Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Honoring RBG

The date was September 18, 2020. Paul and I were eating dinner while watching TV as we do most evenings. My phone buzzed. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87

"Oh no", I exclaimed. "Mitch McConnell will fill her seat." 

As the country grappled with grief and shock, the Senate republicans did just that. Swooped in for a power grab in record time, during an election year, while flouting their own precedent as the pandemic ravaged the country. The Supreme Court now tilted firmly conservative with a 6-3 majority.

2020 will forever be the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Add to it the racial terror of George Floyd's brutal murder and the unrest that followed. An administration that ignored the pandemic, pushed questionable remedies, silenced medical experts and spread lies and hatred while ignoring scientific guidance. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the last straw.

My grief and shock was replaced with anger and disgust followed by fear. All the progress that we had made towards women's rights, marriage equality and gender equality was now at risk as were the efforts made against voter suppression. 

The first block

If I did not channel my roiling emotions into quilting, I would be devastated. And yet this was not about me. I turned my thoughts to the memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sisters waiting to be armed

If you are one of those who believe that RBG was against pro-life (you are misinformed) and may want to read about how RBG's decision helped end forced abortions in the military.

I made the International Sister Block and added the lace collar.  And then there were more.



Work in Progress


When asked how many of the nine judges on the US Supreme Court should be female — and at what point there would be enough women on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a simple answer: "When there are nine."

Honoring RBG

All complexions

Many colors

Jelly fish and elephants

Blues and Yellows

We Dissent

Inspired by RBG

All colors are welcome

Striving for Equality

I love you all

And nine wore lace collars to symbolize the nine Supreme Court Justices, as envisioned by RBG.  

The quilt was completed on October 18, 2020, as the nation geared for an election that would decide the fate of not just one nation or a continent, but the fate of the planet. 

In a year that was historic for a hundred horrible reasons, there was hope and positivity in the nomination of Senator Kamala Devi Harris, the first woman, the first woman of color and the first woman of Asian origin for national office by a major political party.

In broad daylight

Reflected in dark waters

From a bridge

While battling the breeze


Through twists and turns

Backing that Glows

At Home

I took lots of pictures, added a hanging sleeve and on October 20, 2020, I mailed the completed quilt to Senator Kamala Harris' office in California. It was my homage to RBG. It was also my hope in Kamala Harris' candidacy and it was my dream for a better, more equitable future for all women.

Can you find all the nine Sisters wearing the lace collars?


In Royal Blue

Turquoise is mine

Ultramarine Glow

Resplendent in Red

Abstract Prints

Geometric Designs

Fancy Florals 

Embracing my Freckles and Age Spots

In November 2020, the Biden-Harris ticket won. The world heaved a huge sigh of relief. 

I was sure that the quilt had reached its destination. I had the tracking. But did she get it or someone else receive it on her behalf. Did she see it? What did she think? Hope she likes it? Will she put it on her bed? Of course not. She will hang it in a prominent place.

I knew I would get a response but did not know what or when.  I imagined getting a lovely letter of praise and gratitude followed by an invitation to meet. I imagined myself in the office of Madam Vice President, discussing women's education, microlending and Bollywood music over steaming cups of chai and hot samosas.

Hoping for the Best

I was sure a letter was on its way. Instead I got a text...from Paul (he was working from home). There is a package for you.

This did not seem right. I hurried home. I saw the package and recognized it immediately. It was the same package that I had sent. No, no, no. This was not happening. 

The quilt was returned to me from the Senator's Washington DC address with a short note saying that the ethics rules prevent them from accepting gifts.

Paul: I am so sorry.
Me: It is fine. I have my RBG quilt to comfort me.
Paul: It is a good thing that ethics rules are followed.
Me: I understand.
Paul: But you seem so deflated.
Me: I feel like a fool.
Paul: You are not a fool. You are passionate and wiser for the experience.
Me: Thank you.

Serenity, Courage and now finally Wisdom. The trilogy is complete.

Closed Doors

Turned Away

The sisters were gently turned away.  Understandably. 

But the journey does not end just because we encounter one closed door.

In December 2020, Birgitta (member of the Swedish National Guild called Rikstäcket) reached out to me inquiring about the block and asking permission to transform the International Sister by giving her a Swedish folk costume.  I did not even have to think before saying YES!!!

Sister Reimagined by Birgitta

Sister in Sverigedräkten, by Birgitta

Many email exchanges later, the Sisters made their way into the Swedish Quilting Magazine - Rikstacket. I am still waiting for the physical copy of the magazine, but Birgitta was kind enough to send me a picture of the article.

