Quilt Helps Spread Awareness of the Value of Wild & Scenic Rivers & Native Fish

Winner of Facebook Naming Contest for Whychus Creek Quilt Announced

Sisters, Oregon (June 4, 2012) The fiber art formerly known as the Quilt for Two Rivers has a new name.  The completed work, a masterpiece of contemporary American fiber art, has been rechristened Two Rivers Three Sisters following a Facebook naming contest.

The resplendent Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt (formerly the Quilt for Two Rivers)

The winning title, submitted by Teresa Mitchell of Star, Idaho, bested 67 entries from 19 states.  She won a prize package including a discounted stay at FivePine Lodge and $100 cash.

The Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt–now on display in the lobby of the Black Butte Ranch Lodge in Sisters,Oregon–was seven months in the making.  It features the artistic styles of 19 quilters who submitted panels to create a 40-foot, unified piece, plus four additional panels featuring the falls of Whychus.

“What’s truly magical about the quilt is the way it is going to live on in the new stewards we’ve created who care about two very special places here, Whychus Creek and the Metolius River,” says Maret Pajutee, representing project partner U.S. Forest Service.  Adds Lisa Leonard of another partnering organization, the National Forest Foundation, “Through this effort we are bringing a new form of visibility to this treasured landscape, and also highlighting different ways that people can connect with their National Forests.”

“Two Rivers Three Sisters represents the truest traditions of this art form,” notes Ann Richardson of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, the third project partner.  “The effort has been a modern quilting bee, with many women coming together to create it.  And it tells a story, the story of how important our rivers and fish have been from Native American times to the present.  The theme of native fish returning to home waters is visible in many of the quilt panels.”

The festivities surrounding the new quilt are just getting under way:

The full 40-foot installation will be gifted for a donation of $20,000.  The four individual waterfall panels will be gifted to donors of $1,500 or more.  Gifts will support restoration efforts on Whychus Creek as part of the National Forest Foundation’s Tale of Two Rivers campaign.  Inquiries: ann@soqs.org

About the Quilt

Two Rivers Three Sisters is a unique collaboration between the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, the National Forest Foundation’s Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign, and the U.S. Forest Service.  It enlisted some of the Central Oregon’s foremost fabric artists in producing a commissioned work featuring scenes from Whychus Creek and the Metolius River to raise awareness of two Wild & Scenic waterways that frame the Sisters Country.  The project partners thank the following sponsors, whose support made this project a reality.

Presenting Sponsor – US Bank


  • National Forest Foundation
  • Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Deschutes County Cultural Coalition
  • Deschutes County Commissioners Discretionary Fund
  • Oregon Arts Commission with support from the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Roundhouse Foundation
  • Deschutes Land Trust
  • Deschutes River Conservancy

We also thank the following who donated a portion of their fees to help publicize the project:

Like the quilt on Facebook

See the YouTube video

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June 4, 2012 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Two Rivers Three Sisters Quilt: The Quilter & The Conservationist

The artwork formerly known as the Quilt for Two Rivers has a new name: Two Rivers Three Sisters.  Here’s the latest about the completed 40-foot masterpiece which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes: 


When I tell people that I’m from Sisters, Oregon, their response is always, “Oh… do you quilt?”

I’m slightly ashamed to confess that I don’t quilt. I’ve resolved to take a beginner’s class at the Stitchin’ Post for years now, but I have never pieced together a block and I have only a vague notion what a bobbin is.

I’m part of the Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt project because I work for the National Forest Foundation (NFF), a nonprofit that brings people together to restore and enhance our National Forests.

NFF chose Sisters, more specifically Whychus Creek and the Metolius River, as a special site—a Treasured Landscape site—called the Tale of Two Rivers. In collaboration with many partners, NFF is working to restore our watersheds, bring back salmon and steelhead, and engage the community throughout the process.

Viewpoint on the new Whychus Creek trail in Sisters, OR

The stunning Two Rivers Three Sisters quilts raise awareness for Whychus Creek. Half of the funds from the quilt will be given to NFF to go directly to local on-the-ground restoration efforts.

