Sunday, January 27, 2008

Paper pieced stars, Mozat's birthday

I am driving myself nuts. I've been at home for a week thanks to the stock market convulsions which seem to have paralyzed all the clients of the company I work for. So I decided this was a golden opportunity to make the quilt for my granddaughter's wedding that I had been delaying. I love the Carol Doak paper pieced stars and spent a lot of time in the last 18 months makesing twenty what I call "Quartets" of the patters from her 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars. So when I saw a design she did for a bed sized quilt using 9 star patterns and leaving a lot of white space for quilting, I thought that would be lovely to make for Cory in blue and white and then have it nicely long-arm quilted. My 21st star "quartet" great into a blue and white quilt for mysel that has garnered a lot of compliments.

The problems are several and they've added up to much frustration -- but actaully of a fun sort - or am I a masochist? The quartets were multicolored so I could chose what I liked. Not all turned out equally well. However in this case I'm using only different shades and intensities of blue and that's a big challenge to my color sense. I've sewn a bit and then realized there wasn't enough contrast and ripped and used something different. When the colors are fairly similiar it's also hard to keep in mind which goes where. And I've chosen some complex stars with 72 to 104 pieces per star. With paper piecing one is working mirror image and constantly going from front to back. Plus these have many acute and obtuse triangles so I often get a piece of fabric just a bit too short and have to rip and resew. I've RIPPED a lot -- a GREAT BIG LOT. I realized that when I was making the quartets of stars the first one was usually pretty difficult and then I discovered what I was doing and in what order and the others were easier and more fun With this quilt there are nine different stars. No repeats, they are all each "first".

I work with WQXR playing and every now and then I pay more attention to a piece of music or some announcement than to what I'm sewing -- then Oops, RIP-IT. A complication is that the anouncers kept reminding me that today is Mozart's 252nd birthday, and then playing some of his music. I could not help going into reveries about Wolfie - as his sister Nanerel called him. What a genius! The music just poured out. Then I think that Papa Leopold would probably today be accused of child abuse. He used Wolfie and Nana as his personal trained monkeys to make money. Dressing little Wolfie in velvet jacket and be-ribboned shoes and putting him in front of the harpsichord to astonish the audiences at palace dinners.

I thought of a possible scene in their house on a hot August. The kids are hot and sweaty and restless and begging to go down to the river with their friends. And Papa insisted, "No, you cannot go splashing around with those hooligans. You'll sit right here and get tha Hayden sonata perfect. You're playing it for the Preceptor Saturday night. And furthermore we'll come up with some variations for that little march his court band master just wrote so we can show how much better it can sound."

Poor Wolfie and Nana worked their little fingers into astonishing strength and suppleness and they - especially Wolfie -- learned to compose off the cuff at a very early stage. When the mind is trained to work that way, it's like turning on a tap. If the kid happens also to be a genius the water/music pressure is enormous and it just gushes out. Lesser talents have a harder time. If Wolfie had a grueling childhood, he has given uncounted millions uncounted millions of hours of enormous delight. How wonderful that he existed at all.

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