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Tabitha de Luna
Tabitha de Luna

19 Great Quilts That Keep Geeks Cozy

Tabitha de Luna
Tabitha de Luna

Everyone needs something to keep them warm at night. Geeks might want one or more of these totally nerdtastic quilts.

1. A Super Super Mario Quilt

When it comes to geek quilts, there is no more popular subject than the Mario franchise. And it makes sense—the  incredibly popular games originally came out in 8-bit format, so the characters are perfectly built for quilt squares. This quilt by Moira Fogarty is particularly delightful because it is so massive and detailed—and because it has a removable coin pillow that pops out of the question box.

2. I’d Hit That

With so many other Mario quilts out there, it’s hard to stand out, but the great humor in this creation by gamer and skilled crafter Quiltoni is certainly worth a mention.

3. The Legend of Quilting

Like Mario quilts, there are tons of great Zelda quilts out there. I’ve chosen to only include this fantastic example by Etsy seller McFrogling that features Link, his heart meter, and all kinds of icons from the game around the border.

4. More Like Samus Awesome

Metroid was one of the first games with a powerful female protagonist—and I’m a particularly big fan of this intricate design by Sprite Stitch user lucyinthesky.

5. Best Robotic Friends Forever

There are a lot of Megaman quilts out there. What distinguishes this creation by Sprite Stitch reader Lynn from the rest is the decision to include Megaman’s friendly robotic dog, Rush, in the piece.

6. Suck It In, My Friends

If you ask me, there just aren’t enough great crafts or fan art dedicated to the delightful pink blob known as Kirby. At least Etsy seller bsayasane has the inflatable cutie’s back.

7. Just Keep Jumping

QBert is a perfect inspiration for quilting because that great staircase where the game takes place is so perfectly blocky. Add in your hero and a few villains and you have a lovely quilt, like this one by Lenore Edman, celebrating the wonderfully weird game classic.

8. Great Games Galore

For those with a soft spot for classic Nintendo, it’s hard to find a more fitting tribute to the console than this quilt by Flickr user needleandthread that features some of the system’s most memorable games.

9. Keep the Insect Fighters at Bay

For those old-school gamers who preferred the arcade over the home console, Carolina Patchwork’s Galaga quilt is certain to bring back memories of quarter-eating aliens.

10. Another Alien Invasion

If you always thought Space Invaders was pretty much the exact same thing as Galaga only with less insect-like ships, you’re right. But there are still plenty of people who will argue over which of the two games is better. For those on team Space Invaders, you’ll undoubtedly prefer this great quilt by Flickr user Sloth003.

11. Smash the Pigs!

For fans of more modern games, this Angry Birds quilt by Flickr user Bubbachic is sure to get your index finger twitching as you think of all the ways you could squish those pesky piggies.

12. Cozy Kitty Rivals

Can’t get enough memes in your life? Then perhaps cuddling up with this Nyan and Waffle cat quilt by Craftster user princesspimp81 would help you dream of flying pastry kitties –or at least tasty toaster-friendly snacks.

13. Dreaming of The Doctor

You may not ever be swept off your feet by a mysterious time-traveling alien that’s over 900 years old, but at least you can dream about it while you cuddle up under a comfy TARDIS quilt. Best of all, Instractables user Tabitha de Luna has all the steps you need to make your own (assuming you know the basics of quilting).

14. Spocktacular

You have to wonder if Spock would see the logic in quilting, especially a quilt with his face on it. Either way, Star Trek fans will find Instructables user funthread’s creation, and the directions to remake the quilt, quite fascinating.

15. She Made It So

Those who prefer the Next Generation over the original would be happy to pledge their loyalty to this huge Captain Picard quilt by Craftster user Semel. Oh, and if Patrick Stewart’s face on a giant quilt isn’t good enough for you, you should know that the back features the Star Trek insignia. Semel also created an equally impressive quilt featuring Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory.

16. The Force is Strong With This One

You can’t have a list of anything geeky without at least one Star Wars creation, and this R2D2 baby quilt by Craftster user dellastella is a great way to start any baby off on the path towards geeky contentedness.

17. A World of Wonder

Craftster user danynn’s great Hobbit quilt is both lovely and inspirational, something I think Tolkein himself would have appreciated.

