Quilting…240 Miles above Earth

Karen Nyberg

Below you’ll find an article from NASA about Astronaut Artist Karen Nyberg and her crafting adventures in space.

Mention the words “NASA Astronaut” and you’ll usually conjure up the image of a brilliant, number-crunching engineer or a super-smart scientist. Yet, rarely are we given the chance to consider the other dimensions to this elite group of explorers or that they may share some common hobbies many of us more Earth-bound citizens enjoy.

Enter astronaut Karen Nyberg, an accomplished woman preparing for her second mission to space this May. Nyberg holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering, which may lead people to believe she is focused solely on technical matters, but as with many, there’s a softer side to this Midwesterner, one that may catch many by surprise.

Astronaut Karen Nyberg looks through a window in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

Nyberg grew up the small town of Vining, Minn., about 80 miles southeast of Fargo, N.D., where she was the fifth of six children. There, she grew up learning a lot of practical skills including sewing.

Karen Nyberg grew up in Minnesota and learned to sew from a young age. She was about eight years old when she made this teddy bear and shirt. Photo credit: NASA/K. Nyberg

“My mom and dad are both very creative people and made a lot for all of us kids – everything from snowmobile suits to prom dresses.” said Nyberg.

“My mom taught me to sew when I was about five or six years old.”

Now as an adult, Karen still enjoys those creative crafts including sewing and quilting. “I love it. I would sew all day every day if I could, I love it that much,” Karen said.

She especially enjoys quilting and appliqué work and used those skills to create a lot of the décor for her son’s nursery before he was born.

A quilt Nyberg created for her niece. Photo credit: NASA/K. Nyberg.

“I haven’t made any clothing items for quite some time but I have sewn drapes and pillows for the house and of course, lots of quilts and other things that I’ve given as gifts.”

Nyberg plans to bring sewing and quilting supplies with her on her six-month-long expedition to space. She’s also packed a sketch book and pencils.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Read another article about Karen Nyberg on Quilts.com here.


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