April 7, 2017

Back to the Moon

A few years ago, I started thinking about a photograph I took at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center as the basis for a quilt.

My original thought was to produce a pixel quilt from the photo, but as I played with pixellating the image in a photo editor, it became clear that this was not a good candidate for that type of quilt.  I put the idea aside for a while.

Then when Luke Haynes published a tutorial for one of his applique designs, a light bulb came on and I realized that would be a better approach for using my photo.

I used Photoshop to manipulate the image into a posterized pattern, and had it printed on large-format paper at an office supply shop.

The background is a traditional Storm at Sea design; I drafted my own blocks onto freezer paper and used a "paperless" paper piecing method.

We fought with wind and sun to get photos; this one is almost a reject, but the angle of the lighting does show the quilting well:

To quilt the curved flying geese, I marked the curve first on freezer paper (any large piece of paper would do):

Then I cut the paper along the curve, and positioned the two halves so as to mark the upper and lower boundaries for the flying geese:

I used Gale Garber's method to mark the geese within the curves, and Kathleen Riggins' method of quilting the geese.

The background is quilted with several organic type fills; the quilting on the rocket is inspired by details in the photo.

For the reflective part of the rocket, I used a few metallic fabrics:

The larger applique pieces were basted in place with washable glue; smaller details are either fused in place or created via reverse applique.

I used a couple of NASA licensed fabrics for the back.  The label, printed at Spoonflower, includes the original photo.

I tried to use a few sky- or space-related fabrics for the background; this is one of my favorite blocks:

The binding is a Lizzy House Constellations print which seems particularly appropriate:

The name of the quilt (and the photo), "Back to the Moon," comes from a Kate Campbell song.

I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday. 


  1. Amazing!!! So many wonderful elements. Wow on the quilting, background is incredible, and the rocket and moon are perfect! Great interpretation of the picture.

  2. This is sensational! Your design, color and stitching are all above the top in talent!

  3. Wow!!! I love the low contrast(ish) background and the rocket is just amazing

  4. I must concur....WOW! Amazing detail! Truly spectacular!

  5. Oh boy, do I love this! You did a fabulous job and I hope you win some awards.

  6. perfect quilt, i love it! excellent idea and you carried it out beautifully

  7. Ben! You did a great creative and interpretive design and implementation. Wow!!

  8. A Massive Rocket!!!

    Nice work..

  9. Your quilt is amazing! That rocket is always a welcome sight when flying into HSV, or traveling on I-565.

  10. You are an amazing quilter/artist! Quite the asset to HQH, too!! Nicely done, Ben! :)