More Kaleidoscope Progress

Today is our first quiet day for a while! It’s a good day to stay in and work on this project, as the weather is nasty — sleet, freezing rain, snow, and oh! the wind!

This picture above shows my kaleidoscope center, finished (almost) and trimmed to square. I have border strips cut, but they are short and need to be pieced before attaching. I have some plans hatching for the next steps. We’ll see how much I can get done in the next several days.

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22 thoughts on “More Kaleidoscope Progress

  1. jeanswenson

    I am so intrigued by this quilt pattern, probably because kalaidoscopes are so fun and such a great childhood memory! On a rating of 1 to 10, with 1 being a basic 9-patch quilt, where would you rank this in its level of difficulty? I have been eyeing purchasing Ricky Tims book, but am still on the fence…

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Great question. IF you can sew a consistent 1/4″ seam, and IF you can manage a ruler/cutter to cut those seam allowances accurately, getting this far is pretty easy. (And I put it that way because some people have strength or other problems that make that difficult.) Less than 5, for sure.

      The hardest part is finding the 1/4″ seam, since you are aligning the wedge pieces at odd angles.

      I’d recommend borrowing the book from someone or the library, if you can, to see what you think of the instructions. And perhaps try cutting a fabric piece at an odd angle, just through that one piece of fabric, and then align it to reattach the two pieces. See how it goes for getting the outside edges to line up. Try it a few times if you want to see what it’s like. I had to unstitch and re-do a few, but most of mine went okay.

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  2. mothercat2013

    This looks really lovely. I’ve recently started one of these myself (I’ve just finished sewing together the strata), and now realise (after seeing yours) that I don’t have enough wide contrasting strips amongst my fabrics – for some reason I was afraid to have 3″ wide strips because I thought they would really dominate, but I love the contrast they provide in yours. I shall just have to do a better job next time! 🙂 And continue with what I’ve got, because I really do want to see how it turns out. Do you have any particular tips for matching the seams at odd angles? I suspect I’m going to struggle with this. And how many fabrics in total did you use? I love the way the pink and the light green ‘pop’ in yours.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      The widest ones I cut were 3″, but only one of them shows up as WIDE. Either way, though, I think the engineering makes it pretty forgiving, and if you have some decent color/value contrast, I don’t think you’ll find it matters.

      As to lining up the seams, mostly they did… 🙂 I did pin a lot when I started assembling the12 wedges together. When building each wedge, the hard part is getting the outside edges to align. I suggested to jeanswenson above that she try just cutting a single piece of fabric at an odd angle, and then practice finding that 1/4″ realignment. I did take a few apart, but there were others that were nowhere close to perfect, but I just used them anyway. Overall, the whole thing doesn’t lie quite as flatly as I’m used to, but it doesn’t create a great bra cup center, either. I think the main issue is simply all the bias edges, which are going to pull each other a little unevenly.

      I really don’t know how many fabrics I used, but I pretty deliberately reused a large number of them to get repetition. If I’m counting right, there are only 12.

      Thanks for taking a look.

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  3. katechiconi

    It reminds me of an origami flower. You’ve made good progress over Christmas – bad weather is always a help! We are finally getting the weather we were longing for: it’s Hurray-ning!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Are you near the NE coast? Bad weather makes it friendly for staying in!

      Progress over Christmas? I don’t have a very good sense of that, because so much has happened in the last couple of weeks. I finished the disappearing 9-patch, made lots of pillowcases (after all my grumbling), and had a lot of real people time. But this is moving along now. We’ll see how far it goes in the next few days. Then I’ll have another break from it.

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      1. katechiconi

        We certainly are; not bang in the centre of it, but close enough to collect good rain without the flooding.
        I think you have the right idea; give the work some time, then take a break from it. Sometimes it’s the only way…

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  4. snarkyquilter

    I think the strong contrasts from the olive green and fushia-ish purple strips make your piece. Without them the whole thing could devolve into pastel sweetness. I’ll look forward to seeing how you use this one.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks. The first border actually is of a sweet green, similar to in the interior, but I don’t think it will flavor it too much. I tried several colors/values and it was the right one. We’ll see…

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  5. shoreacres

    Talk about an optical illusion. When I first looked at the photo, I thought you’d spread the quilt out on the grass. It took a second to realize that wouldn’t have been possible, and that it is green fabric surrounding it. The green does emphasize the “flowerness” of the kaleidoscope, though. It’s very pretty.

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It’s a good color for a lot of things, I think. The batik adds some light, also. I don’t much like working with batik, though, so I’m switching to a different green print for much of the rest. Hope it works!!

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  6. ntexas99

    I’ve only just begun to explore your blog, but this one jumped out at me. Really makes me want to touch it, and hold it next to my cheek. Such vibrant energy, and balance. Gorgeous.

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