 Read Birgitta's words below:

I saw that ”the International Sister” quite easily could be transformed into a woman with a folkloric/traditional costume. I started with the ”Sverigedräkten” and then with a traditional costume. It worked out well. I took contact with Preeti and Gail by e-mail to get the stories behind the block and to ask permission to use it. They answered that they were happy to give their permission. Preeti wrote like this: ”It warms my heart that you have taken the International sister block and changed it to suit you. You have made it even more international which is the whole purpose of making and sharing quilt blocks”. Gail gave her blessing too, she wrote: ” I love the idea of turning the block into a Scandinavian beauty. I hope that you will have a good response from the Rikstäckets members.” The idea was presented for
the board of Rikstäcket, and they liked it.

So the International sister walks on, in her third version, to spread happiness, a sense of
community and to show female diversity in all its forms and colours.

When I was photographing the second sister quilt, I was approached by someone who bought it.  
The third has returned to me. These sisters will stay with me.

You Stay With Me!!!

March is Women's History Month. Here is how women were celebrated in the "evolved" West:

March 3, 2021 - 33 year old Sara Everard was kidnapped and murdered as she walked home in South London.

March 16, 2021 - A mass shooting killed six women in Atlanta.

And if you think the crimes and atrocities against women are horrible let's see how the law in this great country of "law and order" is lately doing for women.

March 2021 - South Dakota governor bans transgender girls from sports teams by executive order.

March 2021 - A Maple Grove man's rape conviction was overturned by the Minnesota Supreme Court because the victim willingly consumed alcohol and therefore cannot claim to be incapacitated. 

February 2021 - In an effort to further restrict abortion in Tennessee, two state  lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow a father to deny an abortion without the pregnant woman's consent, with no exception for rape and incest.

Imagine being raped and impregnated by the heinous act, the rapist then gets to further control your body even if it is from behind bars. 

The reasons may change but my disgust and anger remain. I am also fearful for those who will be victimized twice - once by the perpetrator and then by the law. Where are the laws that protect us? 

I cling tightly to the progress made by the efforts of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and hope that we do not slide back.

Through the darkness...

We soldier on

I speak out...I quilt on...I vote. 

I will be sharing with all my favorite linky parties (see full list on the sidebar). Should you add your voice to the mix, I'd feel ever so hopeful.


  1. Your insightful-ness is refreshing, your ability to express your feelings in words, enviable.
    This is an excellent, well thought out post that should ignite small fires of awareness all over the world. As well, it is very motivating for me to revisit the international sisters, as I’ve just removed mine from the wall and placed them in the queue to be finally stitched together. I love how Birgitta has interpreted the block and so pleased to see you’ve been given recognition in their magazine.

  2. I love your sisters quilt and miss RBG - I think it is so nice that you wanted the vice president to have the quilt and that is sad that she couldn't accept it - I bet she never even saw it :( which is sad.

  3. An amazing quilt, an incredible post. How sad that Senator Harris wasn't able to accept your gift, and I'm sure she would have loved and appreciated it if she'd been able to see it. It's great to see another interpretation of this fabulous block...mine are also awaiting being joined..I'm not sure why they have been put aside - they need to see the light of day!

  4. Oh, dear sweet Preeti. . .what a wonderful quilt Wisdom is! And even if the VP couldn't accept the gift, your intention still lives as a tribute to her and to you and to all the women like you. Plus, you get to snuggle under it and enjoy it forever. I love that there are none lace collars, and that there are so many people who have taken up the International Sisters blocks. Such wonderful pictures! Be well.

  5. I so love this quilt and all it represents!! It's been on my list since I first saw it and I've now moved it to the TOP of that list. For all you say and do, you have my utmost respect and admiration!! I could not agree with you more on your beliefs and concerns. Thank you for your strength and convictions and support. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and beliefs ...

  6. Another wonderful thought provoking post from you Preeti, love your sisters quilts. Sad your quilt could not be accepted but nice to see there is an honest politician. I think of you every day when I see my Sisters on the bed, so good to see they are still spreading around the world.

  7. Hi Preeti! I have to think that soon-to-be Madame VP saw your quilt, and absorbed all the good wishes and strength that was sent along with the physical quilt. She stomped her feet, and said damn ethics . . . I don't want to send it back but I must. RBG also smiled upon the transaction and said the fight continues. Until there are nine, the fight continues. We speak out, we quilt, we vote. {{{Hugs}}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  8. After reading this I have no words. But I don’t need them because you speak so well for women everywhere. No, I do have some words, just not profound ones. Another fabulous finish, and I’m glad you get to keep this one. I do hope that someone somewhere at least alerts our VP to your post so that she can see what she had to pass up. (Sigh) You knocked it out of the park with your location photos!! And congrats on the magazine article! And isn’t Brigitta’s version cute! Your influence is spreading far and wide.