18. Sing the Doom Song

Invader Zim may have been a relatively short-lived Nickelodeon show, but it still inspired legions of loyal fans, most of whom (including myself) are simply obsessed with Zim’s dull-witted sidekick, Gir. Craftster user lyric889 is one such fan and she managed to express her dedication with this great quilt of Gir that took a whopping 1,344 squares to finish. Impressively, this was her first attempt at quilt making.

19. Periodically Comfy

Science geeks who take comfort in the natural laws would feel nothing but cozy under this fantastic periodic table quilt by Craftster user cherry_blossom55.

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Art
5 Things You Might Not Know About Ansel Adams

You probably know Ansel Adams—who was born on February 20, 1902—as the man who helped promote the National Park Service through his magnificent photographs. But there was a lot more to the shutterbug than his iconic, black-and-white vistas. Here are five lesser-known facts about the celebrated photographer.

1. AN EARTHQUAKE LED TO HIS DISTINCTIVE NOSE.

Adams was a four-year-old tot when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck his hometown. Although the boy managed to escape injury during the quake itself, an aftershock threw him face-first into a garden wall, breaking his nose. According to a 1979 interview with TIME, Adams said that doctors told his parents that it would be best to fix the nose when the boy matured. He joked, "But of course I never did mature, so I still have the nose." The nose became Adams' most striking physical feature. His buddy Cedric Wright liked to refer to Adams' honker as his "earthquake nose.

2. HE ALMOST BECAME A PIANIST.

Adams was an energetic, inattentive student, and that trait coupled with a possible case of dyslexia earned him the heave-ho from private schools. It was clear, however, that he was a sharp boy—when motivated.

When Adams was just 12 years old, he taught himself to play the piano and read music, and he quickly showed a great aptitude for it. For nearly a dozen years, Adams focused intensely on his piano training. He was still playful—he would end performances by jumping up and sitting on his piano—but he took his musical education seriously. Adams ultimately devoted over a decade to his study, but he eventually came to the realization that his hands simply weren't big enough for him to become a professional concert pianist. He decided to leave the keys for the camera after meeting photographer Paul Strand, much to his family's dismay.

3. HE HELPED CREATE A NATIONAL PARK.

If you've ever enjoyed Kings Canyon National Park in California, tip your cap to Adams. In the 1930s Adams took a series of photographs that eventually became the book Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail. When Adams sent a copy to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, the cabinet member showed it to Franklin Roosevelt. The photographs so delighted FDR that he wouldn't give the book back to Ickes. Adams sent Ickes a replacement copy, and FDR kept his with him in the White House.

After a few years, Ickes, Adams, and the Sierra Club successfully convinced Roosevelt to make Kings Canyon a national park in 1940. Roosevelt's designation specifically provided that the park be left totally undeveloped and roadless, so the only way FDR himself would ever experience it was through Adams' lenses.

4. HE WELCOMED COMMERCIAL ASSIGNMENTS.

While many of his contemporary fine art photographers shunned commercial assignments as crass or materialistic, Adams went out of his way to find paying gigs. If a company needed a camera for hire, Adams would generally show up, and as a result, he had some unlikely clients. According to The Ansel Adams Gallery, he snapped shots for everyone from IBM to AT&T to women's colleges to a dried fruit company. All of this commercial print work dismayed Adams's mentor Alfred Stieglitz and even worried Adams when he couldn't find time to work on his own projects. It did, however, keep the lights on.

5. HE AND GEORGIA O'KEEFFE WERE FRIENDS.

Adams and legendary painter O'Keeffe were pals and occasional traveling buddies who found common ground despite their very different artistic approaches. They met through their mutual friend/mentor Stieglitz—who eventually became O'Keeffe's husband—and became friends who traveled throughout the Southwest together during the 1930s. O'Keeffe would paint while Adams took photographs.

These journeys together led to some of the artists' best-known work, like Adams' portrait of O'Keeffe and a wrangler named Orville Cox, and while both artists revered nature and the American Southwest, Adams considered O'Keeffe the master when it came to capturing the area. 

“The Southwest is O’Keeffe’s land,” he wrote. “No one else has extracted from it such a style and color, or has revealed the essential forms so beautifully as she has in her paintings.”

The two remained close throughout their lives. Adams would visit O'Keeffe's ranch, and the two wrote to each other until Adams' death in 1984.

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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