Out of This World

Have you heard about the star block challenge started by astronaut Karen Nyberg? During her recent mission at the International Space Station, she sewed a quilt block. A star quilt block. In space. Here’s a photo:

nyberg Out of This World

NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg with the quilt block that she made in space.

I also love this photo of the stuffed dinosaur she made for her son. It was constructed in space, too.

Nyberg dinosaur Out of This World

Toy dinosaur made by Karen Nyberg

Now that she is back on Earth, she had a few things to say about sewing in space, and she also invited quilters to create their own star-themed quilt blocks to be joined into a big quilt that will be displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, this coming fall.

“Now that I’ve tried my hand sewing in space, I can say one thing with certainty: It’s tricky,” Nyberg said in a video sent down from the space station. “This is what I’ve made. It’s far from being a masterpiece, but it was made in space. I’m inviting all of you to create your own star-themed quilt block. We’ll be combining them with my block to create a quilt for [the] 40th anniversary International Quilt Festival in Houston. I can’t wait to see what we make together.”

Blocks are due by August 1st, 2014, and as June is almost over(!), I decided I should get going on a block if I wanted to have it done in time. Here’s what I came up with.

starblock Out of This World

9 1/2″ star block made by Gigi Khalsa

It’s rather literal, with the space print background and fiery-looking star, but it’s not really any sort of traditional star quilt block. It’s on a basic nine patch grid, but I added quick-corner piecing to the center patch, sharp star points on the outer center patches, and my favorite 1″ strips on the diagonal to the corner patches. I used Northcott‘s Stonehenge Out of This World for the space print and sun fussy cut and Troy Corporation‘s The Gathering by Mary Fisher for the bright yellow-orange sections. It looks like it’s shining brightly in the dark vacuum of outer space! The rules say it must be signed with your name and location, but I’ll do that when I get ready to send it off.

I’m wondering , since the deadline is still weeks away, if I can come up with another star block that I like better. There’s so many ways to go with the star theme! Wonky, improvisational, applique, traditional pattern, foundation piecing, the list goes on. But only one block is allowed per person. Here are the other rules for entering the challenge if you are interested in submitting your own block.

I, like Nyberg, can’t wait to see the final quilt. Are you going to make a block for it? There’s still time!

Quilting is spreading all over the world and now it’s in outer space, too! Follow along as we track quilting’s progress on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and our website. I hope your weekend is out of this world!


About Gigi Khalsa

Associate Editor at Quilters Newsletter
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6 Responses to Out of This World

  1. What size of block would you like?

  2. Gigi Khalsa says:

    Sherryl, click on the hyperlink on the word ‘Here’ in the third to last paragraph, and all the rules are explained there.

  3. Janine Huisjen says:

    It may be literal, but I really like the depth and brightness of the space material, the contrast, and the non-traditional pattern.

  4. Seen this on Facebook. It is a great ideal. I am going to try and get one done this weekend. Never made a star before but found a simple pattern that I think I can do.

  5. Jeanne says:

    This is really cool, Gigi! Great fabrics, great design.

  6. Pingback: I’m In Houston! | Inside Quilters Newsletter

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