Cheery-O Quilt, Minky, New Quilters, Quilting

NASA and the Minky Way

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.


Back of Oscar’s Cheery-O Quilt: The Minky Way


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:

  1. Don’t avoid it because it’s stretchy. It is super soft, and makes a special quilt.
  2. 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.
  3. Don’t roll up the Minky too tight. Keep it straight but avoid stretching it on the roller bar.
  4. 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!




7 thoughts on “NASA and the Minky Way”

  1. Hi Stacey,
    What an interesting post! Huh, English or Math folks. I guess I’m a Math folk, and I majored in Computer Science and Business Management. I would LOVE to visit the Space Center, and it sounds like you had a fabulous time. Good tips for working with Minky too – I have been avoiding it for the stretchy reasons. I don’t have a long-arm but I still don’t know if I want to tackle it yet on my domestic machine. ~smile~ Roseanne


    1. Thanks for your comments! The space center was a lot of fun. We even got stopped in a traffic “jam” when an alligator crossed the road. 🙂 love Florida! I say, tackle that Minky! I did the quilt binding on my domestic machine, and didn’t have any trouble with it. I used a walking foot. I noticed a bit more drag than usual, but otherwise, no problems. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, this was a nice mix of a little bit of everything. I’d have loved to visit the space center too but it is in Florida after all and not my favorite state. But like you, I can be a bit nerdy even though I prefer words. I love science and will watch the science and National Geographic channels as much as possible. I like the magic of Harry Potter and the science fiction of Star Trek as well. Magic and Miracles, who can tell the difference. 🙂 Though my favorite subject of all time is quantum physics. I didn’t major in anything since I went to the school of hard knocks but I read extensively and suck up every thing I can find. The entire universe is just one giant miracle. It is phenomenal. I used Minky on the back of my grown son’s quilt last Christmas and quilted it on my home sewing machine. It was quite the wrestling match but I won. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be. My son loves the softness. The front was flannel. Your quilt turned out beautiful and will be loved and cherished. Interesting about how we can change our preference for colors.. Your quilting is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comments! I’m glad you liked it. I love National Geographic photography, it just blows my mind. The world is, indeed, a miraculous place. Quantum physics, huh? Impressive. I wish I understood physics. I especially like a good time-travel story! Minky and flannel on a home sewing machine would indeed be a challenge. I’m glad you won! I’ll bet that is the most used quilt in his house because it’s so soft. I’m working on a flannel quilt now, and I am already wishing it was for me. (It’s for my cousin). Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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