SciQuilt – When Snow is a No-Show for the Iditarod

Leave a comment

March 3, 2022 by Dr. G

*Note that this is the same post as found on the AGU GeoEd Trek blog.

The following is the quilt I am submitting to the Stitch Your Science 2022 virtual event, themed on climate science. As the quilt calls attention to the impact of warming temperatures on the Iditarod, I share the story here, with hopes that everyone will consider further sharing this quilt and discussing the race, the Arctic Report Card, and more with students, colleagues, family and friends.

Large quilt with batik fabric hanging
“When Snow is a No-Show for the Iditarod”. Completed by Laura Guertin on February 28, 2022.

The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of a race that honors the legacy of the Alaskan sled dog and Alaska Native people who have used dog sled transportation for millennia. Also referred to as the “Last Great Race on Earth”, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes mushers and their team of up to 16 dogs pulling sleds filled with equipment and food 1,049 miles from its ceremonial start in Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The race takes place each year on the first Saturday in March.

The Iditarod is designed for snow, but in the more recent decades of the race’s history, unseasonably warm winters and upper-level wind patterns have caused part of the trail to be left without snow and instead be a trail of grass and gravel, a route of unfrozen rivers, streams, and ponds in the low-lying Alaska Mountain Range. This required the route of the Iditarod to be shifted 250 miles north to Fairbanks, Alaska, three times – in 2003, 2015, and 2017. NOAA’s Arctic Report Card documents that the winter temperatures in Alaska’s central interior are warming more than double the rate of winter warming in the lower 48 states and global average. Some question the safety and longevity of this race that celebrates tradition and culture.

I created a quilt in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and to acknowledge the impact of warming temperatures. This video is an overview of the quilt, and a full description with additional images can be found below.

Starting at the bottom of the quilt, the dark batik fabric was used to represent colder temperatures, with the sleds facing to the left to symbolize the race heading from east to west across Alaska. As one moves up the quilt, there are golden arrows for warming temperatures – three sets of arrows representing the three times when the race was shifted to the north because of environmental conditions. The batik fabrics with the sled dogs and mushers also becomes lighter in color moving up the quilt to represent the warming temperatures over the years. At the top, I placed a question mark, questioning how much longer this race will be able to continue because of the warming temperatures across Alaska, a point driven home by mushers and dogs on the warmest color of fabric for the quilt hanger.

All of the fabrics used in this quilt are from The Quilted Raven in Anchorage, Alaska. Titled “When Snow is a No-Show for the Iditarod”, this quilt was completed February 28, 2022, and measures 45 inches across by 49 inches in height.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Follow me on Instagram

I'm thrilled to be exhibiting my quilts and crocheted pieces at @jagardens, starting this weekend! It will be the first time my Drawing Down Towards Climate Solutions mini-quilts, plus my Stitching Hope for the Louisiana quilts, PLUS my crocheted temperature data will all be on display at once. For those in southeastern PA, I hope you are able to come out sometime before January 8 to stroll the beautiful arboretum and stop by the art gallery to view these pieces. Admission to the arboretum and gallery is free!
Finished this fun data visualization/quilt top that shares the daily Sky Cover measurements from @joides_resolution #EXP390. As sky cover is recorded in units zero to eight, I chose eight different batik fabrics to represent the scale (the deepest blue batik for the blue sky, and the darkest/black batik for when the sky was completely clouded over, and all shades of blue/grey in-between). As the expedition officially was April 7 thru June 7, 2022, there are 62 pieces of data/batik strips. The background fabric is filled with golden stars for the sky, and the bright gold border is my nod to our port city, where the fabric was purchased.
Thank you @SciHistoryOrg for hosting Start Talking Science 2022 - so great to be able to present alongside other Philly scientists about the work we do to a non-STEM audience of all ages! And a great opportunity to share the mission and how we do science at sea on @theJR #EXP390 #EXP393
Back at @pennlivearts this evening to hear the @blindboysofalabama - so incredible, so inspirational! The new songs were great, but my all-time favorite will always be Amazing Grace sung to The House of the Rising Sun (check it out if you have never heard this innovative mashup).
🎼 I love live New Orleans jazz - and tonight, I didn’t have to go to New Orleans, as the jazz came to me! 🎶 Such a fun concert by @newbreed_brassband. 🎵 The best part - the sousaphone player’s high school band teacher was there & brought his trumpet on stage and joined them for a few songs. 🎺 After the first song, he said he was getting emotional, as he was so proud of the group. I get it, teacher, I’m there with you.
%d bloggers like this: