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.

21 comments:

  1. Wow!! This is beautiful! I've just stumbled across your blog from Crazy Mom Quilts, and I need to check out your older posts after seeing this great quilt!

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    1. Thanks so much. Please do look around, although I'm just getting the blog started.

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  2. This is incredible. I love that you used the sheet music (with pencil notes!!!) to make your own fabric. This is such a fun quilt. It literally seems to be dancing.

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    1. Thank you. I enjoy stumbling across the pencil notes. Dancing -- what a great thought! That really fits with what I wanted the quilt to express.

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  3. Oh my goodness! A masterpiece! I love hearing about and seeing all the little details! No such thing as "photo overload", is there? Great great job!

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    1. Thanks! Please tell my kids about the photo overload. :)

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  4. This is stunning! I love it. You did a beautiful job!

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  5. Absolutely delightful! This is the best of quilting, when you create beautiful works with deep personal meaning. Such thought and love goes into the creation. Congratulations.

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  6. Good heavens; I have never seen such a perfect combination of musical inspiration, color, texture, and pattern. I am a true newbie: just did my first quilt top last week. Not sure you could really call it that since it's just Moda fabric strips. But as soon as I get over this Peruvian Flu, I'm going to buy some batting and a big embroidery hoop and start quilting. You are an inspiration. And by the way, my husband grew up in H'ville: his dad worked at Redstone. I saw this on Pinterest and "Huntspatch" caught my eye.

    I may never design my own quilt and as with my knitting, I usually let the fiber do most of the heavy lifting, but I surely do enjoy this. You have brought me some joy!

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    1. I wasn't aware it was on Pinterest; thanks for letting me know. And thank you for the kind words.

      Your husband might recognize some of the photo locations. :)

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  7. I am a musician and a quilter, and I think your quilt is fabulous! The whole design and quilting are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I saw this on pinterest and my jaw hit the floor. STUNNING! I'm so so so in love with ALLLL of this-- the blocks, the rows, the fabric, the whimsy, the GORGEOUSNESS!!!! I just love it!

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  9. Wow, that's an amazing quilt, love the details and the use of text prints too

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  10. found you through the blogger's quilt festival. this is truly a spectacular quilt!! love it!

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  11. Oh, I am so glad to see this quilt! And happy that Amy over at Amy's Creative Side chose to feature you today on her blog. FABULOUS!! And so, so very "Joyful"!! I'm singing the whole Beethoven's 9th in my head right now, and I can't get enough of your pictures. That was the first symphony I ever learned when I joined the Utah Symphony Chorus at age 26. It was the music playing a few years later as I gave birth to triplet daughters. It's the tune I whistle all the time - one of my happy songs. I now sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, performing around 400 songs each year, but it's still at the top of my list. I love that you created your own fabric from the sheet music! Is that available for others to purchase from Spoonflower? And do you have your paper-pieced music note pattern available somewhere? Your quilting is fabulous, the fabric choices, the colors, the design - what a perfectly harmonious, joyful row quilt! Now I've got to check out more of your amazing artistry. Thank you!

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  12. Hi Ben, found this quilt through Amy's feature post. You have put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into the creation of this quilt and the result is stunning. You certainly have an eye for design and colour and fantastic piecing and quilting skills.

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  13. I was looking through old feature posts at Amy's and your quilt caught my eye. It is gorgeous and definitely exudes joy! I love that you printed the actual score on fabric. I am also super jealous you got to perform the 9th. I hope I will get that opportunity someday. It must be beyond amazing.

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