Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quilters in space!!

If you follow DMC's blog, you've likely seen the video of Karen Nyberg, an astronaut on the International Space Station, explaining how to quilt in space. If not, you have to see this video! It is one of the coolest, nerdiest things I have ever seen and it makes me want to whip out a needle here on earth.


Karen Nyberg is an engineer and an astronaut. She is also an avid quilter who has teamed with the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas to challenge quilters to make star-themed quilt blocks. All blocks submitted by August 1, 2014 will be used to make star-themed quilts, along with the blocks Nyberg sews in space. The quilts will be featured at the fall quilt show (October 30 - November 2, 2014). Blocks must be 9.5" square. They can be made from any fabric and in any color and must be signed on the front by the stitcher. Attendees will also hear Karen speak about sewing in space.


As a child I spent a lot of time at our local planetarium, so this challenge is particularly interesting to me. My Dad coordinated educational programming with the planetarium and all of the guys in the basement were "uncles." I remember the big concrete room where they all worked creating graphics and electronic music for the shows and programming the room full of computers that ran the projector (now it's all done from one desktop computer). It was always exciting to visit. My sister and I even liked the hallway, which was textured grey concrete, with black walls lit with spotlights. We'd happily jump from one lighted spot to another while Dad conducted his business.


We always had space stuff in the house, and that crept into our needlework. When I went to college, the laundry bag Mom made me featured signs of the zodiac. And I once tried to make a baby quilt that simulated a starry night. I don't have a photo, but it was strips of blue diamonds on a white ground, with occasional yellow diamonds for twinkling stars. I was proud of my creativity, but my quilting left a lot to be desired. I forgot to stretch the backing fabric and it turned out quite crooked.


For more inspiring space themed projects, check out DMC's blog and Michelle Hamill's Stichin Fingers page. She is a creative embroiderer who stitched a truly magnificent blackwork piece depicting the inner solar system, as well as beautiful chain stitch Jupiter.


Quilting in space is one the coolest and most unexpected hobbies I've ever heard of. For those of us who are earthbound, though, you may want to consider putting your personnel touch on the solar system by submitting a star block to the Houston International Quilt show.

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