Warsaw woman creates Scrabble quilt for Buttigieg

Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 6:48 PM EST
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When it comes to quilting and politics, Shelly Gilliland is passionate.

After being impressed with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a 2018 event in Fort Wayne, she awaited the day he would announce his presidential candidacy.

In April 2019, Gilliland's dream came true when Buttigieg made the announcement. Around the same time, the Warsaw woman had an epiphany.

"I saw the fabric one day and thought, 'That needs to be a quilt for Pete. That just needs to be a quilt for Pete,'" Gilliland recalled.

She went to work on her sewing machine and in just a few days made Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, a presidential-themed quilt that resembled a Scrabble board. Yet Gilliland held onto her creation for months.

"I didn't just want to mail it to South Bend because I was afraid somebody would steal it, somebody would say they made it, somebody would -- I don't know -- cut it to shreds if they didn't like it," Gilliland explained.

In September 2019, while attending a campaign event in South Bend, Shelly gave the quilt to someone who knows Buttigieg well so that person could show the former mayor, who was seated elsewhere. Impressed by the quilt, Buttigieg and his husband reportedly asked the person in his campaign if Shelly would allow them to keep the quilt and hang it in Pete's campaign office. Gilliland happily gave the quilt to her pick for the Democratic nomination.

"I was like, 'Oh, my gosh! Yeah, of course!'" Gilliland remembered. "It felt as surreal as meeting him the first time [in August 2018], shaking his hand, and saying, 'When you run for president, I'll work in your campaign office.'"

Gilliland made a duplicate quilt but is not selling them. However, she wouldn't mind making another quilt for the White House, if Buttigieg wins the 2020 election.