I am going to FINALLY share what I've been quietly working on for the past few months...even though this is a work in progress, I've been able to secure block copyrights and I've learned how to watermark photos (certainly am glad I married a computer geek...). I'm still a little nervous about sharing it before it is all finished, but I may have a gray beard by the time I finish all the quilts I want to make with these blocks! Also, the whole reason I started blogging was to share what I was working on! It feels weird to be working so much "off line" and have nothing else to share on the blog.
In addition to studying chemistry in college, I studied music. It has always bugged me that there were few quilts, quilt patterns, or block patterns that had anything to do with music. Then, when I find one, often the music notation or instruments depicted are incorrectly/incompletely/poorly drafted. Music notes with the "flags" (stems) drawn incorrectly is one one my big pet peeves!
By definition, a rhapsody is "a composition in free form, particularly popular in the nineteenth century." That's the perfect definition for what I am doing...these blocks are definitely free form and Baltimore album quilts were popular near this time in history.
I have a pile of drafted fifteen inch blocks (about 30 so far) that feature individual instruments combined with the traditional elements of Baltimore album quilts...flowers, fruits, veg, birds, animals, etc....PLUS introducing some non-traditional, more folk art elements (my journey of making and completing "The Civil War Bride" quilt encouraged me to be creative and think outside the box).
For those math-letes out there trying to figure out the dimensions of an album quilt consisting of 30 fifteen inch blocks, not to mention possible sashing and outer borders, you are right...that would be HUGE! It is my hope that by having so many possibilities, one could choose favorite instrument block(s), and then set them (it) with the borders I'm drafting and come up with LOTS of possibilities for finished projects...either a one block wall hanging or quilts set 2 x 2, 2 x 3, 3 x 3, 3 x 4, 4 x 4...or whatever.
So now, I am madly making blocks! The first sixteen that I am making have to do with the instruments of a symphony orchestra plus a couple of general music blocks (clarinet, flute, oboe, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, strings, harp, piano, timpani, G clef, F clef, conductor, notes). Those 16 will be combined with sashing and outer appliqued borders to make a tradition-looking album quilt. Since I love all kinds of music, I've also drafted blocks from instruments used in country, pop, folk, jazz, and church music (guitar, dulcimer, mandolin, banjo, handbells, less known woodwinds, string bass, cello, viola, antique metronome, organ, saxophones, opera singer, various percussion, general music symbols, etc.). Smaller quilts I want to draft would be groupings of blocks...like woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion, instruments used in church (organ, handbells, etc.), and others.
Individual blocks could be worked into wall hangings as a gift for a person who plays a particular instrument.
Being a musician, I know musicians that I have wanted to make gifts for...these blocks are what I have yearned to find for my own use for a long time. I figured that if I was going to the trouble of drafting them for my own use, maybe other music lovers would appreciate them as well. In addition to the fruity, flowery 15-inch blocks, I am drafting just instruments, alone, larger, all different sized blocks (some guys...and gals...don't want all those fruits and flowers).
In order to make instruments fit in 15 inch blocks, some are tiny, tiny! Some instruments come in inconvenient sizes and shapes! The larger sized blocks will be easier for both hand and machine applique. I will make multiple settings that will incorporate pieced filler blocks and strips. Then, I also have some drafts of music "scene" projects planned. There is no end to where I want to go with all this!
Eventually, when I have good pictures of finished blocks, I want to self-publish them as full-sized pattern sheets, either individually or in small sets, along with different-sized appliqued border options. That way people can pick and choose the one or few blocks they are interested in making. (My nerdy husband is making me a web site to make this possible.)
Block one is a wreath-style invention made from "G clef" symbols, cone flowers and hyacinths. I made it using the glue stick (turned-under edge) method of hand applique. It can be made using any method of applique. The G-clef is also known as the treble clef (tiny piano students know it as the "right hand" clef).
I'm very excited about this project and will show block 2 very soon.
In stitches (and finally out of the quilting closet),