Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Quilts, Galore!

Post by Loretta
Photos by Loretta

This post will probably appeal more to the ladies that read the blog, more than the gentlemen due to the subject matter, however, I have learned that there is now quite a number of men that have taken an interest in the hobby of quilting.  NO - Henry has not embraced this passion except for giving nice complements to me as I am learning.

Applique Quilt for Payton

Let me regress to one of my earliest childhood memories. My mother would join several other women, probably from the church or kinfolk, for a day of quilting. In the South, quilting provided a warm bed covering for the cold winter nights, as well as a means of socializing with friends and family and catching up on the latest events in their lives.  This was their social media.

Almost Finished
Lori and I Worked on this one for Trevor

Pinwheel Quilt

These were not necessarily beautiful quilts by today's standards, because the tops were pieced together with any leftover scraps from dress fabrics (women actually tailored clothing for themselves and their children). The scraps were carefully tucked away in a shoe box and saved until there was enough to piece a quilt top.

A Quilt from my Parents
Probably from the 1940's
From Scraps

The quilt was held together by an old handmade wooden frame that was lowered from the ceiling by a hook and cord. While the bunch of "old ladies" pulled their wood backed chairs around the quilt in the frame, they prattled on and on and patiently sewed with needle and thread for hours on end, while I played under the quilt. At the end of the day, before supper, the quilt would be raised back up to the ceiling to hang until the next quilting day.

I recall several times, as a young child being sick with tonsillitis, one of our old handmade quilts being held up to the coal burning heater to warm up, and being wrapped around me to provide warmth and comfort. In those days, you didn't go to the doctor unless you were deathly sick, so that old, worn, cotton filled, pieced together quilt helped to make you feel better right away.

Quilt from Childhood

Now, years later....I have acknowledged my love of quilts and decided to learn how its done.  It's not quite the same as in my childhood.  There seems to be a resurgence in interest of quilting, but with a modern twist. People now use long arm machines, which costs thousands of dollars. They also purchase quality fabrics from specialty quilting and fabric stores that cost an average of $12-$15 per yard.  They buy complicated patterns and electronic sewing machines that can sew hundreds of styles of stitches and even thread its own needle. Most piece the quilt top and send it off to someone that uses a long arm machine to have it quilted in elaborate swirls, feathers, and florals. Quilters are now known as fiber artists and quilting has become a very expensive hobby. Quilters have special shows, getaways, and even cruises!

This leads us to Sisters, Oregon.  Back in the 1970's, a lady opened a new fabric shop, The Stitchin' Post, in Sisters, Oregon.  To draw attention to her shop, she began displaying quilts outside her shop, hanging them anywhere she could find a space.  This was a very successful strategy.

The Stitchin' Post Storefront
Where it all Began!

Today, every second Saturday in July, people flock to Sisters, Oregon to experience the largest outside quilt show in the country! I put this on my bucket list, and as luck would have it (due to Henry's skillful planning), we wound up in Sisters, Oregon for the 2018 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

So, Henry dropped me off on the corner of a street in Sisters, while he made his way to a local trail for an all day hike. I'm going to stop reminiscing now and show you a few pictures of some of the totally awesome quilts on display. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to get the name of the quilter or the pattern name, since there were over 1,300 quilts to admire. I spent the entire day wandering the streets and still did not see them all.  It is worth a visit - if you have any interest in quilts, put it on YOUR bucket list.

Enjoy viewing a few of the quilts on display at the 2018 show.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Oregon Trail

Text by Henry
Photos by Loretta

Annnnd, we're back!

After spending May and June making our way north through California, we arrived in Oregon at the beginning of July. Our first stop was a week at Diamond Lake Campground.

Diamond Lake

It's a very woodsy forest service campground with no hookups, no cell signal, and a zillion mosquitoes. One of the things we have enjoyed about traveling in the western US is the lack of bugs, but that wasn't the case at Diamond Lake. One of the highlights here is an 11 mile paved trail that completely circles the lake making for a great bike ride.

