Our library

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quilting in space - and other things....

This is Karen Nyberg, an astronaut who is also a quilter, or a quilter who is also an astronaut, I should say. She is showing off a quilted star block she made on the international space station, under difficult circumstances.
That was one of the topics discussed on Wednesday night. There were eight of us, a good turnout, and everybody beavering away at some project. Heads down, tails up, and anything and everything to chat about.
So when this topic about quilting in space came up, it kind of went into a somewhat different direction!
Things in space tend to drift around aimlessly if not secured (a little like husbands), and Karen found nifty ways to secure things like needles, a ruler, scissors, and so on, mostly using a magnetic pad to attach these to. It wouldn't do to have needles and scissors floating about the space station! Thread is quite tricky, too, and try threading a needle in zero gravity! You could get the effect by drinking a few glasses of good scotch and then trying it! So that got us thinking about drinking, and how that works in space. Does one suck, or squirt, or...you get the drift! er....  So we explored the different options for that, and how would you eat? You can't just hold a sandwich  - the beetroot would fly off, and the salad leaves would obscure the view  from the window, and you might miss something like an asteroid! And then, of course, the next thought wanders to ...... yep, elimination! How do you pee in space? This provided some imaginative discussion, with lots of anatomy, physics, and hydraulics thrown in. Oh yes, our discussions are very scientific. So we thought there might be a negative-pressure thingy for blokes, or maybe a catheter-like thingy (very scientific descriptions, I know). Something like a hospital bottle - here's one I prepared earlier - it's a Chinese one from 251BE. Too much information?  Never mind, then we got onto what ladies would need. And then....   as you can see, we're a group that's very comfortable with each other, discussing such important life issues. Other topics in recent quilting sessions were the difficulties of trying on ladies swimsuits (haven't laughed so much in ages!), and trying on some astonishing undergarments which would go no further than one's knees. I'm looking forward to next week's edifying conversations. We are here to learn from each other!