To Infinity and Beyond!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Both of my older boys (ages 4 and 6) have been asking to make quilts for quite awhile. I decided I would start with the oldest, and see how it went. Back in March, I submitted Jeremiah's name to Quilt Expo as a potential entry for their kids' quilt challenge division. They only accept the first 50 entries, and Jeremiah was chosen! The quilts had to be sent to them by August 16th. Now we had a deadline, so it had to happen!

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

We began the process in early July. We sat down to brainstorm possible subjects for the quilt. I wrote, and he and his younger brother both shouted out as many ideas as they possibly could think of. "Grasshoppers, dinosaurs, trains, Paw Patrol, space, soccer..." We ended the session by saying we would think about it for a couple days. So then two days later, I took out the list, read each thing, and began to cross off the ones that they weren't too thrilled about. We narrowed it down to a few and talked through how we might make each of them, and ultimately, Jeremiah chose space. (Micah chose T-Rex right from the beginning and never changed his mind. So it seems he and I will be making a T-Rex quilt soon!)

Designing an outer space quilt
Outer space quilt by six year old boy

A couple days later, we sat down and discussed lots of possible "space quilt" ideas. Our solar system or the universe? Planets or rockets or something else? One planet or all the planets? Sun in the middle or off-centered? Cartoonish or realistic? Square or rectangle (or circle!) quilt? Once he had decided all of these things, he drew up his design.

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

The next day, he headed to the local library to check out some space books so he would know what the planets looked like. Using the books as a reference, we dug through my fabric stash hunting for the perfect fabrics for each planet. I was truly surprised that he found fabric for every planet - and the background!

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

A few days later (I purposely spaced it out so he wouldn't get burnt out and it would keep him looking forward to the next thing) we headed to our local Jo-Ann's store to pick out backing fabric and asteroids. He chose a flannel fabric for the back, and a handful of gray and black beads.

Outer space quilt by six year old boyAsteroids for outer space quilt

We lowered the ironing board height, and he pressed Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 to the back of all the planet fabrics.

Outer space quilt by six year old boyOuter space quilt by six year old boy

With a little help from mom, he used the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter and scissors to cut out the sun and all the planets, then he pressed them into place.

Outer space quilt by six year old boy
Outer space quilt by six year old boy

Next, we taped the backing to the floor, laid Hobbs wool batting on top, and pin basted the layers together.

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

He chose every thread color for every planet - even though that was a lot of thread changes! (They are all Aurifil 50wt.)

Sun - Canary #2120
Mercury and the moon - Stainless Steel #2620
Venus - Orange #2235
Earth - Light Wedgewood #2725
Mars and the red spot - Dark Carmine Red #2460
Jupiter - Salmon #2225
Saturn - Light Sand #2000
Uranus - Light Jade #1148
Neptune - Medium Blue #2735
Pluto and ring of Uranus - Dove Grey #2600
Rings of Saturn - Light Sand #2000, Linen #2325, Asphalt #5013

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

And he sewed on every planet! (These are all raw-edge applique with coordinating thread and straight stitched about 1/8" inside the raw edge. And they are sewn through all the layers, so it's quilted at the same time as they are appliqued on.)

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

He used three colors of thread to create the rings of Saturn.

Outer space quilt by six year old boy

I tried with all my persuasive powers to convince him to do straight line quilting with the walking foot on my Juki for quilting the outer space part. But, I lost. He was adamant that he needed to quilt loops and designs. I knew the only way he would be successful at that was to put it on the longarm.

Longarm quilting by six year old boy

So even though the planets were already sewn on through all the layers, I was able to load the quilt onto the longarm and remove the basting pins. That was a first!

Longarm quilting by a kid

I have a platform that painter's and drywall installers use that I got when my 4-H girls were quilting. My longarm can not be adjusted for height, so this is a great way to help kids be tall enough to quilt. It was the perfect height for Jeremiah to stand on!

Six year old boy longarm quilting

He quilted all of the space area with Aurifil 40wt #2730 Delft Blue. The 40wt is just a tad stronger than the 50wt, and I have found it works fantastic for longarming - and especially when kids are doing it!

Six year old kid longarm quilting

He was beaming once he finished! He was so proud of his work! (As was I! He never sewed over a planet or anything! I was really impressed!)

Solar system quilt

After trimming off the excess backing and batting, he machine sewed on the binding.

Machine sewing binding

This step also included sewing in a hanging sleeve and a label.

Machine sewing binding

He used fabric markers to draw a rocket ship on the label.

Making a quilt label with fabric markers

Then he used a Pigma Micron pen #01 to write the quilt title, his name, and his age.

Hand drawn quilt label

Next was what turned out to be his favorite part - adding the asteroids!

Hand sewing on asteroids

He used a single strand of Aurifil 12wt #2784 Dark Navy. He added 56 asteroids to make the asteroid belt!

Asteroids on outer space quilt

The final addition was a comet.

Painting a comet on a Solar system quilt

This was created with white acrylic paint. He painted a small circle, then swiped the brush back to create the comet's tail. It worked great!

Painted comet on Solar system quilt

His excitement for the process never waned.

Solar system quilt by six year old boy

He was even eager to take quilt photos!

A boy and his quilt

He even wore a space shirt for the occasion!

Solar system quilt with asteroid belt
Solar system quilt with asteroids
Solar system quilt
Solar system quilt
Jeremiah and his quilt

He named the quilt "To Infinity and Beyond."

