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Thousands of quilt enthusiasts again flock to Sisters


The origin of the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show proves that sometimes, the best things come along unintentionally.

“Well you know, it’s interesting. When I started the quilt show, I wasn’t trying to do a quilt show, necessarily,” show founder Jean Wells said Saturday.

More than four decades ago, a friend asked Wells to display some quilts at her small art show.

“I’d only made two. So I went and got some from my grandmother and hung 12 quilts,” Wells said.

That dozen started multiplying — fast.

“So then the next year. I had 100 quilts, and I thought it was huge. Well now, it’s just overwhelming,” she said.

The gathering, now in it’s 41st year, displays some 1,300 quilts. Organizers say they are internationally known as the largest outdoor quilt show in the world.

Every July, this colorful display of craftsmanship that might not have ever happened draws over 10,000 people to a town of just over 2,000.

“I missed the first year, but I’ve been part of the quilt show for 40 years,” June Jaeger said, “Every quilt, you make your personality comes out in it. And your soul.”

She now teaches the craft, and wants to encourage others.

“Everything is doable, I think. A lot of people say, ‘I’d like to quilt, but I don’t know how. I can’t.’ If you have the desire, you can do it,” she said.

Jaegar said many of her students now have their work on display.

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