Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Baltimore Rhapsody" - the final block tweaking...

Before tweaking...

More tweaking...I usually don't mind detail work, but even I am ready to MOVE ON and GET ON WITH THINGS.  Before trimming the blocks down, the last outline stitching to highlight all the tedious hand-applique was needed.

Kerry of SimpleBirdApplique was asking about why I do this.  Simply stated, some applique motifs didn't pass the "squint test."  If I put the finished block on my design wall, stand back, squint my eyes, and lose part of the design, that is a signal to me that something must be done.
After tweaking...

After tweaking...

After tweaking...
All of the woodwind blocks have light-colored keys.  When they spill over onto the light background, they simply don't "speak," they melt into the background.  This is especially true with the flute where the keys are basically the same color as the instrument.
Before tweaking...
I even carefully used a different, darker fabric for the body of the flute to emphasize the keys.  Then when I finished, pinned the block to the design wall, stood back and squinted...nothing.  There still was not enough contrast...bummer.
Before tweaking...

After tweaking...
I needed definition, not a cartoon finish, so I used a single strand of DMC embroidery floss in a gray that was darker than the flute.  I do a simple outline stitch with one strand (where the stitches don't overlap, but touch end-to-end.  Using black would have maybe looked comical.
After tweaking...

After tweaking...
 The outline stitching even helps some of the flower pieces.
After tweaking...
Before tweaking...
Even on the clarinet and oboe blocks, where the body of the instrument is black, the lighter, metal keys just look like a mash of gray.
Before tweaking...

Before tweaking...
I outlined the keys in black only where the keys overlap...I did not stitch where the gray met black...the black fabric provided the needed contrast. 
After tweaking...
I did choose black floss for the clarinet and oboe keys...for some reason it didn't seem so cartoon-ish on these instruments.
Before tweaking...

After tweaking...

On the piano block, I painstakingly drew a multi-petaled blossom, picked out a graded selection of reds for the petal pieces, and after all this STILL ended up with a flower that looked like it was made from one fabric when I did the squint test.  Ouch!
Before tweaking...
And on the piano legs, I carefully chose two different brown fabrics to depict the different edges and highlight the perspective.  When I squinted, the legs looked like they were made from the same fabric.
Before tweaking...
Just a little outline stitching using a slightly darker red floss helped tremendously...
After tweaking...
 ...and a little dark brown stitching helped to define the piano legs.
After tweaking...
I had already outlined where "parts" met "parts" on the trumpet, which helped, but then I lost the whole trumpet on the background.
Before tweaking...

After tweaking...
(Can you tell I pinned the block to a black background for the photo?  You can see where I trimmed away behind the trumpet bell. That won't be so obvious when the block is against a light colored batting/backing.)

I went back and outlined the rest of the instrument with the same medium brown and I like the result.
After tweaking...
The viola pears before...there's a pattern here...can you see it?  Maybe this is why people don't use much bright yellow in applique. It is perfect on a dark background, but is totally lost in the cream.
Before tweaking...

After tweaking...
Just a little dark gold helped so much.

I had already outlined all the petals on the double bass block daffodils to help emphasize the blossom details (and the fact that I had used so many fabrics)... 
Before tweaking...
...but the light green stems disappeared when squinting.
After tweaking...
 Same thing with the bottom of the lime...
After tweaking...

And the double bass needed the same definition between the top of the instrument and the side as the three smaller stringed instruments.
After tweaking...
And FINALLY, squinting at the cello block revealed an empty space that would draw the eye in the final quilt (when all the text wouldn't be showing, LOL).
Before fixing...
I decided that I needed to add a huge, mutant butterfly.  I was already making slightly smaller mutant butterflies for the timpani block.

The block still looks a little empty, but it is better.


Picky, picky, picky...but I would stare at the finished quilt and head-slap myself if I had not taken the time.

Head-slapping hurts and should be avoided at all costs.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

22 comments:

  1. Those "little" tweaks make a HUGE impact. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know that I would've had the patience, but then that's the difference between my hand applique and yours!!! Mine is non-existent!! Can't wait to see it all together.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The extra outline stitching makes the block. Many would have used a fine tipped marker to do the work. Yours is more complete with the stitching. Artistry at it's best. Chris

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the final finished look the outline stitching gives. It reminds me of cross-stitching - so much definition comes out when the final outline stitching is done (as much as that is the part I hate doing). I wish I had a musical bone in my body, I love what you've done so far.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's a lot of tweaking!! But, with such great results! This quilt is going to be a stunner!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great Tweaking, and nice results. Thank You so much for all the pictures and sharing all of your process in designing and making this quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This quilt is going to be a masterpiece worthy of the highest honor at the largest quilt show (I can't decide if that would be Houston or Paducah -- better yet both!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think your attention to the details makes for a magnificent quilt! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great post! Thanks for all those before and after photos...this is going to be an amazing quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Teresa, I would not/could not do what you do, but oh, how I enjoy seeing your work!!! It is just amazing. And of course it IS the attention to detail that makes your quilts such stand-outs.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have enjoyed every post as you have progressed through this project. Your designs and workmanship are outstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. :) And all the tweaking has really paid off.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh my goodness Teresa, your stitching makes such a big impact on the blocks. Having the before and after pictures really shows the big difference it makes. What a masterpiece you're creating.
    *hugs*
    Tazzie
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think the tweaking is perfect. Your work is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your attention to detail amazes and inspires me! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The tweaking really is worth all the extra effort. This is sure to be a memorable heirloom.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! I never would have thought of outlining things like this but I am blown away by the difference it makes. What a stunning quilt this is going to be. Thank you for sharing the journey with us.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Fantastic idea to add outlining, I often add embroidery details. Congratulations this will be a stunning quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  19. "What a difference..."a tweak makes, Teresa!! AMAZing workmanship. This quilt will "sing" for sure. Julierose

    ReplyDelete
  20. Absolutely gorgeous!! The outlining is really the icing on the cake. We have a local quilter that is noted for her outlining of her applique quilts -- maybe you've heard of her Suzanne Marshall?? She has written several books for AQS. She does exquisite work too.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Truly awwwwe inspiring! You, my lady, are the Applique Queen!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by the quilt cave...I love your feedback! I am sorry that I am no longer able to accept comments from "Anonymous" readers...it leaves the door open for too many spammers!