I’ve begun my next large project, a quilt for my nephew. I have five nephews and nieces and am making quilts for all of them for their 21st birthday gifts. Matthew’s is the fourth, and since he’s already turned 25, I’m running behind schedule! He looked at my website to see what kind of quilt he’d like, and was really drawn to the Gateway to Mongolia pattern because it looked Celtic. Who knows where this pattern originated, but it has been around in Mongolia since before the era of Genghis Khan 800 years ago. In Mongolia, the Olzii is painted on the doors of gers (yurts) to bring long life and prosperity to the inhabitants. It also drives away wild beasts and evil spirits. It is one of the Tibetan Buddhist special symbols, a never-ending knot signifying the eternal universe and continual cycles of life and death. The pattern is indeed typical of many Celtic under-over designs and I’ve also heard it called a Gordian Knot. A few years ago, I went to an exhibit of Islamic art in London at the British Museum. There was an Abyssinian tile from the fourth century with this pattern, so it clearly has significance in many parts of the world and has been around for a long time.
I achieved the woven effect by using a color gradation of fabrics on the large on-point central Olzii block. The simple Olziiis surrounding the center field are 12″ blocks and will be trimmed slightly to fit. I will sew another orange strip around the outside and an additional pieced border yet to be determined. Watch this space in a couple of months for the finished quilt….