This may seem like a funny partnership: quilters and conservationists, together? It’s actually as natural as peanut butter and jelly.

Quilters find inspiration in the forests and rivers that weave through our landscapes. They want to make sure that, just like a prized family quilt, this legacy of our National Forests, rivers, and wildlife is preserved for generations. The art of quilting and the affinity for National Forests are both part of our American identity.  Have a look at our new video to see what I mean:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf7q2En6pfw

The act of quilting is piecing together different fabric to make a unified whole. A talented quilter focuses on each seam, each section, with the big picture in mind. This is also how we restore our watersheds. Piece by piece we work on the banks of the rivers, the trails winding through the forest, and the wildlife habitat—always with the health and unity of the whole in mind.

There is an important communal aspect to quilting. During the time they craft, quilters are able to connect with a community—they stitch and laugh in groups, get together for advice, and take classes and retreats with friends. The Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt is a project in which 20 quilters have collaborated and connected, creating over 40 feet of amazing art. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Restoration is also communal. Hundreds of volunteers and donors have made local conservation efforts possible. NFF could not do what it does without friends and partners: the U.S. Forest Service; Deschutes Land Trust; Upper Deschutes Watershed Council; Deschutes River Conservancy; Sisters Trails Alliance; and others.

Student volunteers help out restoring Wild & Scenic River Whychus Creek on Earth Day 2012

The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show has been an outstanding partner, helping connect NFF with a new audience and raise awareness of Whychus Creek through Two Rivers Three Sisters.  NFF is also grateful to the quilters who have poured hours into this trendsetting project. The quilts go beyond words, they flow together and connect in balance, they are teeming with fish and forests—they represent everything our restoration efforts hope to create.

Please join us in honoring these amazing artists and see the completed Two Rivers Three Sisters quilt on exhibit at the Artists’ Reception, June 15, 5 to 7 p.m., Black Butte Ranch Main Lodge.

June 1, 2012 at 4:00 am 7 comments

“Friendraiser Coordinator” aka Kathy, announces new membership program

I’ve volunteered for the Show for more than 16 years as a way to support my hobby – actually, more than a hobby – one of my passions – quilting.  Six months ago I was given a great opportunity – join Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show as their Friendraiser.  What does that mean?  It’s an accurate description of what a fundraiser does.

The first order of business for me  – come up with an innovative membership program.  Both the Board and Executive Director Ann Richardson push the envelop in advancing the mission of SOQS and the new member program is no exception.

I’m excited to announce the new member program was launched this week.  Membership is a win, win, win – for SOQS, members and quilt related businesses partnering with us.  There is a range of member benefits but the most unique addition is the gift of inspiration and creativity. How do we achieve giving these intangibles that are so important to quilters?  By providing our members with free admission to thirty Quilt Museums, Shows and Shops in seven states. How did we do this? By building partnerships that benefit all of us.  Keep in mind, the “grass doesn’t grow under our feet” here at SOQS, so we continue to build partnerships expanding the list of Member Program Partners.

Donors I’ve spoken with the past few months have expressed positive feedback about the direction of the member program.  I encourage you to check out the new Friend of the Show member program on our website.  You can sign up as a member on the site or join the crowd on quilt show day at the Friend of the Show booth behind the Stitchin’ Post.

May 29, 2012 at 5:13 am 17 comments

Quilt for Two Rivers: Whychus Creek, Future Home of “Small Fry”

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes. Featured this week:


Whychus Creek and the Metolius River…..two treasures of Central Oregon!

“Quilt for Two Rivers”…what a unique and worthwhile project!  And what an honor to be asked to be part of this endeavor.

Since moving to Central Oregon in 1989 I have visited these two waterways many times, appreciating their beauty and serene settings.  When our QTR quilting group made our field trip to upper Whychus Creek, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and diversity of the landscape. I fully understand and appreciate how valuable this area is to the human experience–and for fish and wildlife.

My inspiration and vision was to capture, in fabric, the diversity of this unique environment, which is so important as valuable habitat for fish and wildlife.

