By Kailey Fisicaro

The Bulletin

SISTERS — Two big cartoonish eyes peering from fabric drew in a group of ladies from across the street.

“Oh my gosh!” one of the women said as they all walked over.

The large white eyes and small black pupils of the quilted brown bear made him look as if he were thinking, “Who me?”

A look at the quilt’s tag showed that its maker, Trina Jahnsen, had named the piece just that.

At the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, quilts ranged from portraying cuddly animals, to Frida Kahlo or Bob Dylan, from using traditional patterns to modern ones, from using a few subtle colors to many loud ones.

More than 1,200 quilts were featured Saturday, hung outdoors along Cascade and Hood avenues, on buildings, special wooden frames and storefronts.

As Marci Oakes, 34, of Redmond, walked with her daughter Mya, 10, the two admired some of the more creative designs.

Oakes stopped to snap a picture with her smartphone of a quilt that illustrated magnifying glasses, in rows, zooming in on different kinds of scientific finds. In the circle of one magnifying glass, for example, was fabric printed with bugs.

A few feet later, they paused again to take in a quilt that depicted children creating snow angels.

“How do they get all these ideas?” Mya said.

“I don’t know,” her mom said, echoing her awe.

Oakes said her family moved to Redmond from Boise, Idaho, about a month ago for her husband’s new job. Before they even transplanted to Central Oregon, Oakes found there would be a quilt show over the summer and knew she wanted to take her daughter.

Oakes has done a few beginner quilts, she said, but her mother-in-law does more elaborate ones. Oakes was taking the pictures for her.

Many quilt showgoers are avid quilters, but there are also plenty who have only dabbled in the craft, or never tried it at all. Some are just appreciators.

A row of quilts from an earlier era hung together on Hood Avenue. Each of the quilts was decades old. One, made in 1937, was shown by Betty Anne Guadalupe, of Prineville. The hand-stitched quilt had been found in California, but the maker was unknown, according to its tag.

Edith Shields, visiting from Corvallis, provided some insight on how the owner might have arrived at the year. As with antiques, experts can look at a quilt and estimate its age based on a few factors, including the fabric, stitching and design.

Shields, who came to the quilt show with her husband, Mike, said she makes small quilts she can hang in her home. She’s traveled to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show about four times.

Nearby, looking closely at a 1930 triangle pattern quilt, a woman remarked how much she liked it.

“You love triangles, you always do triangles,” her friend said to her. “You’re a triangle girl.”

Carol Theine, of Snoqualmie, Washington, and her friend, Jackie Hertel, of Yakima, Washington, admired another hand-stitched quilt.

Theine makes quilts by hand, which is unusual today. Hertel doesn’t quilt, she said, because she doesn’t feel she has the patience.

For Theine, the activity is a relaxing one, and because she does the pieces by hand, she can work on them anywhere: in the car, camping or otherwise outdoors.

She guesses she’s made about 20 to 30 quilts over the years, including a handful that were queen size.

Theine laughed telling about a denim one she made, which she calls her “fat pants quilt.”

“Well I lost 120 pounds,” she said, explaining the quilt was made of pants that were too big for her.

Farther down Hood Avenue a large wooden frame held up two quilts back-to-back — one 92 inches by 92 inches, the other 86 inches by 84 inches.

Both were handmade Hawaiian quilts, a kind of design that often uses radial symmetric applique. The larger of the two, made in 1969, was on sale for $800. About a third of the quilts at the show Saturday were for sale. Several people who approached the detailed Hawaiian quilt thought the price was too low.

“Why would you hand stitch it and only sell it for $800?” one woman said.

“Oh honey, you need to up that price,” she added, although it didn’t seem as if the quilter was anywhere nearby.

Another grouping of quilts featured the likenesses of a broad range of household names, from Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors, to Annie Oakley.

With cameras strapped around their necks, showgoers stopped to take portraits of their significant others standing with the quilted people.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325,

kfisicaro@bendbulletin.com

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