  9. Oh, Preeti! I was sure your post was going to end with a photo of your amazing quilt hanging in VP Harris' office! We quilters can hope. Did you sew RBG's lacy collar into the seam or attach it some other way? I have four little sisters who are just hanging out with me, needing a purpose. Maybe one of them could honor RBG in a small way! Quilt on!

  10. Love the lace collars - what a meaningful tribute! Do hope VP Harris gets to at least see this post and your lovely words. If you ever want to let this quilt go, perhaps her alma mater or another fav charity would accept it in her name for a fundraiser auction? And check out the "Amend" 6-part series on Netflix, about the 14th Amendment. Recommended viewing for all!

  11. I sit here with tears flowing as I too am recovering from these past 4 years culminating with the attack on our capitol on Jan 6 2020. How could we Americans reverted so far? Your words touched my heart. I do so love your quilt. May I make my version inspired by your pictures? I do see some hope on the horizon when I read your words and the comments. Bobbiesews in CA rjc2camatgmaildotcom

  12. I love the added lace. Someday....there will be nine. ♥

  13. Darned Ethics Committee!! :o((
    Making that special International Sisters quilt for our (now) Vice President was a wonderful gesture, Preeti.
    Congrats on being published in another magazine. SEW exciting!

  14. I always love your thoughts and writings! And as you already know, when RBG died I added a lace collar to one of my Sisters. Great minds...

  15. Thank you for every word you wrote.

  16. Amen. You say it all so well you make me cry. Thank you. Hugs

  17. I loved reading this post. Love your sisters with lace collars. Beautiful

  18. I bet Madam V-P spent a little private time stroking her quilt and wondering if there was any way round the rules. And then, because she's decent and honourable and a woman of grit and determination, she sighed, and told them to send it back... She will make of her own life a tribute to all her international sisters. You and she have that in common.

  19. I read your blog but this post I must have re-read three times yesterday. Just so grateful for you sharing your journey and thoughts. Hugs and hugs!

  20. The quilt turned out fabulous and I applaud your efforts to try and gift this quilt to the VP. I am sure she would have loved to have kept it. It is such a wonderful tribute to women and RBG. I was hoping she could hold on until after the election, but I guess the Universe had other plans. I am experienced in giving quilts to notable people and understand the loopholes and emotions. I had a similar experience with I quilt I made for President Obama's 50th birthday. In looking for an address, I read that no gifts should be sent. I did send a picture of the quilt, the reason for the fabric choices and how I admired his leadership. I got a letter back, but it was pretty generic. Now that he is a private citizen, he could accept it now. I just have to figure out a full proof way to make sure he gets it. I have learned not to expect a response for giving a quilt. As long as I know the person got the quilt, I am good with that. When I do get a response, that is fun.

  21. How sad that your gift could not be accepted by Vice President Harris. I know how very disappointed you must have been when it was returned to you. But how wonderful that so many quilters have adopted (and adapted) the International Sisters, thus spreading your compassion around the world. You are a talented artist and a fiercely determined woman who brings love, joy and, yes, wisdom to all of us. And as I say repeatedly, I envy your fabric and scrap collection.

  22. This is such a beautiful tribute, Preeti!! I love that you added lace collars to nine of the women. I'm sorry that the vice president's office was not able to accept it. I love seeing all your strong, powerful, beautiful sisters in cloth. I'm glad they will stay with you.

  23. Wow! I am so sorry your dream did not come true, and encounter and chat with the VP. You are so right about the progress, then the steps backwards, then the progress. The lace collars are terrific and so many beautiful sisters. Our 2017 Sistas group has one or two quilts coming...my April project. So more sisters to join the group!

  24. Your quilts are wonderful, with so much thought and care put into them. And just think, now maybe you'll own the quilt when there finally ARE nine female justices. Especially if we all keep raising our voices and pushing forward for equality and women's rights. Thanks for always speaking out, I appreciate it!

  25. "Speak out, quilt on, and vote." Excellent plan. I follow it, too. Love the lace collars on nine of your ladies. And now the pattern is truly going internationally global. How exciting that people want to make their own versions. Hooray for you!

  26. Oh Pretti, this quilt is gorgeous - not only in design and color, but in what it represents. I want to make one!!! Also, I’m sure Kamala wanted to keep it. And it is so freaking cool that Birgitta’s guild adapted the block and that your version got featured in the Swedish Quilting magazine. So much awesomeness here!