Pat Welsh panel for the Quilt for Two Rivers

Trees stand as sentinels along the stream, some of which eventually fall and provide cover and safe havens for the fish.  Stands of bushes and shrubs are equally important in providing cover and shade for the fish and other wildlife.Sands and gravels that have been deposited over time make spawning areas for native female fish to make redds and deposit their eggs.  After the eggs hatch, the alevins grow and the quiet pools provide a sanctuary as the fry emerge from redds and grow to eventually start their own migration downstream to the ocean.  (See the additional summary below for more on this life cycle.)

While we have been concentrating on the campaign for restoring runs of historically native fish, my vision also represents diversity in the landscape that benefits all forms of wildlife…as well as us two-legged folks who love a natural outdoor setting.

My panel was accomplished by piecing, appliqué and quilting techniques using both machine and hand processes.

–Pat Welsh

VOTE BY FRIDAY, 5/25 AT 5 P.M. PST FOR THE NEW NAME FOR THE QUILT FOR TWO RIVERS!  The entrant with the most votes wins $100 and a discount lodging package in Sisters, Oregon.  https://apps.facebook.com/contestshq/contests/219388/voteable_entries

A Little Bit about Small Fry

During fish spawning, eggs are deposited by the female in redds (gravel depressions scoured out by the adult’s tail).  Milt (sperm) is then deposited by males to fertilize the eggs.

Alevin are newly hatched fish.  The yolk sac provides nourishment for several weeks for the growing fish, who remain in the river gravel until the sac is absorbed.  Once absorbed, the fish have to find their own food.  This stage is called the “fry” stage.

Fry live in fresh water anywhere from a few days to two years depending on the species.  Smolting is a physiological change which enables fish to live in salt water and not absorb the salt into the bloodstream.  The smolts are ready to begin their migration down river and into the ocean where they spend one to five years.

Once the adult fish have finished growing in the ocean they seek out the rivers in which they were born to spawn.  The mature adults pair up and start the process all over again making a redd ands laying eggs.

–Pat Welsh

May 24, 2012 at 2:19 am 10 comments

Quilt for Two Rivers: Deep in the Woods

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes. Featured this week:


After we moved from Illinois to Eugene in 1967, the first vacation we took away from the Willamette Valley was to Sisters, Oregon.  Sisters, in general – and the Camp Sherman/Metolius River area, specifically – had been highly recommended to us by friends in Eugene who spoke of it in almost reverent terms.

It was easy to see why.

We in awe as the clear, cold headwaters of the Metolius River gushed from the ground to form a full-grown stream.  Our hike along the shoreline toward the hatchery was an easy and enjoyable stroll. We marveled at the steady downhill flow of the stream with its layers of rock, ripples and occasional pools – abundant with rainbow and bull trout.

Judy Johnson’s idea board for her Quilt for Two Rivers panel

We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade of trees and paused to appreciate all we had seen and done.  How blessed we felt to have visited an area that was easily accessible, but evoked a sense of remoteness – an area of preserved and protected natural beauty, yet open to all.

When I learned that the conservation network that our Quilt for Two Rivers group has partnered with seeks to restore Whychus Creek to its former glory, similar to that of the Metolius, my memory of that 1967 trip came to mind and I chose as  the theme of my quilt, “Deep in the Woods.”

I hope it captures the simple beauty and serenity that will again be Whychus Creek.

–Judy Johnson

Judy’s finished quilt panel

TOMORROW, 5/18, IS THE FINAL DAY TO ENTER THE NAME THE QUILT CONTEST!  Visit  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quilt-for-Two-Rivers/132757123491016?sk=app_95936962634  for your shot at winning $100 and a discount lodging package in Sisters, Oregon.

May 17, 2012 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Quilt for Two Rivers – Deepening Appreciation for Local Rivers

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes. Featured this week:


With Whychus Creek literally in our backyard, I have had an appreciation for this pretty little river. I love walking out there with my morning coffee, or watching with joy the pleasure it brings to our grandchildren who could spend the entire day throwing rocks and sticks on its banks.

