An Arc: Bending Towards Justice, signals the end of Grandmother’s Choice: The Fight For Women’s Rights quilt project. Barbara Brackman, quilt and textile historian, has generously given us a block a week for forty-nine weeks, accompanied by short history lessons focusing on women’s suffrage around the world.
Admittedly, the subject is one that fires my interest, and although women are enfranchised in many countries, voting isn’t the end of story. We still have a long road ahead of us before we can say that we are truly on an equal footing with men, not only in the workplace, but in our daily lives. This last bit is what helped me finish the Grandmother’s Choice quilt project in a way that I’d not imagined.
During the course of the project, I’d been busily planning the layout of my quilt, tweaking the overall concept until I was well satisfied with the design, or so I thought. Additional fabrics were selected for the setting squares, my math was double-checked, and I settled in to begin the final step of making a quilt top. As I progressed, my excitement faded, the quilt was not making me happy.
I tried different fabrics and values in the setting squares, but still, no happiness was forthcoming. I persevered, sure that I had hit some kind of wall in the design process and it would work itself out by the time I was ready to add the borders. I kept laboring on it until at last – huzzah! – the field was finished, and there it hung on the design wall. What was my reaction? I turned my back on it and walked away. The quilt top was flat, bland, and uninteresting. Boring. Time to work out the problem without the disappointment of the unfinished quilt top staring back at me.
I continued to check in on the Grandmother’s Choice Flickr group from time to time, watching as the completed quilt tops came trickling into the group photo pool. I missed the camaraderie of our Saturday morning group. Together, we had worked through the challenges occasionally thrown our way, applauded each other’s successes, commiserated and made gentle suggestions when we failed.
One day, I was musing and drifting, thinking about all the women we had learned about over the course of the last year, when the proverbial light bulb finally winked on. We didn’t win the right to vote through the work of any single woman, but through the execution of the battle plans of many women working shoulder-to-shoulder to achieve a single goal.
There was a large problem with my quilt, but the solution was simple – scratch the setting squares – all of that extra fabric simply made them shine out as individuals. The blocks in my quilt needed to be set together, shoulder-to-shoulder so to speak. You know what happened next… all of the sewing needed to be undone.
My trusty seam ripper and I became the best of friends for a time, but this has allowed me to become reacquainted with some of my favorite blocks. Many of the instructions that Barbara gave us have found a permanent home in my pattern book to be used another day, in another quilt.
My version of the “Grandmother’s Choice: The Fight For Women’s Rights” quilt project finishes at approximately 68″ x 79″ – or 172.7cm x 200.6cm.