Thursday, September 27, 2012

Block #5 - a grand piano


The concert grand piano is my favorite solo instrument in the symphony.  I ended up making mine brown instead of the more formal black because browns made it easier to highlight the different parts of the piano...there's definitely more of a range with my stash of browns than my blacks.

This is the 5th block in the quilt that I am designing called "Baltimore Symphony" (click to read the back story).  Soon the blocks will be available for purchase, either separately, or in groups.  Each block will finish 15 inches square.  The first 16 blocks feature instruments associated with a symphony.

The piano was invented in 1709 by Bartolommeo Cristofori, so that makes it pretty young as compared to other instruments.  It was created because the harpsichord just couldn't match the power, dynamic range, and expression of the violin. 

Several changes were made over time due to the demands of keyboardists.  It has strings, but is in the percussion section, of all things (hammers strike the strings to make sound)!

I made the large corner rose motifs with accompanying leaves "off block"...hand appliqueing all the petals together before placing the finished rose on the background.  

Then I added the stems, buds, and leaves using Roxanne's glue baste ("dot-dot-not-a-lot") to secure the pieces until I finished the hand stitching.

I find the pattern weights indispensable while gluing.  They hold things in place why I apply the tiny glue dots.  I got the hard white ones years ago.  The bean bag type can be found here

I do my hand applique with YLI silk thread.  It is like sewing with human hair and I really like the way the stitches...just...disappear!  I use a glue stick to turn the edges under (using a freezer paper pattern adhered to the RIGHT side of the fabric as my guide).  There are detailed tutorials on my top tool bar to explain this method.

I took the easy way out on the keyboard...I appliqued a white fabric piece to be doodled on later (after all the applique was done and the block was hand-washed and ironed dry).  I used a #005 (0.2 mm) black Pigma pen to draw in the keys.  (I will show pictures of how I carefully soak and dry my blocks in my next post.)

There's no shame in taking the easy way out and drawing the keyboard...or other block details.  I looked at every piano fabric in my stash, hoping to find one that was the exact right size and perspective that would work by fussy-cutting...Broderie such luck (it was a long shot...).  

If you have trouble finding that tiniest size of Pigma pens near you, they can be found here.

I hope you find some sewing time today...I have had so much fun with this project!  I love your comments and hearing about your music experiences!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. Love the blocks and thanks for sharing about the weights. I need to get some of those... excellent

  2. Teresa, I'm in awe of your talent. I just LOVE these blocks and I also love the history of the instruments that you share with us. This is beyond awesome! Thank you for sharing with us! Hugs..

  3. Great piano! My favorite instrument to listen to. How DID you do that keyboard!! Lovely! What size are your blocks. Some of the detail is amazing too!

  4. Another wonderful block. I know I will be in line for these patterns when you have them available.

  5. This is great! I lived in Baltimore for several years and went to the symphony often!

  6. Wonderful.....who ever said you are cheating is joking right!Everything looks great.

  7. Beautiful work going on here. I have been doing some hand applique and need a new method. Will study your method and see if I can improve. Anxious to see more of the quilt blocks. Chris

  8. Your drawing talent is very good!
    Pattern weights. You make good use of them. I had some years ago when I made clothing but I no longer have them. I never would have thought of using them in making quilts.

  9. Wow! That is just so gorgeous!! I LOVE your piano. Your talent amazes me and it is quite inspirational. Just beautiful!!

  10. I sure am enjoying your blocks as you reveal them. Your grand piano looks amazing! Your applique is perfection :0)

  11. What a gorgeous quilt this is going to be! Makes me wish I had the patience and finger dexterity to do hand applique. :) Thanks for sharing a peek at your work. Kat

  12. That made me smile when you mentioned the "easy way out" because none of what you are doing on this block seems "easy" to me...holy moly your work is amazing!

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  14. Each block is just beautiful, the flowers are wonderful surrounding the instruments and your detail on the instruments is impressive. I am SO enjoying seeing and reading about every block!

  15. love the different brown fabrics you used on the piano.


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