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A few weeks ago I got to hear the BSO perform Beethoven’s extraordinary Symphony #7.  There isn’t anything I don’t love about the piece!  As I was trying to visualize sound, I kept coming back to the fact that the performance had eight – eight! – double basses.  Back in the studio I googled a video performance and created a screen capture of the basses.   

Since I wanted to create a quilt based on a negative-space image, I posterized the picttracing.jpgure with 5 color-levels, plus black.  After tracing the image off the computer (keep track – that’s 1) I had it enlarged, and then colored it in so I could find all my pieces more easily.   I traced it once more (that’s 2) to use as a placement guide for my fabrics.  For my colors I picked dark blue (mottled with black – more on that dumb idea later), gray, speckled gray, mottled light blue and white.  

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I started as I always do, by tracing each piece individually (that’s 3) – starting with the largest ones that lie on the bottom of an image – cutting it out of the correct fabric, and laying it under the large tracing to make sure the placement is accurate.  Funny thing about using a black-mottled blue fabric.  You can’t see it when it’s placed on black and lies under a tracing sheet of paper.  I covered the cut piece with its paper template and that worked – at first. 

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Once I had the larger pieces laid out on the background, I realized I couldn’t keep the templates on while building the lighter colors on top.  So…I traced the section I was working on (that’s 4) onto acetate which allowed me to see everything clearly.  But when I was done with all the individual sections and wanted to make sure the placement between those pieces was correct, the acetate sheets were too small.  Sigh.  I traced the entire quilt for the last time (yes, that’s 5) on clear vinyl which allowed me to see everything perfectly (and gave me a new technique for tracings)!  After layering all the pieces (some very itty bitty) from dark to light, I covered the quilt with black tulle and went to the machine.sewing_tulle_overlay_on_tiny_pieces.jpg

Remember that dark blue/black fabric dumb idea?  Seeing the edges of the fabric while laying it out was hard enough.  Once the tulle was on and my only view was from the front of my machine it became an exercise in extreme eye strain.   I rigged a lamp so it half-hung off my machine while I was sewing and that got me through.  Barely.

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On its stretcher frame the quilt measures 28” x 20”.  It will be hung in Dedham Square Artist Guild in January and will come with me to Paradise City (Marlborough) in March. 

Until next month,
Iris