Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Block 2 - hip-hip-hooray for all the clarinet players out there...

Block 2 of "Baltimore Rhapsody" is the clarinet block.  ("Baltimore Rhapsody" is my original musical pattern series in the making - to learn the back story, click here).  As a clarinet player, of course this had to be one of the first musical instruments drafted!

The clarinet, a single reed instrument, is one of the four typical kinds of woodwind instruments found in a symphony orchestra. It was invented about 1700.  Besides a symphony, clarinets are used in chamber music, concert bands, jazz ensembles, Dixieland bands, and waking up a napping Grandpa...

Admittedly, the size and shape of a traditional 15-inch block makes the long, skinny instruments more of a design challenge than, say, a tambourine or a stocky drum.  I finally settled on the instrument in the center of a heart wreath, which is appropriate for one of my favorites.

When I make this one again (I'm sure I will make a few of each block...), I will use a batik or similarly high thread count fabric to make all the silver keys of the instrument.  The grey that I used was a little testy as I glued/turned under under all the edges of the little circles or long rods.  I also want to experiment with some grey ultra suede, which has the advantage of being used "raw edge."  Alternately, it will also give me an opportunity to work on my raw edge applique...

After gently soaking the block to remove the glues, there was one tiny piece that I neglected to hand applique all sides down.  Due to the looser weave of the grey fabric, it was hard to wrangle the raw edge by needle turn to stitch it down.  No problem!  I just invented an extra key to cover up the area that looked a little threadbare...can you clarinet aficionados out there see where I fudged?? 

Picking the fabric palette for this project has been fun.  I felt I needed to use sort of bright fabrics for the flowers, fruits, birds, etc. due to the rather limited, muted palette of the instruments (blacks, greys, browns, and golds).  Then, I picked more traditional greens for leaves and vines to tone down the brights.  Hopefully the contrast of tones and values will cause movement in the finished top.

After drafting the heart wreath, I didn't like the empty spaces in the bottom corners, hence the loose blossoms.

It probably makes the gardeners crazy, but I am just making up flowers, right and left (I'm not sure I've ever seen this color blue in an actual blossom before, ha-ha).

The first 16 blocks will contain instruments found in a symphony orchestra.  But don't worry, the rest of the blocks will feature everything from organ pipes to accordions!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. Great piece and the clarinet works perfect in the center of the heart.

  2. I think everything is fantastic. Not to worry....I wouldn't have known about the extra key on the clarinet (I don't play it) it looks very "real" to me.

    The bright flowers and your choice of greens are great. I don't think you will have any problem marketing your patterns. Keep up the wonderful job!


  3. I played the clarinet for nine years! In reflecting I have my parents to thank for encouraging me to take band back in the fourth grade, something they did not have the opportunity to do! Love your block so much and would like to make one!


  4. Another gorgeous block! Your flowers are beautiful!

  5. Oh, my!! I hope you can get someone to 'kit' this one up as well as the patterns. Just love it.

  6. True blue flowers are few in the natural world, but plant lovers are drawn to them instinctively. Nobody is looking for a botanically correct depiction of flowers on this type of quilt!! I love what you are doing and wait eagerly for each new block to be revealed.

  7. Teresa--this is fabulous; my husband is a clarinetist (we met in music school)--can't wait to see the piano block (my instrument)...Julierose

  8. This is gonna be suuuummmm quilt!!! I am anxious to see more, especially a flute block (?). I have a sister in law who plays one semi professionally!!!

    You GO GIRL!!!

  9. Great block, I like your "made up" flowers and buds, classically Baltimore, yet completely your own design. Good job on all that detail applique on the clarinet, I am an ultrasuede lover because I am always trying to find the easier route :)

  10. Tom says to tell you he had a Le Blanc clarinet that had a ring around the "C Hole"---it had an "articulated Bb"--soo, see, you didn't "fudge"--instruments are so individualized. Julierose

  11. What a beautiful block. Your clarinet is wonderful. I also played the clarinet in school, and still have my Le Blanc. I cannot wait to see your finished (and published) quilt. Great job! Congratulations!

  12. You are amazing to have done all the intricate applique. . . What a great block.

  13. what a great custom applique' block - beautiful and the detail is incredible!

  14. Wow, this is going to be gorgeous. I love the colour ideas already.

  15. I played the clarinet and still have my old Fontaine Wood in it's case in my cupboard. This block is incredible. I've never tried applique, is that what you call it? Anyway, after you fuse it to the background, are you hand stitching it or using the machine? Sorry, I'm a fairly new quilter and I would think hand stitching or embroidering would make it beautiful.

  16. OMG!!!! The detail of your clarinet! Fabulous!


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