Kaleidoscope Block = Fabric Transformation

Yesterday, I showed you how to make a kaleidoscope quilt block, and you saw the steps as I made a block using a stripe fabric (and the finished paisley block).

Today, I’d like to talk about how the kaleidoscope block really transforms the way you look at a fabric. For instance, what type of a block do you think a fabric like this one would make?

Can you see this as a repeated image? The design twisting around a center point? Well, one of the participants at the recent seminar I taught saw the potential in this fabric, and you’re going to be amazed at the results she got from this pattern. (You may want to click on the image of the fabric above to see the detail of it.)

And here are some of the blocks she got from this one piece of fabric – as you can see, some very different looks depending on the repeat chosen.

If you look carefully, you can pick out the areas she pulled each repeat from in the original piece of fabric.

And here it’s pictured again, with the original fabric and the quilter. Great job! The lilacs have really transformed into a brand new type of flower – what would you call it? A Lavender Star Flower?

Next, we have this lovely black fabric, a very striking pattern, as I’m sure you’ll agree. But when you look at it, what color do you see? Black, red, even white?

What about green? Yes, that’s the same fabric used in the blocks pictured on the left of the picture. And again, we have the quilter’s standing with their creations. The sage used on the corners of the blocks really does match nicely with the hint of green in the original fabric – and it showcases the kaleidoscope making it ‘pop’ nicely.

In contrast to this style, the quilter on the right has chosen a fabric for her corners that blends right into the original print – making it look almost as if the block is actually a printed image instead of a pieced one.

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And here, a soothing cream/tan color. Once again the elements of the print have created a floral effect in the center of the block – this is particularly evident in the yellow ‘flower’ center on the left.

Do you see the difference made in these blocks? Just the fabric used for the corners is going to give these two similarly colored blocks a completely different look in the final quilt.
This set of blocks is actually finished off as octagons – can’t you just see these sitting on a side table in the living room?
And these great patriotic blocks started off as a simple striped fabric – what a terrific look!
These blocks are going to make an absolutely gorgeous red and white quilt – wish I could see the finished work!
I nick-named this batch “garden bouquet”, doesn’t it just look like you could go out to the garden one summer day and pick these flowers? Look at the contrast effect the quilter is getting by using the different red and yellow corners for her blocks.
Here are a couple more of the “garden bouquet” blocks – giving you a bit closer look at the actual fabric repeats used.
The quilter, and a peek at the original fabric used to create the kaleidoscope.

So as you can see, if you look at the fabric in just the right way, you might see a great kaleidoscope in the works! If you’re wondering how a repeat of a fabric will look beside itself – here’s a trick you can use…. for small prints, you can use a simple mirror set at a 90º angle to the fabric – look in the mirror and you’ll see a mirrored image of that section of the fabric (not really a true repeat).
Or, you can take the fabric, lay it out and locate the repeat you are looking for in two places, now draw those two sections together so you can look at them side by side.
I also like to use my template (which is almost always going to be a clear ruler of some sort) to view the fabric section – this way I can see just how much of an image I can capture (such as in the paisley print used in yesterday’s finished block – I wanted to capture an entire paisley in the repeat).
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

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