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!