  27. I can't believe they sent your quilt back to you!!! The Senate Ethics Committee Rules on Accepting Gifts -- REALLY?!!! Those rules are intended to restrict gifts that come with strings attached, like bribes. I hardly think the Ethics Committee need worry about the Evil Undue Influence of American Quilters!! I am so disgusted and disappointed for you. Ugh. But it's a bright silver lining indeed that you are now an International Quilter of Renown with your feature in the Swedish magazine!

  28. There is a lot of water in my eyes right now because your quilt was returned. I fantasized that it would be hanging in her office very soon. So so sorry this is not happening. On a happy vibe, though, you now have some Scandinavian sisters to include in the international bunch - how cool is that!

  29. Sobbing. That is the nicest-saddest story I have ever heard. You told the story so perfectly. Thank you for sharing this journey. The photos are wonderful as well. Again, thank you

  30. In my country 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner. Too few of us recognise it for what it is. Now I'm free. My next quilt in my new home will be a Sisters one.

  31. An amazing and beautiful quilt! Your incredible post brought tears to my eyes. Your photos are wonderful and thought provoking. Serenity, courage and wisdom. You nailed it! I am inspired by your tenacity and perseverance.

  32. Oh your heart!! Holee cow - this heart.... I love that you speak it, that you quilt it, and that you share it! I too was imagining your Quilt ... hanging in the White House for all to see, for all to embrace, and for all to ask the meaning... and while hearing/reading more about it, becoming more aware.... Hugs my Friend... (I only wish I had words like you)

  33. I’ve reread your post several times. Read it out loud to my DH too! It is sad and at the same time uplifting. I’ve started to pull fabric for some sister blocks for myself. Mine will never be as fabulous as your three quilts, but there will be an International Sisters quilt in this “red” state as a symbol of the hope and diversity that must come to pass!

  34. A courageous and inspiring post , thank you . I tend to avoid politics but RBG and Kamala both give us all hope , male and female alike.
    Thank you again.

  35. What a wonderful post Preeti. I am sorry you were unable to gift the quilt but what a lovely gesture and so much meaning (which is always the case with your work). Love the magazine shout out to the International Sisters Bloc,. So happy for you and proud of you!

  36. Gorgeous. tears in my eyes as I read this story.

  37. I find your quilts and your stories always meaningful, but this one is by far the best. I am sorry for your disappointment, but maybe it is fated for you to keep it and show to others as much as possible. Lovely that you were featured in the magazine. I hope it helped your heart.

  38. Love this quilt and the woman behind it. Thanks Pretti for sharing it on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  39. Following and appreciating your thoughts for quite some time I just have to leave a comment and tell you how much I love your quilts, your political and humanitarian attitude, your power to inspire and speak out and, and ... . Whoever had to send back that sisters-quilt will have done with much regret, I'm sure.But some things are meant to be and you can always use it to make the important messages that stand behind, more known in the world. Take good care and thank you very much for not only inspiration but also delicious food for thoughts. Happy Easter !! Mecki from Bavaria/Germany

  40. I know you are the kind of woman who sees the positive side of events. It's very frustrating that Kamala Harris didn't accept your gift, but it was for good and straight reasons. However, I almost cried reading your post.
    Your nine collars are pretty and a beautiful hommage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her work. Congratulations for the international move of the International sisters ;)
    Hugs from France
    And thank you for linking up today!

  41. Amazing and thoughtful, as always, Preeti, and don't worry - even if your beautiful wise ladies cannot be in VP Harris' office to watch over her, they will still do what sisters have always done - they will lend her their silent support, no matter where they are (even Sweden!) and she will be stronger for it.

  42. A beautiful quilt and an inspiring blog post! Makes me feel hopeful for the future that you speak out and are such a bright light in a dark world!

  43. I am sorry your beautiful creation got sent back. But I love your idea for the nine lace ladies. The direction of society and law making is very horrifying. I can only join you in the prayers for turnaround and real equality. xo

  44. I SO enjoy seeing the sisters quilts and your comments on equality. Soldier on, Preeti!

  45. Another powerful post Preeti. What a wonderful quilt to honor an amazing woman. The story of this quilt I am sure will continue.

    Thanks for linking up with Oh Scrap!

  46. What a wonderful quilt and post. I am new to your blog, and I am so glad to have discovered your work. You have a new follower!

  47. First - congratulations on that article! I enjoyed this whole post - the pictures of your beautiful quilt and the insights you've shared. I love how you've added the lace collars to the 9 blocks to honor RBG's vision. She had such an amazing impact, and is missed.

  48. Your quilt is gorgeous and such fun bright colors. Happy quilting.

  49. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out. It's good to lose the filters that keep us from speaking our truths, and you've done this so eloquently, both with your words and with your quilting. Well done, Preeti.