Hands down, the best vacation I ever took was our 2011 trip to Florida, when we visited the Kennedy Space Center. It was the summer of the last space shuttle launch. We visited the center just a few days before (and good for us, because the traffic is terrific when there’s a launch).
The focus of our vacay was supposed to be the newly opened Harry Potter’s Wizarding World at Universal Studios. We went there, too. What can I say? Seeing real spaceships, learning about real space adventures, seeing real images from the Hubble. All that just makes pretend magic seem…pretend. Sorry, Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
Also, there was a really cool Star Trek exhibit and I got to sit in the Captain’s chair! Where Kirk sat with a twinkle in his eye as he teased Spock about his Vulcan logic! And I got to see all the TV and movie props and costumes! I saw a Borg and had my picture taken with a Klingon! (Is that too many exclamation marks?!!)
Okay, so I like pretend movie magic after all. 😊 But I digress.
If you can’t tell from all the exclamation marks, I’m happily a bit of a science and science fiction fan.
In my world, people can be divided into two basic groups: English majors and Math majors. I find that people are usually good at one or the other, but not both.
Me, I’m an English – I studied social sciences and journalism. A Math might be someone who studied math or similar, say, computers, or engineering.
Science is the bridge between the two groups. I love science! But I don’t understand half of it. And I don’t care.
I am thrilled beyond measure that God made folks who enjoy figuring out how the world works. I love that they try to explain science to me. I love that they don’t mind if I don’t get it. I love that they use it to help me anyway. (Looking at you, astronauts, doctors, biologists, and pharmaceutical chemists. Hugs!)
The absolute best part of the Kennedy Center was the Hubble Space Telescope Theater. A movie explained the science behind the telescope and showed us the amazing images from the Milky Way and beyond. One image showed us what looked like a starry night. But as the camera zoomed in on the image, we saw what those pinpoints of light were: galaxies.
Not one, not ten – thousands of galaxies out there, like grains of sand scattered on the floor.
If you aren’t humble about the miracle of Earth when you go in to the Kennedy Space Center, you will be when you come out. We’re so small. So very, very small.
But we sure are smart. Smart enough to build that awesome telescope.
Since outer space is one of my favorite topics, it’s no wonder that I snatched up several yards of a starry space print fabric (Benartex) when I came across it awhile back. I’m glad I got to include it in Oscar’s Cheery-O quilt. Now he will have a little something to remind him of his spacey Aunt Stacey as he gets older. Hopefully it will guilt him into staying in touch as he gets old and starts a family of his own. 😊
Here is the finished quilt. Do you love it? I do!
I always thought my favorite color was red till I made this quilt. Now I can clearly see that blues, purples, and greens are the color of the cosmos in my heart.
The quilt is quilted with a meander, swirls, and stars. I used 100% wool batting for it’s softness, breathability, and that little bit of extra pouf that defines the stitches.
Oscar’s quilt is backed with a fabric called Minky, so I feel justified in calling it “The Minky Way”, in honor of the space connection. Let me tell you a little about Minky, in case you’ve never attempted working with it.
Minky is a furry, fleece-like polyester fabric. It comes in the brand names Minkee and Cuddle. This is the second quilt I’ve done where I’ve used Minky as a backing fabric, but the first time I’ve had problems with it stretching.
I’ve heard a lot of quilters warn about Minky’s stretchy tendencies, so I was careful that first time. I loaded the backing parallel to the selvedge edge (I pinned the selvedge edge to the leader). It stretched a bit, but I didn’t see what all the fuss was about – I didn’t have any issues.
The second time, with Oscar’s quilt – I bought 90” wide Minky, which was convenient, but meant that I had to load it with the selvedges perpendicular to the leader (pinned across the cut edge of the yardage). This time, I had a LOT of stretching. It was hard to avoid. It doesn’t seem to have affected the finished quilt, though.
Here’s a few tips for working with Minky:
- Don’t avoid it because it’s stretchy. It is super soft, and makes a special quilt.
- When longarm quilting, load the minky parallel to the selvedge edge. That is, pin the selvedges to your leaders. It will still stretch some, but it will stretch less overall.
- Don’t roll up the Minky too tight. Keep it straight but avoid stretching it on the roller bar.
- Work quickly! If you, like me, often can’t finish more than a row at a time – don’t advance the quilt until you’re ready to start the next row. That way the quilted row will hold the backing still without stretching it until you’re ready to start again.
Good luck! I’d love to see your Minky projects…or talk about Star Trek and Harry Potter with you in the comments!