Kaleidoscope experiment

Before I started sewing my real kaleidoscope quilt together, I wanted to practice that 12 fabric join at the center.  So I took the scraps from my round 1 strata and sewed them together.  That’s the photo above.  I am used to hand piecing 6-point stars so I approached it the same way.  I sewed together 2 sets of 6 and proceeded to put them together.  However, with that much fabric, I could not get it under my presser foot and then be able to sew a straight seam so the last two seams I sewed from the outer edge.  Then although I did press my seams open, when I got to the lime green fabric, I twirled them like I do my hand piecing.  Not feeling any great sense of satisfaction with the result, I decided to read the instructions in the book!  Ricky Tims says sew 4 quadrants, stitching always from the center.  Then put two quadrants together, then two halves.  So I ripped mine out and did it over.  I still could not get those last two seams under my presser foot so on those two, I did start from the center but I sewed the first inch by hand and finished the seam on the machine.  I still thought all that fabric needed twirling.  See photo on left–still not satisfied.  The instructions say iron all slice seams open so I thought OK, maybe you are supposed to fold back that extra hump of fabric so I did that.  See center photo–with gaping hole.  Then I tried to pull the hole together by hand stitching.  Photo on right–would have to have a button to hide that mess.

I sent the photos to my friend Carol and she suggested appliqueing a circle over the center and then cutting away the back fabric hump.  While I thought that was a good idea, I started thinking that since I had mistakenly ended up with a hexagon shape from my round 1 strata, maybe I could applique a hexagon over middle.  THEN I got the brainstorm that I could chop off the tips of the 6 straight sides, replace the two pieces with one piece and end up with a 6-point join.  So that’s what I did.

This brainstorm method of replacing 12 pieces with 6 would have limited usefulness unless someone was up for trying some fancy piecework in a small space or just didn’t mind starting their kaleidoscope with a hexagon no matter how the strata lines were configured.  Curved piecing could be dramatic but I for one would never go there.  I haven’t even decided for sure if I am going to use this method on my real pieces.  For now, I’m sleeping on it.


About quiltfever

I retired in 2004 and have never missed the 8-5 grind even for a minute. Now I spend my time reading, traveling, quilting and trying to learn new things like Spanish and blogging.
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9 Responses to Kaleidoscope experiment

  1. Why are we so hard on ourselves and so critical of what we do? While I’m not suggesting you lower your standards, I am suggesting you be a bit less critical of what is really quite excellent work. Everything I do goes into the “learning curve” and I’m discovering that the Quilt Police are a figment of my imagination. Also your overall pattern makes the eye look at the effect of the entire design and not at individual bits. It’s not the center of 8 fabrics that is the focus – it’s the design that those 8 fabrics create!

    Go happily forward – can’t wait to see the next post!

  2. Auntie Em says:

    That is really thinking outside the box, er, hexagon!
    I think your idea is really clever, and will keep it in mind as I approach that point.

  3. Lisa Mason says:

    As I was reading this, I thought all the same things you did, try handsewing the center, maybe an applique over the center intersection. BUT, I did not think about taking that apart and making the hexie center with six pieces!!! What a brilliant idea! It will lay flat and you’ll feel happy about your piecing. Donna is right, we are hard on ourselves, but I really think that when you spend that much time and it is so wonderful, you want it to be perfect. I think yours is!!

  4. Okay, this made me flash back to my kaleidscope and I was at a loss.. I did the Ricky Timms method of two + two then four + four. I then twirled the seamz and though it did take a bit of pressing it remained flat. I will admit that it took a few to get it right though.. any way you choose is right for you!!!

  5. Tiff says:

    It’s great to see your whole ‘discovery’ process — and I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  6. Lynda says:

    Boy, great thinking. I just plowed through mine hoping that things would work out. I also had to take a couple of tacking stitches in the center where my presser foot seemed to get stuck and I had to help it jump over the bulkiness.

  7. Liz says:

    I think Paula Nadelstern has the answer to your idea. She worked along the same lines as you. Twelve pieces of fabric, but then at the centre she only has six. You’ll have to read her book on kaleidoscopes for a decent explanation. You are in good company.

  8. piecedgoods says:

    Wow, are you thorough! The 6 point thing is a GREAT idea. No matter how hard I worked on making those 12 seams go together they were not perfect. I got better at it though so the practice with scraps will pay off!
    My compromise was to always have the center most bit be a solid color. The tiny minute differences in the points don’t show as much then as with points with a pattern on them. I’m hoping once the dang thing is quilted in addition, the tiny differences in the points will be unnoticeable by most. (Except me and you! :-))

  9. I bow down to you, Carol, queen of patience and persistence! This is way too steep a learning curve for me, but I am learning so much from following your trials and tribulations as this beautiful piece unfolds. I recall you wrote, in an earlier post, that hand quilting was a meditation of sorts (or like meditation–something similar in any case). Your efforts and patience in figuring it out, sleeping on it, and puzzling over it seems to me to be a type of mindfulness meditation. You don’t write that you wanted to tear your hair out or throw the scissors across the room, you merely persist in a calm, forward fashion, where the aim is to learn and master a new technique. You move onward, with clarity and grace. Beautiful!

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