Cue The Aww: Astronaut Puts 3-Year-Old Son’s Drawing On A Quilt Piece

Kids’ drawings are the best, as astronaut Karen Nyberg proudly shows in her latest mini-quilt piece. The astronaut — who just spent six months in orbit during Expedition 36/37 — is also a prolific quilter and drew inspiration from her son, three-year-old Jack, in this quilt posted on Pinterest. The drawing shows how quickly Jack changed during her mission, she wrote.

“When I left for space station in May, my son was drawing only lines, circles, and squiggles. When I returned in November, he was drawing people. He told me this picture is ‘Jack playing in the grass on a sunny day.’ ”

We’re guessing Nyberg is having an easier time quilting now that she isn’t working in microgravity anymore. The video below explains the challenges she had doing quilting in orbit and making sure that sharp pins didn’t just float away and cause problems on station.

Nyberg is married to astronaut Doug Hurley (who piloted the final shuttle mission, among other things) and as the Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger points out in November, the parents have lots of experience helping each other out with child care during training and missions.

Fancy A Space-To-Earth Quilting Bee? Here’s Your Chance To Participate

From guitar playing to quilting, it’s clear that the astronauts aboard the International Space Station have excellence in other interests besides their core jobs. NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, shortly finishing up her nearly half-year mission in space as part of Expedition 35/36, is an accomplished crafter. She’s found time to make a dinosaur from spare scraps and several headbands to keep her long hair from flying in her face. And now she wants you to join with her work.

Despite her skill in crafting, however, Nyberg says working in microgravity is quite the challenge. She keeps all her supplies in a ziploc so they don’t go flying in all directions when she’s not using them. A pile felt board keeps everything secured while she is working on a piece.

But measuring and cutting when you can’t lay something down means working takes a long, long time. That’s what makes this single nine-inch-by-nine-inch quilting block below so precious.

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg holds a quilt patch that she made in space during Expedition 36/37 in 2013. Nyberg is inviting quilters to submit star-themed patches of their own for a quilt to display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in 2014. Credit: NASA (YouTube/screenshot)
NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg holds a quilt patch that she made in space during Expedition 36/37 in 2013. Nyberg is inviting quilters to submit star-themed patches of their own for a quilt to display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in 2014. Credit: NASA (YouTube/screenshot)

Nyberg says her work is “far from being a masterpiece”, but is inviting other quilters to share the metaphorical stage with her creation. Quilters anywhere in the world can make star pieces of their own and send it to the International Quilting Festival organizers for display in fall 2014. If all goes well, Nyberg expects to make an appearance to view the creation herself.

Here’s a short summary of the requirements (which you can read officially on this page):
– Have a star theme;
– 9.5 inches (24 centimeters) square;
– One block per person, signed on the front with a permanent marker marking name and location;
– Mail by Aug. 1, 2014 to “Star Block Challenge, Attn: Rhianna Griffin, 7660 Woodway Ste. 550, Houston, TX 77063.”

By the way, the full video of Nyberg explaining her sewing challenges makes you sympathize with how hard microgravity can be. Although the backflip she does at the end likely makes up for at least some of it, right?