Astronomy quilt finish

I’m so excited to show you my latest science quilt finish, “Main Sequence”!

Main Sequence, an astronomical quilt based on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram | Flying Parrot Quilts

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

This is my quilty version of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and represents the main sequence of stars shown. Basically, this diagram shows the relationship between the brightness, the temperature, and the color of stars. (You usually see this diagram backwards, for reasons of convention. The quilt looks like that if you flip it on its side:


…so I’m not really sure which way I should call up, but for purposes of explaining it I’m sticking with the way that makes more sense!)

Just like something white-hot is hotter than something red-hot, as the temperature of stars increases the color changes from magenta to blue. The hotter stars are also brighter. For example, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is a bluish star. So in the image below, temperature increases as you move right and brightness increases as you move upwards.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

This quilt is made from the blocks I received as part of Stash Bee. I asked for blocks in all the potential colors of stars, and I got a really nice mix. Because everyone used a slightly different navy for the background of the stars, I decided to continue that in the negative space and used a whole bunch of different dark blue solids, with a few batiks and blenders thrown in, and then I quilted each hexagon with a different pattern.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

I sewed a pieced backing using two of the reject blocks I made when trying to figure out exactly which sort of star to ask for in the bee, and I included a label showing who made which block.

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Do you see that backing print?  Backings usually end up being an afterthought for me, but not this one. It’s from the Rocket Age collection by October Afternoon, and I have never loved a backing print for a quilt the way I love this one, because it is completely, utterly, sublimely perfect for the theme of this quilt:

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

You guys, it has equations. And diagrams of orbital mechanics. I am such a nerd.

I really love the way this quilt turned out and I can’t wait to curl up with it on the couch. I’ll leave you with a few more astronomically inspired shots:

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

"Main Sequence" by Sylvia Schaefer

Finished size ~56″ x 74″.

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12 Responses to Astronomy quilt finish

  1. Joan says:

    Love this quilt! The thought that you put into it really comes through.

  2. Laurel Rudolph says:

    Wonderful! I’m in love with the backing too.

    Nice to have a scientific explanation about stars.

  3. Karin says:

    Beautiful quilt! Congratulations! :)))))

  4. Farol NeSmith says:

    I am a fan for sure!! You encompass the intellectual, scientific and visual!! I can’t believe I get to sit beside you sometimes!!! Very cool !!!

  5. Donna says:

    Such a lovely quilt Sylvia. I like the explanation behind it too. 🙂

  6. Ben says:

    What a wonderful quilt! It looks great, and I like the science behind it. That background fabric is perfect.

  7. Nupur says:

    For once in my life I am speechless. Bravo, Sylvia.

  8. Joan says:

    Quilts got legs!

    (I couldn’t resist.)

  9. Carla says:

    Ooh! I can see why this is one of your favourites. I just popped over from the Stash Bee page to check it out. What a great job everyone did on your bee block!

  10. Mara Henderson says:

    I am so glad I found your quilt. I am going to “try” to recreate it for my son. He is leaving for college and I have been looking for just the right idea. This is it! He will be studying Astrophysics. Is there any part of the pattern you could share with me. I have only created a few quilts and any help you could give me would be so appreciated.

  11. CitricSugar says:

    Sorry it took me so long to comment! This turned out so beautifully. You id a wonderful job and such a cool inspiration idea. Thanks!

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