Saturday, June 21, 2008

More on Kaleidoscope Blocks

A few bloggers have asked me about choice of colors. From what I've seen, what might appear as rather 'blah' fabrics can turn into an amazingly beautiful block. What have you got to lose? These are some of my last-of-the-strips, (I even pieced some) so I kinda threw them together, with little thought, just to see if it was necessary to spend time agonizing over colors. I DID keep the light to dark plan, except for the bright coral accent in the 'wrong' place.

These blocks go together in about 30 minutes, if you have your strips cut - they are not time consuming.

Voila! Not bad at all! I don't think agonizing is necessary at all, within reason.
First I do twosies and press to the right, then foursies, and put the straight edge against ME on the ironing board, and press seams to the right. Then I sew the two sides together, being really careful at the center. I mash them together tightly, pin them, and take a few machine basting stitches, hoping for a good center. If it's OK, then I sew the whole long seam, from one side to the other. Remember there are bias edges, be careful.

Now, do you open the little center tip? I hope you can see this. I release the 3-4 vertical center stitches on each side, and open that seam, again, mash that center flat, and press from the back, all clockwise. Some people call this twirling -- it sure makes that center nice and flat, with no bump from the top.

I measured 9 1/2 inches with my ruler on the strip set, and I got 9 wedges from my strip set, using WOF (Width of Fabric) of each strip. Most of my wedges have 6 or 7 strips. So, if you make 9 blocks you will need 9 strip sets, with 9 odd pieces for one more block for ... something. I'm shooting for 12 blocks, and need to make 2 more. Then I'll sew on the corners.

I hope to see a few of YOUR kaleidoscopes -- a lot of you have commented. Glad I could add something to your possible projects.


  1. My new book uses a 60 angle for their kaleidoscopes. That way they can sew half together, just pin the other half and then sew the quilt with no set in seams once it is all arranged. I haven't tried it yet but it looks pretty easy. I may try some with strips like yours.

  2. I haven't given up on Old Ugly Maroon for a kaleidascope block. Your great detailed instructions are very helpful. I especially love your technical terminology! "Mash" is the perfect term. I'll post my efforts as soon as I get a block together.

  3. From Elaine Adair
    Who is "True debreuil"? The link takes me back to a clever 12? year old? Book? a book coming out about quilts? Quilters want to know.

  4. Very pretty blocks, and just right for my scrappy strips. I will have to try a block. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I will have to try this!

  6. Thanks for the detailed directions. I like this design. It is a simple concept, and you can get more "bang for the buck" starting with strip sets. Do you have any thoughts on how much fabric to start with? Are you making your top with all different kaleidoscopes, or coordinated at all?

  7. My kaleidoscope doesn't have pieced triangles, but it is still a UFO I plan to get back to doing some day. I waver back and forth between agonizing between fabric choices. I would love to be free and just throw anything together, and am working on a railfence with scraps. Hopefully it will turn out as nice as yours.


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