Wild & Scenic Whychus Creek

But it wasn’t until I was honored with the invitation to be one of 19 very talented quilters to participate in the Quilt for Two Rivers project that I now really have a great appreciation for this river and all the rivers around us.

It was so fun meeting at the Sisters City Hall that February morning and hearing Maret Pajutee of the U.S. Forest Service share with us all about this preservation and public awareness project.

We caravaned together to a beautiful site only a few miles outside of Sisters and hiked a little-recognized river trail. All the raw, natural, untouched beauty so close to where we live was inspiring. We all took pictures and went home with greater awareness of the special qualities of Whychus.

Catherine’s preliminary sketch for her Quilt for Two Rivers panel

As I imagined what my quilt would look like, I just started sketching. I sketched the trees along the river, dead ones, living ones, some erect, some leaning.  And all the rocks –cliffs and those along the river’s edge.

The work in progress

The only two “givens” for each of us quilters were the tiny entrance and exit marks on the papers we received (so that the 40 quilts had the continuity of the river running through all the quilts), and the “river” fabric that we were to incorporate as a common element.

The finished work: Catherine’s Whychus Creek quilt panel for the Quilt for Two Rivers

And at the end I added fish in hopeful anticipation of their return to Whychus Creek!

–Catherine Moen

Enter the Name the Quilt Facebook contest!  Visit  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quilt-for-Two-Rivers/132757123491016?sk=app_95936962634 to view current entries for the contest, with a grand prize of $100 cash and a discount lodging package at FivePine Lodge in Sisters, Oregon.  Entries being accepted until May 18, when finalists will be chosen.  Then Facebook fans will vote to select the winning name during the voting period May 22-25.

May 14, 2012 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Quilt for Two Rivers: Blue Moon Paddle

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes. Featured this week:


I’ve been sewing clothing since I was eight years old. Educated as a nurse, I’ve always like sewing and weaving blankets, imagining that my textiles are surrounding ones I love with love and comfort.

Maintaining bluebird trails in Sisters and Eugene, my two homes, is my favorite outdoor activity now.  My favorite Oregon rivers include the Rogue, McKenzie, and Umpqua.

Hiking along the Metolius is magical – seeing the spring gush from the hillside is always a wondrous sight.  And now Whychus Creek has become very special to me.

Watching the recent video of Whychus Creek flowing anew through Camp Polk meadow as part of the restoration work inspired hope.  We’ve tried to control nature – often causing unfortunate outcomes for wildlife.  Knowing salmon are back in Whychus is exciting.

Preliminary “cartoon” for Mary’s quilt

Finished panel for the Quilt for Two Rivers

Making nature quilts I look at wilderness through a new lens.  What color is the McKenzie this spring?  Gray green?  What colors are the mountain trees?  Blue green? Brown gray?  What fabric in my stash would mimic what I see?  How high is the flow?  How would I create that log that floated down in a flood?  How does the water flow around that rock?  How do the branches of that pine differ from Douglas fir?  What stitches would enhance the design?

As a result of this quilting project on Whychus and the Metolius, my husband and I joined the Deschutes Land Trust.  We’ve supported the Oregon Nature Conservancy and the McKenzie River Trust for a few years.  As boaters, my family wants wild and free-flowing waters.  I dream of seeing our daughter, an extreme kayaker, paddle the Whychus and Metolius.  She’s the inspiration for “Blue Moon Paddle.”

I am thrilled to participate in the Quilt for Two Rivers project.  I love combining my love of nature and rivers with textiles.  I’ve long thought there’s not a problem in the world a little sewing can’t make better.  I’m glad Q2R is raising awareness and financial support for two rivers I love.

–Mary Nyquist Koons

May 9, 2012 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Quilt for Two Rivers – Reawakening the Whychus

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes.  Featured this week:


I feel honored to have been asked to participate in this amazing project along with 20 “Master Quilters” from Central Oregon.  When we first got together and were taken on a hike along the creek, my eyes were opened to the important and demanding work of river restoration groups in bringing back the beauty and functionality of Whychus Creek.  I took many photos and began to imagine my quilt piece.

