June 5, 2014

Ode to Joy

About a year ago, our local symphony presented a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, and I had the wonderful privilege of singing in the chorus.  About the same time, my daughter ran across a craft idea on Pinterest which involved using vintage sheet music to form letters on canvas.  These two events inspired me to make this quilt:

I used a fat quarter pack of Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt, plus some neutral fabrics from Eclectic Elements by Tim Holtz and Sweet Serenade by BasicGrey, and a few other colored prints.  I also designed a few fabrics of my own and had them printed from Spoonflower.

If you are unfamiliar with Beethoven's 9th Symphony, this masterpiece incorporates text from Friedrich Schiller's "An die Freude," or "Ode to Joy."  The hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" uses music from the symphony.  Maybe you have seen this flash mob version of the symphony's finale.

The quilt rows are 48 inches wide, so for the block-based rows I used block sizes that are divisors of 48 (12 inches, 8 inches, 6 inches, etc.).  I tried to choose blocks that seem to have a sense of joy to them.  The New York Beauty blocks were inspired by a quilt I saw on Flickr.

The friendship stars are 3 inches finished, and are made up of 1-inch squares.  This tested my quarter-inch seam accuracy more than I anticipated -- I had to fudge this row a bit.

I used techniques from Tonya Ricucci's Word Play Quilts to piece the word "FREUDE."

The snail's trail blocks, like the New York Beauties, were paper pieced.  I quilted most of these blocks with a spiral, but I included some text in one:

9-patch blocks seemed a natural for this quilt.  I quilted "IX" in the ninth 9-patch.  The background fabric here is one of my Spoonflower prints, which incorporates scans from the choral part.  Some of my pencilled marks in the music even made it into the fabric.

Then comes a row of sawtooth stars.  This one's center is another of my Spoonflower fabrics.

The dark strip below the stars is actually text from Schiller's poem, formed by fussy-cuts from a Tim Holtz stamp fabric.  The row spells out "ALLE MENSCHEN WERDE BREUDER."

I designed my own pattern for paper piecing the music notes.


The final row uses a couple of traditional 12-inch block designs.
For the colored border, I pieced together strips of random width, then cross-cut the strip sets to 1.5 inches.  (I had enough left over to use in a couple of smaller quilts.)  I quilted this border with text from the poem.
For the outer border, I had purchased a music-themed fabric, but it just didn't seem to work well with the rest once I had the main part assembled.  Instead I used one the Eclectic Elements fabrics.  It has French text in the design, which doesn't fit exactly with the theme, but I'm happy with the overall look.  (Maybe chocolat fits with the theme of joy, at least?)
Similarly, my first purchase for the binding fabric didn't work out either.  It too had music notes on it, but it was dark brown and I felt the binding needed color.
The backing is another Tim Holtz fabric, the same fabric I used in the background of the music notes.  I am really pleased with this choice.
Here are a few more views of the quilt:

I hope that's not photo overload.  I think that's how my daughter felt as she was helping with the photo shoot.
I'm linking up with crazy mom quilts for Finish It Up Friday.