Hi!  I’m Jeannette Kitlan bringing this blog post to you.  It began as a story inspired by an astronaut and a trip to the movies.  It quickly grew into a story about so much more.  Here’s the journey it took.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

Last week, astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, passed away.  I followed some of the news announcements about his death and was struck by his life story.  I’ve included a biographical video clip for you here.  It’s only 3 1/2 minutes long. I hope you take a moment to watch it.

In the same week I saw the movie Hidden Figures.  The true story of three African American woman mathematicians and their contribution as “human computers” to the space race in 1962.  The movie was outstanding on sew many levels.  I recommend it highly.
No.  That’s not a typo in the previous paragraph.  The movie is terrific.  But, as a one who made most of her clothes growing up, I was often distracted by the well-constructed period fashions; the sublime way the plaids matched on the box pleats of a dress worn by Katherine, one of the three main characters.  Or during the climactic scene where she reassures John Glenn that he can risk his life attempting to orbit the earth, I studied the intricate button detail on the shoulders of her bodice.  True confessions of a long-time home sewing fan.  Please go see Hidden Figures.

Astronaut Cernan enjoyed working with kids and his biographical quote “investment in the future” resonated strongly with me.  Followed by Hidden Figures’ story of investment in the brilliant mind of a young girl, I just had to write about these Space Race experiences and their impact on youth.  I’m the author/designer of Row by Row Junior.  It’s Row by Row Experience’s exciting new program for kids age 6-14.  Ask your favorite quilt shop to offer “Junior” this summer so we too can make an investment in the future.  

I knew we had many space exploration inspired Home Sweet Home rows in 2016, so I began seeking them out to share with you.
I researched 60+ area Facebook Pages and found dozens of winning quilts containing space rows. One stood out, mostly because of the Row by Row fan comments from all over the country.  Here’s Stephanie Tarver and her quilt.  She took the prize at Cupcake Quilts in Spring, Texas, on July 15, 2016.
Stephanie and I were able to connect through Facebook and we spoke by phone.  What a great gal she is.  Here’s her story.  It’s filled with inspiration, friendship, love, and joy.  In her own words too.  Enjoy the ride.

My Sewing Room.  See my self-portrait on the wall. 

My husband takes me all around on road trips to collect my rows.  We fly.  I also get friends to send me a kit if it’s too far away.

Here I am with my husband Eddie, married 41 years.  From Louisiana but we’ve lived in Kingwood, TX (Houston area) for the past 27 years.

I retired from Continental Airlines.  21 years.  I was always in the sky and loving it!

I live by NASA Houston Johnson Space Center!
We’ve always taken our children to any space centers and museums when we are vacationing.
My family saw a real Space Shuttle in California.  I have always watched every take off and landing.  Sorry to say I saw the shuttle blowup in Florida and the one over Texas also.  I have always believed we should still be having shuttles or something like it in space now.

My Row By Row 2016 Winning Space Quilt—10 rows.

The back of my quilt being shown at guild.  Road Trip design.  2 gals on the road for Row by Rowing and shopping.  I made them look like me and my friend.

The first row I made was the pattern from Fabrics Etcetera in Webster, TX.  It was so pretty.  This is what made me decide to go with the Space Theme for my quilt.  Two other shops in the Houston area had space themed rows too.

This is how I started putting the quilt together.  I made several rows at once.  I put the back grounds up on my design wall and added to each row to complete them.  The Florida shop’s row is on the bottom right…my grandson thought the black shuttle looked like a squid jumping out of the water so I changed it to white.

Before sashing and final placement.

The quilt was so big I had to lay it out on my sun room floor to sandwich it.

Here I am trying to quilt it.  I quilted it lightly and now it is getting custom quilted by Elvia Ortegon.I used the License Plate print to bind it.

This is my Row By Row Friend Sally Wassermer.  Won this year and last year all with our row quilts.  We both retired from the Airlines.

I am the 1VP at the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild for the last 2 years.  I love quilting!  My mother and grandmother always quilted.

Thank you so much, Stephanie, for sharing your wonderful Row by Row experience with us.

Did all of you enjoy the journey?  Share your comments below.  There is a delay in posting comments so don’t be concerned if your comment does not show up immediately.

Here is the cast of rows in Stephanie’s quilt:

Fabrics Etcetera Webster, Texas 281-338-1904 http://www.fabricsetcetera.com/

Sew E Z Too Spokane, Washington 509-325-6644 https://www.ezknit.com/

Franklin Mill Store Franklin, MA 508-528-3301 http://www.franklinmillstore.com/

Material Girls Quilt Boutique LaPlata, Maryland 301-392-9575 http://www.materialgirlsquilt.com/

Sew Central Merritt Island, Florida 321-338-2959 http://www.sewcentral.net/

Painted Pony ‘n Quilts La Porte, Texas 281-471-5735 http://www.ppnq.com/

Patches and Stitches Huntsville, Alabama 256-533-3886 http://www.patchesandstitches.biz/

Kathy’s Quilt Studio Titusville, Forida 321-529-0117 http://www.kathysquiltstudio.com/

All Brands Houston, Texas 281-333-5322 http://www.allbrands.com/

Crafty Planet Minneapolis, Minnesota 612-788-1180 http://www.craftyplanet.com/