Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I have been dying to show off this quilt. I think it is one of the coolest things I have ever created. Usually by the time I finish a project I just want it done. This one I'm still in love with, warts and all. I think I love it so much because it is truly a creative effort, not just following a recipe created by someone else. I will bet money that there is no other quilt in existence quite like this one.

The official name of the quilt is "Choosing Hope Over Fear," a phrase taken from President Obama's inaugural address. In many ways it embodies my prayers, my hopes, and my fears for this new president who is determined to chart a new course for America.

This quilt began with Friendship Star blocks obtained in a swap in 2003.The blocks were made by quilters in an on-line group and come from the length, breadth and heart of the United States. Each woman wrote her name, city, and state on the blocks she contributed, so the geographic diversity is easy to recognize. At the time I received the blocks, I thought something along the lines of "Red States, Blue States, United States" I bought some red, white and blue prints to serve as companion fabrics, but then set the blocks aside. Something was missing.

On election night, November 4, 2008, a different on-line group was planning to spend the night working on a "vigil project," since there was every reason to believe we would not know the winner of the Presidential election until very late at night, if even then. I decided the red, white and blue theme was appropriate to the occasion, and started making reversible blocks using Sharon Pederson's method of quilting individual blocks and joining them.

The final creative spark for the project came from Cat Bordhi, a knitter. On the morning after the election she wrote in her blog:
The Moebius *appears* to have two surfaces and two edges - ie, polarities such as black and
white,right and wrong, good and bad, Republican and Democrat - but when you follow the
surface around you will run right into your starting point without ever having changed to the
other “side.” For there isn’t one. Everything flows into itself. Polarities are an illusion. What
lies beneath the apparent polarities is oneness, beauty, and grace. In a Moebius you can see
it, hold it, be awed by it.
I realized the quilt needed to be a mobius in order to truly capture the idea that there was no such thing as a right or wrong side, and that even the idea of "taking sides" was not helpful in current political conversation.

So the quilt is a mobius. It can be rotated freely around the hanging rod, although for the sake of taking pictures I coaxed it to lie fairly flat. The quotation from Cat Bordhi has been printed onto printable cotton fabric and sewn along the edge of the quilt; this same strip extends to become the maker's label.
The last stitch in the quilt was taken today, April 29, 2009, President Obama's 100th day in office. It seemed an appropriate way to mark the day.