Monday, October 15, 2012

Apple Stars

Up a long winding rode, on a mountain hillside in North Carolina, there is an orchard, a Skytop Orchard.  If we're lucky, we make our way there late September or early October to celebrate the arrival of autumn. 

Southern road trip : day 10
by Letterform via Flickr

Have you been apple picking?  Or blueberry picking?  Strawberries?  We pretty much pick whatever we can.  Our picking traditions mark the turn of the seasons.  It's not about getting the food into our kitchen so much as feeling connected to each other and to nature and to what's real.

Skytop Apple Orchard
by mbsurf via Flickr

So, we follow the signs to the apples of our choosing.

apple picking at Skytop Orchard

And allow the children to climb a few trees, on the sturdier limbs. 
Oh-so-careful not to break things
Did you know, Daddy is a tree doctor?

a handful

We pass down apples to waiting hands.
And fill the buckets to the brim.  
Until we cannot carry anymore.

our apples from Skytop Orchard

Repeat, repeat every year if we can.  
Wonder if our children's children will come here too?  
Grateful to think the apples will be here for them...
Especially if we keep picking.

October apples

When I was invited to join the Travelin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop, where we let a place we've visited inspire the color choices for an English paper pieced project, this is the picture that settled in my mind.  If I could somehow bottle the way the late autumn light shines so beautifully among the yellow and greens and reds of those apples.  Oh!  And the apples on the ground.  And the pretty painted buckets!

English paper piecing bloghop!

Well, I didn't. Bottle it I mean.  These English paper pieced stars are pretty and were so very fun to make, but they don't hold a candle to the apple orchard.  Just like any shiny moment captured on film, nothing could be so sweet ever again, quite in the same way.

a Starbright quilt

My apple stars join the other I made early October for a charity quilting bee quilt with the Love circle.  If you fancy making these large stars, use my Google printable to print out the diamond paper pieces for your project.  Each block will require 12 diamonds, 6 for the star and 6 for the surround.  The blocks will finish as 10 3/8" hexagons, which I plan to machine piece together.

If you're new to  English paper piecin, check out my intro video tutorial for the very basics.  This patchwork skill is all done by hand, which makes it great for taking to the couch on a cool autumn night or on a road trip, as the case may be!

This post is part of the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop.  From 1st October - 30th November we are hopping all over the world EPP-ing in some fantastic locations.  Check out the full list here and be sure to check out the other participants. 

On 30th November anyone who makes some EPP during the hop can link up for a chance to win some fabulous prizes!  Sponsored by Paperpieces.comFabricworm, Pink Castle Fabrics , Marmalade Fabrics, the Fat Quarter ShopWantItNeedItQuilt, and Aurifil.  Full details for competition entry can be found here.

Tomorrow the blog hop stops at Let's Eat Grandpa!


  1. so lovely - the colours are beautiful, even if the orchard can't be beaten

  2. We go to skytop every year too! And have gone since I was a little girl. Such a fun family tradition and I love how it inspired your blocks.

  3. Those apples look delicious (and so do the quilt blocks!). Do you can applesauce with all those apples?

  4. That is a great place to visit and have been there too!

  5. Apple picking sounds amazing and your pics are gorgeous, Rachel! I don't think we have apple picking near me (Houston, TX area), but we've done blueberry picking. So much fun!

  6. Very nice Rachel! And I love the stripes, all aligned. A day at an orchard sounds great - I guess you'll be stewing/canning/jamming for a while then?

    1. Thanks, Kristy. Yes, I had to cut the stripes like that. They make the stars =). We usually dehydrate the apples as slices for snacking. That and freeze pie fillings.

  7. Such a fun thing to do! I would love to go someday!
    Some great blocks too =D

  8. Those apples looks yummy! Great photos and love those apple star blocks!

  9. Yum! apple picking is so much fun and yes, we have picked blueberries! Lots of them as we live on a blueberry farm!

  10. Beautiful! Alas I had to leave my needle-work behind with my carpel tunnel - but I can admire!!

  11. Lovely... Wish I could pick apples. We canned pickles this year!

    1. Mmm. pickles. So cool! The other day Liam said that pickles are his favorite vegetable, LOL.

  12. Lovely! There is nothing better than a freshly picked apple.

  13. Oh, beautiful! I grew up near a beautiful orchard in Pennsylvania that we'd go to for apple picking each year, and the kids have fond memories of doing the same before we moved to Ireland. Thanks for the EPP templates!

  14. There's a place in Oregon called the Fruit Loop where you can pick just about anything from apples to berries ~ also Sauvie Island. There's a lavender farm too.
    Looks like you all had a lovely day!
    Love your Apple Stars ~ I think a few are in my future!

  15. Oh! My parents had a jonagold tree. I forgot about that variety. Delicious.

  16. Fun! Our apple growers had a devastating year (early thaw followed by spring freezes), and had very limited picking dates. Very sad. We did get some apple cider donuts, though.

  17. I had 1 apple off 3 trees this year! Lover your photo and block.

  18. I love apple picking this time of year. I have several bags of granny smiths that need to get made into apple sauce. :) I might have to try these stars too. I think an entire quilt of them would be spectacular!

  19. Beautiful photos! It looks like a magical time :-) Your EPP is lovely!

  20. Lovely photos. I love the apple star blocks, beautiful.


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