Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Persistence of Pluto

"The Persistence of Pluto," 20" x 23", handmade by Pam Geisel, April 2022

If you're like me, you learned that there are nine planets in our solar system. Some facts about Pluto:

  • It was discovered in February 1930
  • It was the first planet discovered by an American
  • With the exception of Earth, all the planets are named after either a Greek or Roman god, and Pluto is named after the Greek god of the underworld (the cartoon dog was named later)
  • It is one-fifth the diameter of Earth 
  • It is about 3.6 billion miles from the sun and 1 billion miles from Neptune
  • It takes 248 Earth years to complete one revolution around the sun
  • In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union demoted it to a dwarf planet
Even though Pluto is no longer considered a full-fledged planet, it still persists, orbiting around the sun.

After working up the design for this quilt, the first step was to select the fabric. I'd recently organized all of my colored scraps so that made the process easier although I'd need nine colors and technically there are only seven colors in the rainbow, so I added a hot pink for Mars and a teal green for Neptune. I'd originally started with the traditional rainbow order of red for Mercury but at the last minute decided to start with the yellow for Mercury since it was the closest to the sun.

I thought I wanted a deep black for the background and looked at fabrics online but then decided to go with a deep purple, which luckily I had a large piece of purple batik in my stash. I basted this fabric to the batting and backing fabric and pinned the sun in place then started quilted 1/4" lines echoing the orbital paths around the sun.

Then I added the colored squares, diamonds, letters, and sheer fabrics and quilted on top of the already quilted lines, tucking Jupiter behind the letters but putting the other planets next to the letters, with the exception of Pluto, who's "O" is the planet, and Mercury, which didn't have room next to the letters so it's between the "C" and the "U".

When I thought of adding some stars to the background, I'd originally thought I'd use some gold sequin-like stars that I had but when I went to get them, I found these plastic rainbow colored star-shaped buttons. I'm not sure where they came from and can't imagine having a chance to use them again in the future, so I decided to use them for this project.

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