Hand drawn quilt label

We mailed the quilt to Quilt Expo today so they can get it by Friday's deadline!

Making an outer space quilt

He has already asked if we can take a vacation to Wisconsin to see it at the show. We're not planning on it, but I'm sure hoping someone that does go will send us some pictures of it!

Outer space quilt made by a six year old boy

Since Jeremiah is also in 4-H, he's already planning on entering it in our county fair next summer too! (Plus it has counted towards our homeschool hours too! I love "two-fer" projects!)

  Solar system quilt made by a six year old

I am so proud of how he stuck with the project from beginning to end! It has also been a fantastic memory-making experience for both of us. To infinity and beyond, Jeremiah!

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  1. That is such a cool quilt! I love that he was able to do nearly everything himself and that he was so excited for the project. I can only imagine how much work it was to guide him though all of the steps instead of just having him do the easy ones. You're such a great mom!

  2. Wow! That's such a cool story. When one of my grandson's was about three or four, he started drawing pictures of 'aliens'from space. He didn't know it at the time, but I kept the drawings and, when he was about 10, I made him an outer space quilt - though nowhere near as cool as Jeremiah's. I had them floating in space, minus planets but I did add crystals for stars and used glow in the dark thread, and added an astronaut that I found and traced onto fabric. He's 21 now and still loves that quilt... he lost it in a move a couple years ago and he & his mom retraced his route and drove up and down the roads for a couple of hours before he spotted it on the side of the road - totally undamaged.

    1. What a story!! Glow in the dark thread definitely would have been really cool!

  3. What a great story and what focus Jeremiah had through this project. It really is a memory that will last forever and this quilt is phenomenal record of that time. I love the pieces my son did. What a great Mom you are!

  4. Love his quilt!!! Jeremiah did a fantastic job on designing, researching and creating his quilt. The asteroid belt and comet are the icing on the cake!!! Such imagination in your young man is fantastic to see!!

  5. I love his beaming grin as he's working on the quilt from start to finish. What fun memories and what amazing things he's learned! I'm sure he's watched your enthusiasm for quilting, so it's no surprise that his never waned. Now I wish I could buzz over to the Wisconsin show and see his quilt! Way to go, Jeremiah!

  6. Nice job Jeremiah, it turned out perfect. I love how the planets show up on the front and the flannel is perfect for the backing.

  7. Perfectly awesome. Way to go Jeremiah.

  8. Such a happy quilter and quilt. This is one talented young man. I love all the elements of this quilt. He had one very patient teacher who kept him interested and certainly game the time to be successful. Wish he could "beam" over to Wisconsin for the show.

  9. Jeremiah, That is awesome! What wonderful memories. I hope you keep up building your skills as a quilter. I can’t get anyone in our family to take up sewing. Now we’re getting great grandkids, so maybe there is hope yet.

  10. A great job. He has lots of artistic talent too. Reading this post made me smile. The asteroids were inspired.

  11. I am truly amazed at his work. I seriously think he stands a huge chance of winning a ribbon at Quilt Expo.
    I also love how you did everything possible to enable him to do it himself and succeed.
    Go Jeremiah, Go!

  12. What a talented little boy ! Great Job Jeremiah. I will be at the quilt expo and will look for your quilt!

  13. You are a wonderful homeschooling mom! Jeremiah has great eye-hand coordination, too, to be able to do everything so nicely, and great patience. He learned a lot about the solar system, about the steps of planning a project, about following through on his ideas, and no doubt so much more. I'm very impressed with his project, and the beads of the asteroids may be my favorite part, too ... though that comet is a big plus, as well. Congratulations on a job well done!

  14. Congratulations, Jeremiah. It's an amazing quilt. Very creative with adding the asteroids. Good luck at the quilt show.

  15. I love how you documented the whole thing with words and pictures, and spaced out the project to help keep him interested. A fantastic job, both of you! So proud! You have created a quilter, and maybe even two, with younger brother wanting to make his own!

  16. What a great story! Loved all the photos and the fact that he put so much thought into each step of the process. He looks thrilled! :-)

  17. Fantastic, Jeremiah! I love the addition of the asteroids! Good luck at the quilt show!

  18. What an adorable story, young quilter, and space quilt! I commend you for teaching Jeremiah to quilt. Good luck to him! I run a Project Linus chapter and I have noticed young people these days unfortunately do not have the skills or attention span to sew, quilt, knit or crochet. So what I get from them are fleece blankets, which aren't as special as quilts or afghans. I wish young people would take the time to learn a fiber art or skill. However, it seems they have no patience these days to make something that takes more than an hour. Other than what you are doing in your own family, what can we adults do to encourage young people to learn a creative skill? BTW, my own mother was a home economics teacher (I don't think the schools have that type of teacher around any more).

  19. Congratulations! Love how Jeremiah's quilt fleshed out. Great idea!

  20. Love, love, love this story and Jeremiah! Good luck with the competition.

  21. Great story, great post, great memories, great quilt, great mom, and great kid!

  22. Fabulous work, Jeremiah! You thought of every detail bring the solar system to life.

  23. I love everything about this post, he did such an amazing job!!

  24. Wow, this is so amazing! Great work, Jeremiah, from Elliot who is 5 years old and lives in North Carolina! Elliot and his mom read about your quit together.

    I am so impressed with this, and the asteroids are totally my favorite part! Though I do worry that it makes the quilt not snuggly. Such a fantastic project for you both!


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