Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Quilting the Universe – Big Bang


It started out by me asking teenage son what colours he wanted in his quilt. We were standing in the kitchen at the time and he answered, “Just like this.”

“What, the kitchen?” I queried. “Blue, white and orange?”



Now, having the benefit of knowing my son since birth, blue actually means navy, white actually means grey and well, orange just means orange. So I set about gathering appropriate fabrics. Once I had gathered together about 100 metres of each colour I then researched quilt patterns. This quilt is intended for him to take away to university in September this autumn and I allowed myself 5 months in which to make it. I started in April and almost, almost, got it finished today but nPastelBigBang_m-1ot quite. I just couldn’t resist showing you……..

KaffequiltsagainThe design is from Kaffe Fasset’s Quilt Again book and is the Big Bang pattern. In the book the quilt has 3 stars which I thought was a rating for impressiveness. It actually means level of difficulty which just goes to show that if you don’t know your own limitations then there are no limitations!

Essentially, the pattern is a Lone Star that goes all the way out to the edges of the quilt.

To cut a very long story short – the thinking time and colour matching and fabric setting; the processes and time consuming patchworking. Then the construction and with every little bit and strip added, this quilt top just got bigger and bigger! In total there are 1392 diamonds. Yep, nearly 1400 diamonds and all with bias edges!DSCN5282

But there are easier ways to sew 1300 diamonds together: Straight stitch a clatter of fabric strips together and then cut them at 45 degrees. Then sew the diamond strips together. Press that tiny 1/4″ seam allowance open – good grief! And make sure your diamond points all match up – yeah right!

However, at long last I had a quilt top which is clear proof that time is limited and not endless. I think I should get a PhD for that discovery!


The quilting is really fairly simple and I mostly used my walking foot – North, South, East and West : NE, SE, SW, NW and then octangle rows to join up the points of the compass. That should hold the bias together yet remain soft and flexible enough to snuggle under. There’s a bit of a free motion quilting in the centre to make a spiral too.


While I was quilting the layers together, I did begin to think that this quilt was the same size as the universe. I have henceforth discovered that the universe is not infinite and neither was the quilt because the quilting did eventually come to an end. Do I get another PhD for that one? I sewed the binding on and the only thing that needs to be done now is slip stitch this over the raw edges and give the whole thing a really good pressing.


In the centre is the original Big Bang – hot and firey. Then all the debris, dust, dark matter and the foundations of our universe radiating out. Our solar system is orbiting around about the orange/turquoise band – warm enough for life but not too hot nor too cold. As we get towards the edges of the quilt, and therefore, the edge of the universe, everything begins to cool down and the second Law of thermodynamics is irrefutably proved. Of course the first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed  – which this quilt also proves – all my energy has transferred into this quilt which in turn will keep my son warm and loved when away from home.


For scale – son is 6’6″ (1.98m)

And when he takes official ownership of the quilt it will come with a single condition, namely, to make a Big Bang!


38 thoughts on “Quilting the Universe – Big Bang

  1. I love absolutely everything about this-beautiful work

  2. I’m really quite speechless…..

    It’s really beautiful, Ruth, and it’s making me quite tearful thinking of the universe of hours and the love that went into it. A masterpiece.

  3. Ruth, your quilt is fabulous!

  4. This is absolutely fabulous! I occasionally see quilting that I quite like – but I really love this. Well done! I hope student life away from home doesn’t lead to harm for your sorry his quilt!

  5. Fabulous quilt – but if I had spent so much effort on something heading off to university I think I would make a few more conditions 😉

  6. Wow! You did an awesome job! This is truly an act of love. My son is 6-6 too, and I had to add an extra border on the top edge to keep his feet from hanging out when I made him his quilt.

  7. Well done. You’ve earned your doctorate in quilting and philosophy!

  8. Lovely. A real labor of love.

  9. PHD? You should settle for nothing less than a Nobel Prize for this! It is a-maz-ing!!

  10. This is a fantastic quilt. What a wonderful gift!

  11. *stands on chair and applauds* Wonderful!!

  12. Wow – that is stunning, what a lucky son you have. Do you fancy an adopted daughter who is probably the same age as yourself and not going off to college?!

  13. Creation…what an incredible talent and acclomplishment!

  14. Mom of the Year award for this! The quilt looks fantastic!

  15. Beautiful quilt! More beautiful is that your son leaves for college with a giant mom hug, disguised as a piece of art. I can imagine the comfort this will bring in his months from home. Well done!

  16. Magnificent!! A real treasure, the son and the quilt 😉

  17. This is beautiful. You are very talented!!

  18. Both the idea and the quilt itself are AMAZING

  19. So beautiful. What a wonderful gift for your son… from your heart.

  20. Outstanding! what a lucky guy. I love the Big Bang Theory program, have all seasons taped. Your quilt is just perfect!

  21. No greater love…

  22. I was blown away by this quilt. I love the reddish centre and the way the interesting fabrics flow out in waves. This is a very significant achievement and makes it look very masculine and modern. I love that you have brought all your sewing, design and colour skills together to make sure a magnificent item. Just wonderful. I hope this becomes an heirloom.

  23. Your quilt is a lovely thing to send with your son to college, and the message is universal.

    So much positivity that I’m overwhelmed, brought a tear to my eye.

    Thanks again – you’re lovely.

  25. I’m late to this party but just wanted to say it is stunning!! All I can think of is that you need a trunk send a padlock and key with him too…..

  26. Is there nothing you can’t do Ruth? This is a very striking and very beautiful quilt. I hope your son appreciates your labour of love and looks after it well.

  27. while the quilt is jam-packed with love and a mother’s energy it also contains a warning…”do your best or else this could happen to you…a big bang/explosion!” The colors all work so well together and the lines are mesmerizing… and you still fit in all your AC and other creative projects while piecing this beauty…amazing!

  28. Glorious!

  29. Our sons must be brothers in a former life, as when I asked him what colours he would like in a quilt, he chose orange and green, eek. I have now spent at least a $150 on fabric trying to find a colour scheme that works, finally added in grey to try and tone it down. Really struggling to find enthusiasm for this project. Yours is beautiful so I am going to try again with my UFO.

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  33. I just found this post using google. I plan to make this quilt and have a question for those that did it. Did you piece it using the template provided in the book or did you do it via the strip method? I figured I would use the template and cut them out individually. If you did that could you let me know how it went. It seems like very careful piecing is a must because of the bias edges and wanting points to line up. If you have any tips let me know if you can — thanks, Matthew

    • Hi Matthew, no I did not cut out 1,400 diamonds, there are easier ways to sew 1392 diamonds together: Straight stitch a clatter of fabric strips together and then cut them at 45 degrees. Good luck.

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