The Teachers' Tent

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is a huge event that draws several thousand visitors every single year. There were about 1,400 quilts on display this year - a bumper crop!

Along with quilts hung wherever there is space, there are several special exhibits where quilts are grouped and displayed together. These exhibits are listed in a program so a person can read about them and plan a route through town on show day.

My first stop is always the teachers' tent.  The week of classes prior to the outdoor quilt show brings in teachers from around the world, and this is a wonderful opportunity to see their work.

Teachers' Tent

When I look at quilts, my brain wonders, "What did they do?" and, "How did they do it?"
Getting up close and personal helps answer those questions!

Sometimes I look to see how things are quilted . . . what motifs are used in each space? Do I like it? Could I somehow tweak an idea for use in my own work?

For example, in this quilt by Julie Herman (quilted by Angela Walters), the triangles are all filled with the same motif, and the colourful hexagons are also consistent with each other; BUT the white hexi centers are done row-by-row, and each row features a different fill. Adds interest, don't you think? (Mental note made!)

Snack Time, by Julie Herman; quilted by Angela Walters

Sometimes I revisit pieces I've seen briefly in a class. It's a pleasure to view them without feeling rushed. Plus, sometimes questions have occurred to me after class, and it's great to be able to look for the answers!

Quilts from Katie Pasquini Masopust's Graffiti series
Even when I know I'd never probably not make a particular style of quilt, there is always something to be learned by paying attention to the details! Skills from one style will often transfer nicely to another, giving your work a unique twist.

Plus, just 'cause I'd (probably) never make one doesn't mean I can't appreciate its beauty, uniqueness, or workmanship - or all of the above! Look at the cuteness of this detail in a quilt by Tonye Phillips and Sue Spargo!

(In my brain, I made note of the successful use of repetition with variation in this piece, and also noted how the quilter maneuvered around the hand-stitched elements on the left. That idea might come in handy some day!)

Some of the quilts in the teachers' tent are jaw dropping. Barbara Shapel never fails on that front!

Her quilts are double-sided. The front is created in the usual way, but then she adds lots of thread work - which may not even be noticeable on the front - to create a whole other story on the back!

In my opinion, Mother Wolf is her cleverest use of that duality! On the FRONT of the quilt (the "daytime" side) you see only the mother wolf. The cubs are hidden away, safe and sound, just as they would be in real life.

(See the clothespins clipped to the bottom corners of the quilt, above? They are the "handles" with which you may lift the quilt for a look at the back.)

HOWEVER, the BACK of the quilt (night time) shows the pups right beside her!
(The quilt is flipped up for the photo - this is what I saw at the show.)

I've rotated the same photo so we can see things right side up. See the mother's ear on the right hand edge?

If you look closely at the front of the quilt you are able to find partial shapes of the baby wolves. BUT, they are well camouflaged with leaves - and so skillfully stitched - you don't even know they are there UNLESS you are looking for them!

Quilt FRONT (the mamma) - do YOU see a cub? (I sure don't!)

Quilt BACK (the mamma AND cubs!) - photo has been rotated so the critters are right side up.

Pure genius.

Here is Motherlove, also by Barbara Shapel.

Detail - quilt FRONT:

Same detail - quilt BACK. (Quilt corner is flipped up for the photo.)

Quite Magical!

Speaking of magical . . . thanks to the morning sun, the quilts hung around the perimeter of the tent absolutely glowed!

Seven Feet (of rain), by Renee Newstrum, caught my eye for exactly that reason . . .
(and, spots on its back added to the rainy feel!)

Quilting detail, Seven Feet (of rain)

 Sarah Felke's A Wing and a Prayer was another eye-catcher.

What's that?   More pictures, less talk?

Well, okay.

Get ready for even more SERIOUS name dropping...!!!

Violet Craft's Forest Abstractions.

Alex Anderson's Flower Pops.

Jacquie Gering's Unparalleled.

Rosalie Dace's Grounded 2.

Sarah Felke's Definition of Stitch.

Elizabeth Hartman's Downtown.

Karla Alexander's Background Check.

Detail, Background Check.

Scott Hansen's American Made. (It is worth noting that the quilting represents a map.)

Jean Wells Keenan's Steppin' Out.

Tonye Phillips' Eccentric Circles

Rob Appel's Three Dudes Variation.

The rest of the show will have to wait until another day, 'cause I've gotta run!  

Running Man, by Jacquie Gering
(Okay, so that was a lame joke - ha! - but it was an excellent excuse to show one more quilt, was it not?)

Linking up with:
Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the River

Try, Learn, & Grow!


  1. Thanks for this post, it is wonderful to see those quilts, it must have been quite an experience to see them "for real".

  2. My goodness, and these are only just a small handful of the 1400 quilts on display; amazing! Is it pure overload at Sisters or do you feel like there is time to really take in detail?

  3. Thank you so much for sharing!! I hope to make it out there some day. I am absolutely in love with the wolf quilt!!!! :)

  4. Hah! Gotta Run was my kind of joke :) What a great collection of quilts, all in one town. Amazing. Definitely putting this trip on my Bucket List! Glad you had a great time.

  5. Amazing quilts, love the raindrop one, very effective, but love, love love the dual front and back ones, incredibly clever.

  6. Wow! What an amazing experience! Loved seeing all these quilts. Does your recent judge training make you look at quilts differently?

  7. I really enjoyed looking through your photos. Lucky you to be there in person and to view them all up close. Some amazing work and inspiration.


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