Not Quite a Kaleidoscope

As you know, this week we’ve been talking about the basic kaleidoscope block starting with how to make it, and then showing how this block could really transform the look of a fabric.

Today, we’ll look at the kaleidoscope from a different view. What happens if you don’t choose the same fabric to work all the way around the block? Then what type of an effect might you get?

Both of these blocks are kaleidoscopes, but see how different they look? The one on the left uses the same dot fabric for the corners of the block as it does for the matching interior triangles – this draws the entire block out making it look much more square. While the block on the right gives more of an “X” marks the spot type of effect, as the dot is on the alternate interior triangles. Just imagine an entire quilt with either of these blocks! Then consider what it would look like if you used both of them!

Imagine using a block like this around the edge of a larger focus fabric for a children’s quilt – or even just at the corners of the quilt!

Take a good look at this quilt – the eye sees curves and circles all around the quilt. But this is still a simple kaleidoscope block, repeated. The various shades of blue are tied together by the white print used in all blocks, and the fact that the blues are in similar color ranges. Did you notice that the blocks alternate? Half have white fabric for the corners, while the other half uses the blue fabrics, this adds to the curve illusion.


These blocks were made using a very interesting technique. The quilter first sewed strips of solid fabric together to create the gradient effect you see here, then those new color strips were cut into the kaleidoscope triangles and sewn together again – a very vivid and striking effect!

And here you see the full quilt – the one thing this quilter did differently is that the triangle was not flipped over to make a second cut, she used a bit more fabric for her triangles, so that the stripes would always have the same gradient (light at the tip to dark at the edges). I wonder if she did make the reverse cuts and made a second quilt out of those….

As you can see – there’s LOTS that can be done with the kaleidoscope block – what ideas does it give you?

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Book Review: Strip Happy by Donna Kinsey

Strip Happy Book
Today I’d like to tell you about a fun new book. It’s called “Strip Happy – Quilting on a Roll”, and the book is by Donna Kinsey.

This book uses 2 ½” strips of fabric to make each of the quilts, and you will find 8 different patterns in the book. This is a great way to use some of those fabrics you already have in your stash, or there are now fabric bundles of 2½” strips that you can purchase. Some people call them “Jelly Rolls” or “Worms”, if you are looking for them at a Hancock Fabrics store, they are called “Noodles”.
When you get a chance, stop by your local Hancock Fabrics to take a look at this book. You will see that it has some simple quilts as well as some exquisite designs anyone would love to make. The quilts are pictured in bright, springy, and fall colors. You will find something for just about any taste in color or design.


I recently made the quilt called ‘Super Stars’ from the “Strip Happy” book to be used as a model for the Nebraska-Iowa quilt retreats that are being held this spring. The quilt I made is in what was called the ‘traditional’ color option, and quilters at the retreats are also given the option for a ‘bright’ quilt. The colors used in the bright quilt were purple, blues, and greens (seen above).

This quilt was made by experienced quilters as well as new quilters, and everyone seemed to enjoy the construction of the project, as well as the camaraderie of being part of a group working on the same quilt. Below are a few pictures from the quilt retreat:

Hurry up, I’ve got a quilt to finish! Grin 5


Can you find Joyce hidden in this picture?
Friends at the retreat

Mother and Daughter, quilting together

It really was amazing how fast this quilt was to make. There was one change made from the book instructions, when we cut the piece for the star we used the Marti Michel ‘Wonder Ruler’, instead of the pattern provided in the book. Having the ruler for a template made things much easier, particularly since we didn’t have to worry about the stability of a paper copy.One person decided to make the strips around the star all in blues and the star in shades of brown – this made the quilt look like starfish in the ocean.

Please note, all of the Spring quilting retreats have been held already for this area.  Stay tuned for other events!
Note: when I was looking for a bio on Donna Kinsley for this blog, I found something that you will probably enjoy even more – a free glimpse into the book, courtesy of Design Originals. This link will lead you to a free copy of the ‘My Home Town’ quilt pattern from the “Strip Happy” book. I don’t know how long this free pattern will remain on their website, please let me know if the link is ever broken.
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing