Star quilt-block patterns for an astronomical block challenge

Posted by on January 16, 2014, in quilting & sewing

9-inch Aunt Eliza's Star block from Quilter's Block-a-Day CalendarThink about you, quilting. Pair that image with your wildest, most wouldn’t-it-be-amazing dream. What does your marvel of a quilting experience look like?

For astronaut Karen Nyberg, her quilting adventure was a literal out-of-this world event: making a quilt block in orbit, on the International Space Station. Wow! Inspiration doesn’t come on a scale much grander than that.

Happily for quilters, Karen Nyberg has invited us to take part in that celestial quilting experience. How? By making a star-themed quilt block as part of the Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge. Submitted blocks will be stitched into a quilt along with Karen’s block, and the quilt will be displayed in Houston, Texas, at 2014 fall Quilt Market.

Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge

What’s the challenge? Submit a star-themed block, of any style, that measures 9½" square unfinished, so that it will measure 9″ when pieced into a quilt. Use a permanent marker to write your name on the front of your block.

How many blocks can I submit? One block per person.

When must entries be submitted? August 1, 2014.

You can find more information about the Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge, including specifics on where to send your block, in this flyer.

Patterns for Star Quilt Blocks

9-inch Star of Illusion block from Quilter's Block-a-Day CalendarWhile it’s easy enough to find star quilt-block patterns, tracking down blocks that finish to the required 9” can be a little trickier—or so we feared. In fact, finding star blocks that finish to 9″ was easy. All it took was a quick look through a couple of our favorite block resources. Debby Kratovil has two great 9” star blocks (see them above and at right) in her Quilter’s Block-a-Day Calendar. And Judy Hopkins delivers no less than 37 different star blocks (below) in 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks. Talk about choices! The beauty of Judy’s patterns is that she gives instructions for making each block in six different sizes. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that we found exactly the dimensions we needed!

Take a look at the 9″ star quilt blocks above and below, pick a favorite, and join the Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge!

9-inch star blocks from 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks A
9-inch star blocks from 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks B
9-inch star blocks from 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks C

"On Earth, I usually use a sewing machine."

  • How does an astronaut store her quiltmaking tools in a weightless environment? What challenges does she encounter when measuring and cutting fabric in space? What’s her approach to stitching? Watch Karen Nyberg explain it all in this remarkable video, shot on the International Space Station.
  • See what other projects Karen Nyberg stitched aboard the Space Station—and boggle your mind with awe-inspiring photos of Earth—at her Facebook page.
  • Listen to Karen discuss the Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge with Pat Sloan in the January 6 broadcast of American Patchwork and Quilting Radio.

Will you participate in the Astronomical Quilts Block Challenge? If you could quilt in space, what would you make and why? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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