Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Baltimore Rhapsody" Block #7 - the tuba

Ta-da!  Block #7 of "Baltimore Rhapsody" is the tuba block.  This block features a peacock and an orange tree and makes me want to visit a Florida orange grove!

The tuba is the lowest and youngest member of the brass family of instruments.  If you were to uncoil all that metal you would end up with 12 to 18 feet of tubing!  The length and increasing diameter of the tubing gives the instrument the low, rich sound.

The tuba provides the "oom-pah" sound in classic marches.  They are used in orchestras, bands, and were even used in big bands/dance bands until replaced by the string or electric bass.

Tubas are the favorite and preferred seating for peacocks everywhere...we actually had a pet peacock when I was in high school.  Our neighborhood was near the wooded property surrounding the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama.  He wandered off and ended up in our yard where he liked to roost on my little sisters' swing set.  My mom fed him some leftover scrambled eggs, which he LOVED (isn't that cannibalism?!?)

My dad caught him, put him in the back of our station wagon, and drove him back to the zoo.  When my dad returned home, there was the bird. 

He was very proud of his feathers...he would "show" every chance he got...we would look up from weeding a flower bed or working on the outside of the house, and there he would be in his full glory, slowly turning around, showing off while doing his mating dance.  I think he was confused.  My dad bought some female pea foul for him, but he chased them off.

He roamed the neighborhood, probably collecting leftovers everywhere, but always returned to our house to roost overnight on the swing set.  At sunset every evening, he would vocalise.  After I went to college, the street where I had lived was renamed "Peacock Lane."

Here are the steps to making the tuba.  I start with the freezer paper patterns.

The fronts (right sides) of the prepared pieces...

The backs (wrong sides)...

I start glue basting with the pieces that are under or to the back of the design.  I can't work without the pattern weights...they keep the skinny, squirrelly pieces from escaping.

I kept the freezer paper on some of the pieces until I was through glue basting (I had to wait until I peeled the paper off to glue baste the mouthpiece end of the tubing).  I couldn't leave the paper on the pieces that were to the back...they would have been in the way of the gluing!

Because I want to be able to trim the background away behind the peacock later (to help with the hand-quilting later), I build the tail in sections.  After glue basting the purple spots to the yellow pieces, I hand appliqued the purple spots.  Then I put those units on the green feather units (not shown), and hand appliqued them in place.  I basically construct the whole peacock off block before making the final placement.  That way I only have to stitch around the outside of the bird once it is finally placed on the background, overlapping the tuba.

I hope you are finding all this less intimidating when the process is broken down into steps!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. dear teresa,your quilt will be fabulous when it is done,have a nice sunday,susi

  2. It does seem doable when broken down into steps, but I'll stick to easier blocks for now.

  3. Very cute idea. Loved the story and your very simple tutorial.

  4. The tuba block is very, very nice. You are quite artistic. Something I am not.

    There is a neighborhood in a local community here that is having quite a disagreement over peacocks roaming wild. Said they are damaging the finish on vehicles, making a mess, too much noise, etc. Some people fed them. I think the city finally made a decision to help remove as many as they could to another location. I haven't read any more about it. That was just a couple months ago that I read it in the newspaper.

  5. The peacock and tree in this block ate delightful! You are doing a lovely job of renewing the heart of Baltimore album for 21st century and including music!! LOVE IT!

    You said..."Tubas are the favorite and preferred seating for peacocks everywhere..." TO MUCH FUN!!!

    Your step but step is fun too! Maybe you have shown this part before - but to me the jump from paper pieces to the glued on front and back pieces is a leap through an awe inspiring step in the process. I can't imagine turning those edges, but the thought of sewing down all those pieces is absolutely inspiring!!

    I think I need to find a quilt buddy who wants to make a duplicate quilt - she can paste on freezer paper and I will sew! LOL!

  6. My gosh the tiny pieces.. your work is just spectacular!

  7. I don't know why I am still amazed at your work, but I am. You have astounded me from the day I found your blog. Sure wish I could see your work in person.

  8. I haven't visited your blog in awhile. I'm AWESTRUCK with this project! Your work is so inspiring.

  9. Another beautiful block. I'd love to see your work in person too.

  10. Your blocks are looking so good!! That tuba looks quite involved!

  11. Love it! But, that looks like what I would call a baritone. What we called a tuba is the big round thing you end up sitting in with it wrapped around your body. . . . Back from Wikipedia. Apparently what I know as a tuba is a Sousaphone or contrabass tuba - who knew? Now, I'm wondering if the "baritone" I knew in school was a baritone horn or a tuba. Guess I'll never know. Thanks for teaching me something new.

  12. The precision of a surgeon. Always amazing.

  13. Woohoo, I now know lots more about tubas and Peacocks. I love your blocks but its way too hard for me to evan think about attempting. I'll just enjoy watching yours grow.

  14. I adore your Tuba block!! Your peacock is wonderful - what a great eyes he has :0)

  15. Every single one of these just makes me smile. The work you've put into them is marvelous.

  16. I LOVE this block. The peacock is wonderful!!


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