Ode to Joy

The current word challenge for my small group is “joy.”  I’ve known right from the beginning the general sort of thing I wanted for my subject.  I wanted an image that would hopefully induce a feeling of joy in the viewer.  At the very least, it should induce such a feeling in me.

My first step was to determine what sort of an image would work.  I immediately started mulling over the things that make me happy.  At the top of the list were things in motion.  Fireworks, fountains, bouncing balls, leaping dancers.

My next step was to determine what it is about these things that never fails to make me smile.  Color is good, but it’s the parabolic motion that makes me so happy.  I’ll stop dead in my tracks to watch it every time.

Now, to choose how I wanted to get that motion into my quilt.  Simply finding an image I really like and rendering it into a quilt seemed a little one dimensional and, of course, pretty much a repeat of what I did for Virgin Mary.  I wanted to go beyond that for this challenge.

While pondering my choices an image flashed through my head that I think was a remnant of some animated cartoon I’d seen in my youth.  It was musical notes that had been out bouncing around having a good time and were now late showing up for work in a musical score.  This was it!  But what piece of music?  That was easy.

After I found the right music things started getting easier.  Sorta.  I had to figure out just how to get that music onto a piece of fabric.  My first thought was to simply print out the above image onto a sheet of Printed Treasures, but my quilt has to finish at 12″ x 12″ and the fabric is 8 1/2″ x 11″.  Simply adding borders to bring it up to size wasn’t going to be the look I wanted.

I really wanted to do this on a single piece of white fabric that would finish to the desired size.  To do this I enlarged the image a bit, cut out the sections I wanted, and attached them to another piece of paper.

I figured I could just put this on my light table and trace it onto the fabric I wanted.  I did a little test piece, but the ink wanted to bleed into the fibers and I didn’t like it.

That sent me back to the idea of printing it out on Printed Treasures.  It would still require bordering it up to the required size, but the horizontal format looked better to me than the original vertical format.  Before I could do this, though, I had to go over the paper with a black pen to get rid of the pixelated [1] edges on the notes and treble clefs and tape down the edges that were going to cause shadows when I ran it through the copier.  Then I printed it off on the fabric.

Next I started looking around for some fabric to put around the outside.  I knew it had to be colorful and happy.  A place where my musical notes would want to be.  I started looking through a pile of fat quarters I won last summer and found just what I was looking for.  Both border and binding fabric were lying there in that pile.

I bordered my music with those happy little flowers (bigger than the finished quilt needs to be) and found some embroidery floss to go with it.

Then I sketched in some parabolic curves from the bottom fabric up to four of the notes and stitched the notes and curves in the chosen colors.  I stitched through both the top and the batting so the floss wouldn’t shadow through that white fabric.

All that’s left to do is quilt it and bind it, but that will have to wait as I have a customer’s quilt loaded into the machine right now. Besides, I don’t know yet how I want to quilt this!

[1] No, I didn’t mean pixilated.

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