Jean Wells Keenan – the internationally renowned quilter and author – hung a dozen quilts made by her students outside her Stitchin’ Post quilt shop on a Saturday in July. A few more ladies brought their quilts to show, then a few more and a few more.  The show became an annual event, hosted by the East of the Cascades Quilt Guild.  As the show gained in size and popularity it outgrew the resources of the guild.  In 2003, an Executive Director was hired to manage the show and new events were added…”

There are always “unique to Sisters” things created to help support the show – like the sale of their annual show posters created by local artists – shown above.  This year, the poster was painted by Kathy Deggendorfer based on the theme “Infinite Stitches”.

Two years ago, a calendar full of gorgeous quilts was added.  In addition to the sale of the calendar, the quilts are always auctioned off.  Moda is a sponsor for the 2017 calendar – and rumor has it that one of the quilts in the catalog is Moda-designed, Moda-made, Moda-certified and Moda-supplied.

This is the 2017 calendar.

CT MBQ Cover Expanded

Please forgive the blur… the only image of the 2017 calendar was itty-bitty and I had to make a wee bit bigger.  So you could see the quilt, of course.

Yes, the calendar features gorgeous quilts.  It also features handsome, community-minded men of Sisters Country who want to help support the quilt show.  If you purchase a calendar at the show, you might even be able to get it autographed.

Have you ever been to a big show like this?  Or a big quilting-sewing retreat-event?

There is a big event-retreat this weekend outside of Dallas – Stitchfest Texas – or StitchfestTX.

The teachers are Lee Monroe – better known as May Chappell – and Corey Yoder – aka Coriander Quilts-Moda Designer of the Sundrops and Prairie collections.

Stitchfest Teachers

There are all sorts of big sewing event-retreats around the country.  Some have nationally and internationally- known teachers and speakers, some are more about the sewing, visiting, connecting and learning-from-each-other.  (I’ve been to both and highly recommend the benefits of each.)

A few of the retreats-events that come to mind are:

If you’ve been to a big show or retreat, would you go again?  And do you have any advice for first-timers?

Other than watching out for the horses, of course.


You wondered where the horse in the title was going to enter into this, didn’t you?

Happy Friday!




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20 thoughts on “Shows, retreats and horses…

  1. Thanks for sharing the calendar!!! How clever ! I hope it will be available for purchase , I need a picture of a horse in my sewing room

    1. It is available for purchase but I’m not sure the 2017 calendar has any horses – that picture-page was from last year. 🙂

  2. I lived in central Oregon for almost 10 years. This show is huge – Main Street is closed and traffic is routed around the small town of around 2000 people. For such a small town, the number of great restaurants and shops is amazing. The scenery is as breath-taking as the quilts. There are local garden tours that are not to be missed. Hotels in every town are booked up! Buses run daily between Sisters and Portland. It’s truly a fabulous event!

  3. I live near Portland so I have been fortunate enough to attend the Sisters Quilt Show, off and on, for several years. It is fabulous; not to be missed! My hints for the show: wear comfortable shoes, wear a hat, drink lots of water and pace yourself. This show IS huge. Also, bring spending money because you will find “must have” fabrics and notions at The Stitchin’ Post (Jean Wells Keenan’s shop) as well as gifts in the other wonderful shops in town.

  4. I’ve been going to the Sisters Show for 25+years. I’m just getting ready to go again in 2 weeks. This will be a bitter-sweet year. The person who introduced me to this just passed this year and I’m making this a tribute to her. She was an avid quilter and had gone since the beginning. It’s so fun to partake in the classes the week before the show. The high school become filled with quilters and every store you go into has quilts hanging. I’ll continue to go for as long as possible. LOVE IT!!!

  5. I have also been going to Sisters for years, even when I lived in CA, now I’m in OR so easier travel for me. Love it, all the classes, quilts, shopping (don’t forget the Sisters Drug Store, all things cooking and everything else–amazing store) and the Hens Tooth….oh, looking forward to going this year as I’ve missed several years lately. :o)

  6. Heading to Sisters next weekend, from New York State, for the fourth year! Taking classes, shop hopping, a little wine and dinners out, gorgeous scenery and a quilt show. Plus, some of the best coffee houses in the world! What else does a girl need?

  7. I was very fortunate to attend the Sisters Quilt Show a few years ago. If you want to stay in or near Sisters, my advice is to make your reservations at least a year in advance. Also, get up early, early that morning and you can watch the hanging of the quilts. The locals from all around come in the wee hours of the morning to begin hanging the quilts. They are aided by the fire department using their tall ladders. That is fun, too! I enjoyed the entire event…sun hat, water, comfy shoes and spending money are necessary! Enjoy!

  8. I have gone to the Sisters Quilt show the second Saturday in July for over 20 years. I have heard that most years there are approximate 10,000 people in attendance. In the last 40 years it has only rained once. All the quilts were down and safe in an amazingly short time. It takes more people to run the show than the entire population of Sisters. I always try to arrive early in the morning when it is still cool. By the time I have walked half the town I am usually on sensory overload but I go back every year for the inspiration. The main street is closed to traffic for the day and full of people. By mid day it can be very warm and sometimes hot. Wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat. If you run out of water they will be a kid pulling a wagon come by it a little bit to sell ice cold water. There are also plenty of shops and vendors so bring money. This year my daughter has a quilt in the show so we will be looking for her quilt.

  9. Cararie – I LOVE your posts. Always a good dose of humor and excitement. Never been to Sisters. We have an outdoor show in Toronto, Canada (Quilts at the Creek) that is growing in popularity as well. Love the quiet sewing retreats – the ones with no teachers. I do not need another project as I’m pretty good as starting a new. Ooops – just started a new one.
    I’d buy the calendar – for the horse, of course!

  10. I was lucky enough to travel by amtrak train in 2009 with a great group of women /guy and see the outdoor show! It was a fantastic trip and I would go back in a heartbeat
    !! I would love a picture of a horse in my sewing room too:)

  11. I have been to the Sisters Quilt show off and on for many years. Even after walking for hours looking at all the beautiful quilts, I don’t think that I have ever seen them all! A little town gets very big when there are so many quilts and people in it! Be patient, order early from the restaurants, bring lots of water and friends. Can’t wait to go again in a few weeks!

  12. So how does one acquire a calendar without going to the quilt show? My yearly calendars get a prominent spot in my kitchen so more than just myself can see it :o)

    1. Hi Kathleen! I’m not sure but I think calling The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon would be the best place to start. Let me know if that works – we might need one too. 🙂

  13. I have the same question as Kathleen ~ I would love to support ‘Sisters’ and buy their calendar for my yearly quilt calendar purchase. Yeah, a girl originally from KY and now living in TX needs a calendar with a horse!! Love it!

  14. I was showing friends from work the website and calendar; they just couldn’t see the horse in the picture! LOL I ordered mine!!

  15. LOL. Thanks for enlarging the photo so I could see the quilt, of course, better. Unfortunately, there were no workshops for me last weekend as I had to have a new roof put on due to the hail storm we had in Plano, TX recently. Everyone, have a great time at the show! I will look for a calendar!

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