Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Trio of the Sun, the Galaxy and a Heart


A few years ago I claimed to have quilted the universe, well, this week I quilted sunshine, our own galaxy and a little bonus.

DSCN5317A few months back I asked my SIL if she’d like a quilt; at the time it was between seasons, I was lacking inspiration and I had enough clothes to get me through spring/early summer but still had the need to sew and create. K said yes and provided a few images for inspiration and suggestions for colours and off I went down the rabbithole of quilts.

This is from Reccamea designs and highlights the contrast between colour and grey.


Enter a caption

I have rarely followed a quilt pattern: I look at patterns and get ideas, then I buy a tonne of cotton, cut it up and sew it up again. However much fabric I purchase – that’s the size of the finished quilt. I like the freedom of this kind of sewing – innovation combined with discipline. To make a double bed or king sized quilt which will be about 4 metres square you need to quadruple the metres purchased, so buy enough fabric for about 6 sq metres to allow for cutting and seams (and mistakes). And then you’ll have some fabric left over to add to your stash to be used for yet another quilting project. You can’t ever do one quilt because there’s always fabric leftover to start another – cunning plan…..

I found this design and was immediately struck by its simplicity and striking visual impact. This was my starting point…. From Esch House Designs, the pattern is available for purchase.

The colour palette suggested by K was grey with a touch of colour. What I came up with is “Sunshine on a rainy day” – anyone remember the 1980’s song by Zoe? The lyrics are perfect and the melody is an earworm.



Pre-pressing, quilting and binding. Merely a check for finished size.

The whole time that I was sewing this I was also singing – thank goodness it has now been completed and delivered. I’ll now have to find another song to sing…..


Blocked stripes of monochrome with one third of Kaffe Fassett vibrant orange/pink. The greys represent a cloudy sky and the colour represents the sun peeking out – also possibly a sunset/sunrise.


The back of the quilt is yellow in a wood-effect design. The quilting is a loose wiggly line across the joins and is more representation of clouds.



And then I thought….the only person in this little family who doesn’t have a quilt is Lucas, my young nephew. That would just be mean if he didn’t get anything. So I went ahead and made a single bed quilt that hopefully is appropriate for a 10 year old boy.


He got the galaxy with all the planets and our single star in roughly the right order but with a disclaimer in the title of “Not To Scale”.


Some planets are appliqued and others are half-circle sewn. Jupiter has an appliqued storm and Saturn has its rings. The earth has its polar caps, the moon including the dark side.


The sun is a quarter Dresden plate and determines the top of the quilt. Poor little Pluto had to be added onto the end and made the quilt very long and no doubt will hang over the edge of any bed. But in any case, it’s a cold, icy planet and so it’s a suitable position.


The back side is representative of all the microwaves in the universe with a zig-zag navy and white fabric. You can see the relatively loose machine quilting that sort of mirrored the planets’ position.


And then I thought, but now everyone in this little family will be receiving something, except Leigh, my niece. She already has a quilt but it’s really not fair to leave someone out. So, she got a cushion with a big pink heart.

The whole family now has at least one handmade, unique item that I hope they will enjoy and value for many years to come.

I received some lovely Thank You letters the next day….


and yes….. those of you from an older generation may question the value of learning phonetic spelling…..






33 thoughts on “Trio of the Sun, the Galaxy and a Heart

  1. Awesome quilts!!! Love the thank you notes. Precious.

  2. These quilts are brilliant! I don’t know about a 10 year old boy loving a solar system quilt, but I think it’s amazing. I’d have been past myself if someone gave me a quilt like that at that age!! It’s such a great idea, and I love the thank you notes.

