Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Baltimore Rhapsody" Block 11 - F (bass) clef wreath

The F clef, or bass clef, is the next block in "Baltimore Rhapsody."  Some people call it the "left" clef because it usually indicates what the left hand is doing in piano music (but not always...).

It is called the F clef because the top left part of the symbol circles around the second line down, which is F, and the two "dots" surround that line as well.

Likewise, the G clef curls around the G line.

I decided since the shape of the F clef was so weird, I would make an asymmetrical wreath.

Working over my pattern, I glue basted the vine pieces first, followed by the clef signs.

There is a definite top to this block...the F clef signs looked too weird to me to turn them completely upside down.  When in doubt, add LOTS of cherries to mask the idiosyncrasies.

I get questions about the fact that I use glue and what I do about that after the applique is finished.  Both the Elmer's Disappearing Purple Glue Stick and the Roxanne's Glue Baste are considered archival quality.  But on something like this, where I've put in a lot of hours (and I hope will be around in 100 years...), I like to soak the glue out.  Too much glue can make the block too stiff.

I start with a background cut at least an inch larger in both directions (even if not soaking, a always start with a larger background than required, then trim to size after finishing the block or strip). 

(I have not tried this with pieced backgrounds...I wonder if the cotton thread used to seam the pieces together would shrink and cause puckering.  I need to exeriment with this...)

Since I prewash all my fabric, I don't worry too much about colors running. When I am worried, I start with cold water in the bowl and gradually work toward warm water as I change the water. I find that warm (not hot) dissolves the glue faster for some reason).

After the block has soaked for an hour or so, I gently squeeze-release, squeeze-release a few times.  In the first rinses, the water looks cloudy from the glue.  I change the water a few times until the water looks pretty clear.

I very carefully and gently squeeze most of the water out, spread the block out on a clean towel, then roll everything up.

I gently squeeze the roll - NEVER TWIST OR WRING!

When I unroll the block I place it RIGHT-SIDE-DOWN on a dry towel on my pressing surface.  I press, lifting before moving the iron, the block mostly dry with a dry iron.  Then I turn the block over with the right-side up, and press a little more.  I don't worry about getting it completely dry...I pin it to my design wall to air dry the rest of the way.

I never do my embroidery embellishments until AFTER I rinse the glue out.  I usually don't trim the blocks to size until I am ready to sew them into the top.  A lot of handling can make them unravel.

The bassoon block is next to round out the orchestra woodwind section, followed by the string section.  If you would like the background story about this quilt project, you can go here.

I hope everyone in Hurricane Sandy's path is doing OK.  I'm sure there are many quilters in that area.  My prayers are with you.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. looks AWESOME! do you use ricky tims stable stuff inside? that's what I do and I soak the blocks like this too- well overnight then air dry on a towel for a day too

  2. I am enjoying the blocks, but love the shared stories and history and marvelous tips that come with each.

  3. So following your progress on this quilt!

  4. I like how you have the clef with the berries and the "line" - clever. This would make a terrific set of pillows (along with the treble clef) if someone didn't want to tackle a whole quilt.


  5. Very nice way of handling these funky clef signs. :)

  6. I'm behind on my blog following but...Wow!What a fantastic idea!!! So few musical instrument quilt related items are out there. Your blocks are delightful. Aren't you the smart one:) I know they will be very popular.

  7. beautiful block. thanks for sharing how you wash your blocks.


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