I read about the topic of quilts today and learned some interesting things. For instance, I found that the technique of quilting goes all the way back to the times of the Crusades. Apparently quilted vests were worn under suits of armor. As time went on quilts were made as bed covers, maybe for extra warmth, maybe as fancy spreads.

The first quilt that came to America was brought ashore from the ship Angel Gabriel at Pemaquid Bay in 1635 by a family named Cogswell. The next day the ship was totally destroyed by the worst hurricane in American history. The type of quilt created in those days was called a wholecloth quilt. Such quilts were not made of one large whole sheet of fabric, but rather of strips of cloth cut from the original long piece, then stitched together to form the desired shape and size. This is because looms of that time could not weave a whole piece of cloth large enough to cover a bed. Since the pieces were cut from the same strip of fabric they appeared to be one whole cloth.

In Colonial America only the wealthy could afford to buy quilts since they were imported from Europe. The few quilts made in America at that time were apparently pieced by well-to-do women using fabrics purchased just for that purpose. These quilts were used only on the “best bed” or when hosting overnight guests. Eventually various methods were used by less well-to-do women to construct quilts, including using scraps left from cutting out new garments, or using parts of worn out clothing that were still usable.

Nowadays quilting has become an art form using embroidery, applique, printing, and ornate handsewn or machine-sewn stitches. It is specialized; some people do only the piecing of the top layer, some do only the quilting stitches of the three layers.

If you are interested in viewing a great variety of modern quilts hung to show their unique details, then let me recommend the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, always held on the second Saturday in July. This Central Oregon quilt show has been happening for 40 years, when quilt entries are hung from the porches and walls of buildings all along the major streets in the business section of Sisters. It is truly a colorful and beautiful sight.

At Long Hollow Ranch, we still have a couple of rooms available for quilt-peepers. Since this event happens during the high season for our ranch vacations, a minimum of three nights is required. Ideally, you could combine a Central Oregon quilt show visit with your vacation by staying at the Ranch for three or more nights for trail riding, hiking, cookouts, great ranch food and plenty of fresh air. Believe me, a ranch vacation in Sisters Country combined with a day at the Outdoor Quilt Show, is a recipe for great memories. Visit the Sisters Outdoor Quit Show 2016 for more information and book your stay now before all the rooms are gone!