  3. All lovely designs! I don’t know how you found the time. So nice that you got personalized thank you cards back too!

  4. Your quilts are fabulous! I really like the grey with Kaffe print. What a great design!

  5. Oh my – your quilting has gone way out into the galaxy and beyond. All are so beautiful and creative. Good on you, Rooth…

  6. Wow, that’s some seriously great quilting! Love them all, and the thank-you notes!

  7. Oh my word! The thinking required to execute such a grand assembly of items would have taken me months! The designs are beautiful and I can guarantee my 10 year old would be over the moon (pardon the bad pun) to receive such a quilt. I love the interpretation of “Sunshine On A Rainy Day”. All brilliant to this nonquilter!

    • To be honest Yvonne, I still think of myself as a ‘non-quilter’ – I’m more a personal wardrobe maker in reality.
      I only do quilting to ease my conscience 😉

  8. So if I just mentioned to you that I liked the quilt Sunshine on a Cloudy Day, you make one for me? Boy would I be pleased. Loved the solar system quilt also, very inventive of you.

    • Maybe Connie, maybe – it would be a pleasure….except the purchase of raw materials added to the cost of man-hours really makes these quilts prohibitively expensive.
      Thanks so much for the ‘almost’ commission – I value your opinion.

  9. Delightful quilts, one and all! Love your imagination and your color combinations. A very lucky little family, indeed.

  10. Lovely quilts, but I especially love the thank you notes! 😉

    • Almost better than the quilts Tia, although I can just about see their mother standing over them and instructing what they do….
      Thank you so much.

  11. So that’s what you do in a quiet month! Amazing!!

    • Just attempting to complete some outstanding projects before the ‘marking’ season begins Marijuana.
      So good to hear from you – trust all is well and you are still sewing in amongst the running and full-time employment……

  12. Ruth – love the quilts & coshin ! lol – beautiful work – I’ve put my name down for a beginner’s quilt class weekend in Donegal in August. I’m excited ! Stephanie

  13. I love them all, the concept and end result. I’ve never done a quilt although I am prepare for one, there’s some cotton waiting patiently in the stash; I’m sure my 6yo would love a galaxy one.

    • I have so many clothes Geo that there’s not enough days in the week, that’s why I started quilting. I ‘m enjoying both types of sewing at the moment. Thank you

  14. Love the way you quilt, not having to follow rigid patterns, it makes a great alternative to dressmaking and following patterns. That gives me some pause fir thought, much more creative. Love the results. X

  15. Ruth, that quilt is absolutely amazing!! Your others are truly beautiful, but I think this latest tops the lot! Absolutely Fabulous, excuse the use of that well worn but very sincerely meant phrase! I agree about phonetic spelling and also the use by some Schools of an Italic type of writing. I’m darned if I remember its name, but to most children it was a heartbreak and is really only suited to children with a creative bent. My 4 boys certainly found it a chore, particularly after learning their letters in a normal manner and a few years later having to alter it to a totally different style as the Headmaster preferred it despite lots of parents protesting….where do you buy fabric in Co Down/Belfast area? I remember so well being able to go into the City Centre and having a choice within a stones throw of each other……

    • Thank you Janet. Cursive writing or italic – is that what you mean?
      Most of my fabric is bought online and mainly from UK/EU sites – saves a pack on tax.
      There’s nought in Belfast city centre now – Spinning Wheel and another. Dunnes and Primark are cheaper!!

  16. You put me to shame Ruth – I’m still clattering away at The Managements quilt. I think he may be 70 before it’s finished …… unless?

    • Back at you Kim – how could I possibly put you to shame? You knit, sew, swim, run and do stuff…..
      BTW, My DH turns 70 in June! Yes, he’s way older than me but he makes me look good… -LOL

  17. Lordie, Ruth, I would love to escape my world of ivory and hang out in your sewing room to witness real creativity and drama with your color sense!!! How you find time to create and finish such masterpieces is beyond me! I love the quilting techniques too and seeing them on the backs is testament to your planning and thinking ahead. Some quilters get all caught up on making perfect repetitive lines and motifs like they were entering a competition when interpreting the actual theme of the quilt can bring forth more interesting results…wavy lines and clouds…brilliant!

Let's talk.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s