Have you seen my latest kaleidoscope quilt patterns? If this technique is new to you, check out the patterns then come back here for a few tips.
When you say KALEIDOSCOPE, you say PATTERN REPEAT.
A pattern repeat is the design that repeats on fabric, lengthwise and crosswise, so it has a certain length and width. Depending on how many repeats you have on your fabric, you can create different types of kaleidoscope blocks. From 4 repeats you can cut squares and create square blocks, from 6 repeats or 8 repeats you cut triangles and create hexagons or octagons. You can use how many repeats you want, the more repeats, the more complex the work.
The easiest kaleidoscope is the one that requires 4 pattern repeats lengthwise. If you want to sew a big bed quilt, you need a lot of fabric, but do you know that you can create a few kaleidoscope blocks even from half yard or one yard of fabric, if it has a short pattern repeat?
If you are new to this technique, it is great to start with a small project and I am going to show you how to use such small piece of fabric to create a few wonderful blocks. Instead of a fabric with 4 repeats, you can use a fabric with only 2 pattern repeats.
I have below one yard of a medium size print fabric. Here is how to find the pattern repeat and how to measure it.
The first thing you have to do is to choose a motif on your fabric, near the selvedge (see the flowers outlined in yellow above); count how many times the same motif (with the same orientation) repeats along the selvedge, on the entire length of your fabric.
This motif repeats three times on my fabric.
The design between two motifs, from the beginning of a motif to the beginning of the next one, marked here with the yellow lines, is a “pattern repeat”. My repeat is 12” long.
The same motif repeats along the width of the fabric; depending on the width of your pattern repeat, the number of times you find it along the width of the fabric varies (more times for short fabric repeats, only once for wide fabric repeats). I outlined on my fabric the motifs and this is what you need to create a 4-repeat kaleidoscope from fabric with only 2 pattern repeats.
You see below the pieces of fabric that will be used for the kaleidoscope blocks.
First you cut the fabric lengthwise – where the pattern repeats start.
Then you cut crosswise, aligning the ruler with the beginning of the pattern repeat.
In the pattern there are complete instructions on how to make these cuts; it may look boring but I promise it is fun and it increases the accuracy of the technique.
From the big panel you will cut strips…
Stacking the strips with identical print and aligning the design of all the strips is piece of cake if you did the previous cuts in an accurate manner (which is not hard at all!).
Then you cut squares then cut the squares diagonally.
Each triangle set will create a block. These are the blocks.
You have to correlate the size of the blocks with the size of the print. For this print the design would look better on bigger blocks, so you can cut the square only on one diagonal.
Here is the result.
Or you can use the squares as they are, for even bigger blocks.
I hope this helps! I just wanted to show that you don’t need yards and yards of fabric to try this kaleidoscope technique.
Here are a few of my quilts made with these kaleidoscope quilt patterns:
For more about these kaleidoscope quilt patterns, click on the link below.
Kaleidoscope Quilt Patterns Made Easy
Kathy Tripp says
Awesome techniques and results! Thanks so much!
WOW! I love this. Can’t wait to grab some fabric and do this!
Elisabeth Loehrlein says
I find that this method is most successful when using squares whose designs are NOT spread in an overall pattern. One examples featuring blue squares after the kaleidoscope method do no look that much different (at least to me) from the original design. They really are not worth the effort of cutting and restitching.
Compare with some of the red examples where he color RED pops out from the background.