The quilt show in Sisters, Oregon is one of those events I have long planned on attending, yet never managed to make happen. This year would have likely been another missed opportunity if it hadn’t fallen on my mom’s birthday. I’d promised we would go, but the month’s spending money was already gone. My dad was kind enough to fork over the cost of gas and we were able to carpool with another first-timer in her car. (I’m continually grateful for the generosity of others.)
We had a spontaneous sleepover at my folks’ house, then the three of us headed out at a quarter to seven. Nearly three hours later, we rolled into Sisters and saw this:
The 1300 quilts that had been submitted to the show hung everywhere. Inside. Outside. Off second story railings and from the catwalks below.
I realized how much I love white and bright quilts, yet I never make them. I think it’s time to remedy that. Maybe with a version of this string quilt with scraps?
I was asked late last week if I could chaperone my son’s high school when they went down to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (which is, btw, sort of a misnomer… there’s more than Shakespeare). I agreed and figured I could take the time to do some hand-sewing and explore Ashland for any fabric stores. I wasn’t even sure they’d have one, though in hindsight… of course, they do.
In fact, they had two shops downtown. Fabric of Vision (145 E. Main Street) is right on the, uh, main street of town and I stumbled onto it on my first full day there. Outside the shop, there’s a little sale rack that I sifted through until I was distracted by the phone call I’d been waiting for. So, the next day, I headed back and made it all the way inside. It’s a miracle I came out with any money left. They’ve managed to squeeze in more bolts of cloth than I would have expected in there, with a great range of books and ribbons and tools, to boot. Wonderful shop, really, and so much more than I expected. I managed to come out with just this adorable alphabet fat quarter, the latest issue of Stitch and a copy of Material Obsession, which I am totally obsessed by.
It wasn’t until the next day, when I finally pulled my nose out of Stitch that I found Quiltz (53 N. Second), just down the street and slightly behind Fabric of Vision. As you can imagine, the entire shop is focused on quilt-making with loads of designs and prints, and plenty of finished quilts to inspire new projects. I was so good in there, just looking and not buying. Until I hit that last rounder on my way out the door. But I saw this and just couldn’t stop myself.
Really, could you have resisted?! The whole line is absolutely adorable– with raindrop fabric, even. I managed to avoid the temptation of the other coordinating prints, but this one was too fantastic to leave behind. Just a bit of it had to be mine; it makes me smile every time I look at it.
As soon as the sunshine slipped through the trees, I got up, rolling my sleeping bag and getting the kids to walk up and do the same. I had hoped that the chill of the morning would keep the mosquitoes at bay for a while, but, again, as soon as I opened the trunk with all our bags of clothes, they were all over me. So, while the kids did their things, I got the food back into the car, then their sleeping bags as they ran for the safety of the car. Stuart and I broke down the tents, not bothering to clean them off or even get them into their cases. We just shoved them into the trunk; I’d take care of them when we hit Sacramento.
Still dressed in their pajamas, we left Crater Lake National Park and drove south toward Klamath Falls. Along the way we passed long and shallow Klamath Lake. According to our Only in Oregon book, it’s more than 20 miles long and 8 miles wide. Somewhere past the lake and past the city proper, we pulled off onto a side road for breakfast. There, in the gravel, we pulled out our kitchen box and the ice chest. The kids ate cereal and I prepared another round of hot cocoa on the propane burner. It was all fine, despite Audrey’s worrying that we’d get in trouble. In fact, the electric company guys waved as they drove by. As we ate, falcons flew above us to their nest.
Despite turning the heat on the yurt (what a lovely invention) it was still a bit chilly in the high desert when we woke up sometime after 7 a.m. I made some hot cocoa for the kiddos (cooked on the propane burner instead this time!) and found an intriguing entry in our copy of Only in Oregon, a rock garden out near Bend. Of course, the book didn’t have an address for the place and my map didn’t list it and I couldn’t just Google it. But my sister could. So I called her up, she searched it, read me the driving instructions and I wrote them in blue Sharpie on the only paper I could find, our now-empty food bag.
With Stuart as my navigation guide, we managed to drive straight to Petersen’s Rock Gardens. Thankfully, Google got this one right because there wasn’t a single sign until we got to their street, then it was only a small plywood sign propped against the fence.
Petersen’s Rock Garden turned out to be a highlight of our time in eastern Oregon; we spent more than an hour looking around at all the creations that Mr. Petersen constructed nearly 50 years ago. There were bridges and buildings and water ponds and fountains and lots of miniatures houses, mansions, and churches. The kids thought it was great and were willing, even though I resisted, to run through the sprinkler to get to the small island in the middle of a lily-covered pond. The array of rocks was astonishing, with obsidian, cinder rock, and petrified woods, among many, many others that have names I don’t know. The strangest thing about the place? The forty peacocks they have that wander the property, yelling what sounds like “Help!”
We’d been planning a road trip since last summer and I got the crazy idea that we’d merge it with a visit from my sister’s family. So when my sister flew home, she took only her son, leaving her daughter for us to bring home via our meagerly planned road trip. So today, we loaded up the rental car and started driving south, then east.
We drove south to Salem and then onto Hwy. 22 over the Cascades to eastern Oregon, stopping to check out the information kiosk about the B&B Complex Fire. Seeing the vast number of burned trees in the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests awed all of us. Come to find out, ninety-thousand acres burned that year (2003) and seven years later, their grey trunks still stand, an eery forest of ghost trees. Hill after hill was covered by the sticks, reminding me of Mt. St. Helen’s eruption two decades ago.