Whychus Creek as interpreted by Mary Stiewig for the Quilt for Two Rivers

I love to work with fiber in unusual ways.  I am fascinated with nature with its ever-flowing lines.  Most of my fiber art is representational of real life.  I find myself on a journey with fiber, enjoying the mystery of the process.  Often a finished piece becomes totally different from my original conception.

Several of my photos showed the creek flowing behind a very large ponderosa pine tree.  I began by placing the tree in the foreground along with several large rocks.  To help the river “flow” I used twisted fabrics, painted cheesecloth and shimmery pieces to create movement.  Two big things I strive for in my pieces are texture and dimension.  To achieve these I used purchased and hand-painted fabrics, with many embellishments such as yarns, wools, painted clouds, and sparkling tulle.  I stuffed the rocks to show dimension.  I sprinkled snippets of brightly-colored cloth and even used small pieces of raffia.

This has been an enlightening journey, both in contributing to such a worthy cause, and in enabling me to add to my quilting experience.

–Mary Stiewig

May 1, 2012 at 4:08 am Leave a comment

Quilt for Two Rivers: Incorporating Found Objects into the Quilt

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes.  Featured this week:


I have lived near rivers most of my life.  Growing up in Astoria, I watched my dad fly fish for steelhead and cutthroat, all the while snagging crawdads in the shallows.  Same thing in Juneau, Alaska–only keeping a sharp eye out for bears!

Now, living  in Bend, my husband and I love river walks, both “tame”  (paved) and “natural”…Whychus Creek, for example!

Mine is quilt number eight  in the series.  I call the piece Lone Pine.  Our trip to Whychus Creek inspired me hugely!

Sarah Kaufman Quilt for Two Rivers panel - photos by Sarah Peery

I decided to  create “simple” — a smattering of rock, shrub, trees — with the river the highlight.  My background is paper pieced on calculator ribbon — two sizes.  It was hand quilted in a wavy horizontal stitch using perle cotton thread.   Embellishments then made the focal points.

I chose to give the river a bit of  “action” with a cluster of appliqued rocks, and white water from nylon cord.  The  river rocks are actually coral  (with holes in them) found in Hawaii!  I dyed them with tea.

The lone pine has leather strips for branches, and “pine boughs” from a nylon shirt with embossed leaves.  I had fun adding sticks for riverbank branches, some found near Whychus Creek, a few from the Puget Sound area in Washington State.  Perle cotton hunky-stitched grasses were added.

I wanted the feel of a few predominant rocks — almost the pumice look of our local rocks. Of course I had “pumice” tan in my fabric stash!

Finally, I decided the sky was too blue, in contrast to the landscape hues, so clouds were appliqued.  I used hand-dyed cotton gauze, stuffed with alpaca hair!  This came from a Sisters alpaca, I am pleased to say!

I did need to rein myself in with embellishment.  LESS IS MORE is a lesson hard to maintain!  I have enough sticks, twigs, rocks and alpaca hair  left over for another project…some day!

The real drama for me — and for all of us involved in the quilt I think — will be seeing the complete “riverscape.”  I can’t wait!

–Sarah Kaufman

April 27, 2012 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Quilt for Two Rivers: Triggering Childhood Memories

Fiber artists collaborating on the Quilt for Two Rivers are blogging about their quilt panels for the 40-foot masterpiece-in-progress which honors Sisters, Oregon’s Treasured Landscapes.  Featured this week:


How does a piece of fiber art come into being?  Here’s a peek into the mind of quilt artist June Jaeger, who shares her Quilt for Two Rivers project scrapbook with us.

It starts with articles and reflections on June’s grandma’s cabin on the Metolius River…

…then sketches and more notes…

…a field trip with photos of promising scenery…

…and finally, a work of art!

Details of June's quilt panel, photos by Sarah Peery

April 23, 2012 at 5:00 am 2 comments

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