Are You Ready? Solar Eclipse 2017!!

If you live in the U.S., you’re probably aware that we’re having a big solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. I’m pretty excited about this! I used to work as a Space Shuttle engineer, and come from a family full of scientists, so this is right up my alley.

It recently occurred to me that I should commemorate this event in some special way. An idea for an easy graphic came to mind, and I’m ready to roll.

This is such a simple design, you could easily make one tailored to your location using any of a variety of techniques. First, figure out what percentage of eclipse there will be in your area. You can type your zip code into this website and it will tell you that percentage. It also provides an animation of what the eclipse will look like as it progresses during about a three hour window.

Now you know both the percentage of the sun that will be obscured, and have a basic idea from watching the animation what the sun and moon will look like relative to each other at the peak.

Believe it or not, the sun and the moon appear to be the same size when viewed from the Earth. How convenient! This means our main design is just a square and two circles of equal size. The design could easily be transferred to fabric in a variety of ways:

  • Use freezer paper stencils to paint the main design on a quilt block or T-shirt. You’ll need a white T-shirt or square of fabric, freezer paper, and blue, white, and black fabric paint. I’ve included step-by-step illustrations and directions for creating a freezer paper stencil to paint your own solar eclipse graphic in this pdf file:Solar eclipse freezer paper stenciling
  • A simple drawing program could be used to layer the two circles on a square and create the lettering
  • How about appliqué? Try using white tulle to represent the corona.
  • I’m not an expert at digitizing machine embroidery, but this design looks straightforward enough that I bet it would be pretty simple to create

On the left hand side of this design I included the latitude and longitude of where I live (in the design I printed I took it out to 6 digits). If you want to include your latitude and longitude just go to this website (Get Lat and Long) and type in your address. Since I wanted a corona around my sun I used the “outer glow” effect on the “sun” when I designed my image in Photoshop.

If you’re including lettering I’d recommend typing it on the computer in any word processing program, then printing it directly on fabric, or using iron on transfer paper. Another option would be to print out the words on typing paper, and if your fabric is lightweight you could use a lightbox to see the printout through your fabric and permanent fabric markers to trace the type.

Quilters have been commemorating events of historical significance for many a year, and an eclipse would be a great design to add to a memory quilt.

At this point I’m seriously considering making a cake with the same design and throwing a little solar eclipse watching party. But remember, save your eyesight! Only look at the sun if you’re wearing special glasses designed for viewing an eclipse.




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