Each quilt at the Pendleton Quilt Show told a story, but one of Annette Frye’s pieces only reveals its depth through conversation.
The pattern depicts six Tyrannosaurus rex heads, each one occupying its own colored square.
It’s not bad for someone who picked up quilting five years ago.
In an interview, the Pendleton quilter said she had a long history of sewing, but had never put together a quilt when her son asked her to do one in honor of his fallen military comrades.
Her first quilt garnered attention, including a front page story in the East Oregonian, and she’s spent the ensuing years making quilts and blankets for her whole family.
The latest quilt is for her 10-year-old grandnephew Brian, who loves all things dinosaur. But it’s also about his younger brother, Magnus.
Nicknamed “Mighty Magnus,” her nephew died in 2017 while being treated for Hurler syndrome, a rare genetic disease that results in reduced life expectancy.
With a picture of the two brothers on the back of the quilt, the cover is meant to be as much a tribute to Magnus as it is to Brian.
“The quilt honors Brian and his lifelong passion and honors his little brother Magnus,” she wrote in the quilt’s description. “For our Mighty Magnus’ fight was as mighty as the t-rex.”
Frye’s quilt wasn’t the only blanket that told a story about their designers.
Among the dozens of quilts that were featured at the Pendleton Convention Center Friday, one quilter expressed her Portland Trail Blazers fandom, her career at Les Schwab, and her love of rodeo, all in different quilts.
Pam Raby, the show’s featured quilter, said the appeal of quilting lies in the colors, patterns, and the tactile quality of producing the cover.
Raby moved from Tennessee to Corvallis 30 years ago to work for Hewlett-Packard, but she eventually left the computer industry to turn her hobby into her main gig.
She teaches at several different quilting retreats around the Northwest, and the quilts she decided to exhibit for the show are all pieces she either made in teaching or taking a class.
Although all the quilts were made for learning opportunities, they all stood out for their abstract qualities.
Raby makes her quilts with the help of her friend Nancy Stovall, who sews the fabric together after Raby assembles it.
Her 2016 quilt, “Sundown Cityscape,” does a resemble a city skyline at sunset. But instead of representing the buildings literally, each skyscraper is a fabric block that she designed as a signature for each of her students.
“Crank it Up” depicts a giant six-pointed star, but a closer look reveals a bicycle pattern that is meant as a tribute to her husband’s cycling obsession.
Colleen Blackwood said other quilting shows feature competitions and judging panels, but the Pendleton Quilt Show avoids all that to make it as inclusive and welcoming as possible.
Blackwood is a member of Krazy Horse Quilters, which has sponsored the show since its inception.
She said the event would be free if the group didn’t have to pay the convention center to rent the space, and the money they make from the quilt raffle always goes toward a local nonprofit.
“If we make any money, we give it away,” she said.
The show runs through Saturday, and Frye’s T-rex quilt will be featured through its duration.
Frye’s design caught the eye of an artist who wants to feature the quilt in her upcoming quilting book, so Frye will send out the quilt to get photographed.
And then it goes to Brian, who loves all things dinosaurs.