Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Surprise" - another Kaleidoscope

Sometimes you stare and stare at your fabrics, and can't make up your mind. OK, a vision -- another Kaleidoscope! Yes, I've blogged about this block before. (NOTE - NONE OF THESE WEDGE SEAMS WILL BUTT UP TO THE NEXT WEDGE SEAM - that's another project).

Sew a bunch of strips together, various widths. I particularly like the appearance of dark to light values. I wanted mine to be at least 9.5 inches in width. The first and the last should be wider strips, 2 to 2.5 inches. This allows for some options with ruler placement. A narrower strip at top or bottom might almost disappear in the seam allowances. Some of the strips are even pieced.

Then, I used my Marilyn Doheney 45 degree ruler (others are available) to cut 8 wedges from each strip set. Most strip sets gave me an extra 9th wedge, a bonus!

I LOVE this technique because look what happens! A SURPRISE! These are not yet sewn together. You can keep all 8 together, or, in my case, one of the blocks was too pale, so I exchanged 4 from another block that was too dark.
Starting from the wide side of the wedge, sew them together towards the center, ALWAYS with the SAME (either the light or the dark) on top, sewing towards the small point, paying particular attention to getting those tips to butt up tightly. Press the wedges open, and from the back, that seam should go clockwise. Sew the twosies to foursies, and keep the point perfect! Press clockwise again (from the back).
Now sew the foursies into one unit. My particular example is a little not-perfect from the back but the point is perfect!
The important part of this block is the center. If you pressed those points FLAT, and all pressed clockwise, your center is close to perfect.

But there is one more step to avoid the center LUMP! See those 3-4 vertical stitches (marked purple here)? Remove them - don't worry - nothing falls apart. Remove those 3-4 vertical stitches from the front and from the back, then open the block, and "twirl" that center open, mashing it with your finger, and the pressing it FLAT. All the seams are twirling around the center.
I have 5 blocks made and maybe I will finish the rest in the next few days, then add corners. I've made 6-8 others Kaleidoscope quilts -- it's a wonderful block/pattern for using up width-of fabric strips. Years ago, I even tried using UGLY fabric, pushing common sense, only to discover they worked out nicely as well!

There will be corners to these blocks, yet to decide. I expect to make 8 blocks plus using the bonus wedges, and then add borders. I urge you to try this very easy pattern. There is no stress, only a few rules, great stashbuster, all of mine have been successful. This pattern came from M'liss Rae Hawley (several books) when I attended her class at the Nebraska State Quilt Guild Convention in Chadron about 4 years ago.

7 comments:

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow Elaine, your Kaleidoscope block looks great!

Lynn said...

Looking great! Can't wait to see it finished.

Purple Pam said...

Your new kaleidoscope is great. I really like that design. This one is very light and very pretty.

Nancy quiltin' momma said...

THank you for posting this!! I've got a deadline for a wedding quilt and things went wrong with the original pattern I started with. After reading your post, I headed down to my sewing room, found my 45degree ruler and bam! I am making those blocks!! I love it! Thanks again!!

KathieB said...

I did one of these many years ago and your post makes me want to do another. Scrappy maybe? Definite possibilities!

Feeling Simply Quilty said...

Kaleidoscope is a quilt that's in me to do. I always ask myself, is it in me, and I just know!

Great tutorial, thanks for sharing

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

I inherited a stack of yardage of Jenny Beyer border fabric. I've never seen uglier fabric. She designed it to go with her fussy cut techniques, but the colors...yowza.
They just might work in one of these. thanks for sharing your work, Sharyn in Kalama