Bike Trail around Diamond Lake

THE highlight here, though, is that Crater Lake National Park is only a few miles away and we made several visits.

Crater Lake

With a depth of 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. It was created 7,700 years ago when Mt. Mazama collapsed after a violent eruption. The lake is fed entirely by rain and snow melt, making it one of the clearest in the world.

Crater Lake
What BLUE looks like

Crater Lake is BLUE! And I mean it's the most incredible blue you can imagine. We were there on an absolutely clear blue sky day and we were just mesmerized by the lake.

The Crater Lake Lodge was a great place to enjoy a refreshment while hanging out on their back patio that overlooks the lake.

Crater Lake Lodge
faces Crater Lake

We moved further north to a location where we were able to explore Newberry National Volcanic Monument. This area consists of forests, lakes, lava flows, mountain peaks, and waterfalls.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

The waterfalls were a spectacular sight, and one of only a few double waterfalls we have been fortunate enough to see.  A rather steep descent along the wildflower lined trail led us to Paulina Falls.

Paulina Falls

The Big Obsidian Flow was created about 1,300 years ago and covers over 700 acres. We accessed the top of the flow by stairs and from that vantage point, we could see the jet black lava rocks piled high across the forest floor.

The Big Obsidian Flow

Finally, we drove the steep gravel, washboard road with hairpin turns to the summit of Paulina Peak and were totally awe-struck at the totally amazing 360 degree views from the peak! The elevation was 7,984 feet and pictures don't do it justice.

View of Paulina Lake
Paulina Peak

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show was something Loretta had on her bucket list. According to their website, "the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is internationally recognized as the world's largest outdoor quilt show and quilt sale displaying more than 1,300 quilts representing fiber artists from around the world".  She has decided to do a separate blog post with photos of many of the quilts displayed there, so look for that soon.

Sisters, Oregon Outdoor Quilt Show

While Loretta was attending the quilt show Henry went on a hike in the Three Sisters Wilderness. The Sisters are three snow capped peaks that are part of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, a portion of the hike went through a blackened forest from wildfires last summer. There was plenty of unburned forest along the hike, too, and good views of the Sisters and more of the Oregon Cascade peaks to the north.

North Sister and  Middle Sister
from the Trail

After the quilt show was over, we were able to get a campsite at the Sisters Creekside Campground located right at the edge of town. We spent a few leisurely days walking and biking around this cool little mountain town.

Moving along, we spent a week near Mt. Hood, which at 11,250 feet is Oregon's highest peak. It's quite an impressive snow capped mountain visible for many miles in all directions.

Mt. Hood from a Distance

Mt. Hood receives so much snow that skiing can be done year round. This is simply amazing to us folks from the South! Here in the middle of July, we saw dozens of people skiing on the slopes near the Timberline Lodge, which by the way is another historic old lodge.

Timberline Lodge

Cozy Seating Area in Timberline Lodge

Our next location was just outside the big city of Portland in a nice county park. One of the things I'm pretty good at is finding my way around - even in places I've never been to before. Sometimes I just amaze Loretta getting around in our travels. Portland was NOT one of these places. We had to rely on Google Maps to get around. Everywhere we went it seemed we were driving through neighborhoods with so many twists and turns and it took forever to get anywhere. I wasn't sure if it's the way the city is laid out or Google was as confused as I was. We did manage to get around.

We spent a day walking around part of downtown Portland with the 2 most memorable stops being Powell's Books and the Deschuttes Brewery.

Portland Building
(taken through windshield)

We went to one of the better farmers' markets in our journeys in the town of Milwaukie.

We spent a day at Silver Falls State Park, which is Oregon's largest state park. We hiked the Trail of Ten Falls, which (you guessed it) goes by ten waterfalls.

Waterfall on Trail

Upper North Falls

Large Tree across Waterfall Trail

So, after spending most of our summer in the Sierra Nevadas and Cascades, where it happened to be on the warm side, next we headed to the cooler Washington Coast!