This is Alice writing! Rita asked me to post her photo and narrative for her, as Randy was going to be out of town and she was unsure about how to access the photo and the narrative. So I happily agreed, and after first finding only the photo, I posted it. I persisted in my search, though, and now have found her excellent and informative narrative! Sorry, Rita, for the delay is posting this part!
About noon on July 14, 2015, after a nine-year, 3 billion-mile journey, NASA’s 1000-lb., grand-piano-size, $700 million New Horizons probe flew past tiny Pluto at a blistering 31,000 m.p.h. As it went by, within just 6000 miles of the icy world, it furiously snapped pictures and recorded data on the temperature, composition and structure of this tiny dwarf planet. Pluto’s little world has intrigued astronomers since it was first discovered more than 85 years ago. Until Pluto showed up, all the outer planets were known to be gas giants. What was this pip-squeak doing out there all alone?
Because of our space exploration program with fly-by probes and orbiters, we already had marvelous photographs of the inner eight planets. Now we have one of Pluto as well!
As I was musing about what my Circle quilt would be, I settled on the idea of picking the best “glamour” shot that could be found of each of the planets. Originally I planned to put them in order from the sun going from upper left to lower right. However, in printing the photos, I made the scale of the planets too large and they would not fit on an 11 x 14 format. So it was time to get creative. They are still in their correct order clockwise around the quilt, starting with Mercury and ending with little Pluto, but a great deal of artistic license has been used to depict their orbits around the sun. On my little quilt, Pluto looks to be quite close to the sun, when in fact it is the most distant planet.
For a refresher from 8th grade Earth Science, the order of the planets outward from the sun is: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
The background is composed of several different black fabrics sewn on the diagonal. The photos of the planets were borrowed from several different sources and with the magic of Photoshop (Randy’s expertise) were then printed on Printed Treasures fabric in the ink-jet printer. Wonder-Under fusible was applied to the back of the photos from which the planet images were cut out and then arranged on the black background. Silver seed beads and silver thread were used to create the “distant starlight”.