Category Archives: kaleidoscope quilts

Sous le Ciel de Paris

That’s French for “Under Paris Skies.” It’s the name of a song I bet you’d recognize if I hummed a few bars. It’s also the name of my newly finished little quilt:

2014-03-04 23.28.23

Under Paris Skies measures about 18″ x 55″. I used eight different fabrics in the octagons, five of them fussy-cut. No matter which way you turn the quilt, you see vignettes of Parisians young and old enjoying a spring day in the City of Light. There’s an Eiffel Tower in each block, too.

The quilt below, which I finished a few weeks ago, is the same size and design but has a completely different look, more like a real kaleidoscope viewed through a tube made of bits of colored glass or paper. When the tube is rotated, the reflections produce changing patterns that are visible through an eyehole.

Fall Kaleido horizontal

This quilt is named Autumn Reflections. The focus fabric, from the Autumn Harvest line by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics, has pumpkins on it, big leaves, and grapes or berries. You’d never know it from looking at the finished blocks, though. Interesting how cutting up the focus fabric into 45 degree wedges completely changes what you see.

I’m going to be teaching a class in June on this design. Students can make their quilt with eight repeats of fabric, as in the autumn version, or eight different fabrics, as in the spring version. Vive le différence!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

Gay Paree . . . and Pantone

The photos in yesterday’s post didn’t do justice to Gay Paree, the new Michael Miller fabric I just used in a kaleidoscope table runner. Gay Paree is a novelty fabric featuring slightly abstract scenes of Paris. There’s a young couple sitting at an outdoor café, a little girl buying flowers from a street vendor, another vendor selling baguettes, and a nun feeding birds. There’s also a smartly dressed woman walking her dogs — poodles, of course – near the Eiffel tower and a sailor kissing his sweetheart by a fountain. A whimsical panorama:

2014-02-24 03.19.15
Gay Paree by Michael Miller Fabrics

 

I fussy-cut six different images from the fabric and inserted them randomly, two to a block, in my table runner:

2014-2 kaleido runner side view red
Dawn’s Runner, Waiting to Be Quilted

 

You may be wondering what this Gay Paree fabric has to do with Pantone. Do you know about Pantone? It’s an American corporation best known for its standardized color reproduction system, known as PMS (Pantone Matching System). The system is used in a variety of industries where accurate color reproduction is really important — printing, of course, but also in the manufacture of paint and fabrics.

Every year Pantone declares a “Color of the Year,” which guides consumer-oriented companies — think florists, fashion designers, fabric manufacturers — in product design and future planning. I happened to be in a paint store the other day and stopped in front of a Pantone display, which featured the three most recent Colors of the Year. The 2012 Pantone Color of the Year — Tangerine Tango — was the very shade of orange-y red in my Gay Paree fabric! Take a look:

2014-02-24 03.20.15
Gay Paree/Tangerine Tango

 

It just so happens that Gay Paree comes in two other colorways: a bright emerald green and a vibrant orchid:

Gay Paree/Emerald and Radiant Orchid
Gay Paree in Emerald and Orchid Colorways

 

And it also just so happens that Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2013 is Emerald and 2014′s color is Radiant Orchid:

2014-2 Pantone emerald and orchid
Pantone’s 2013 and 2014 Colors of the Year

 

Coincidence? I think not! Savvy marketing? Mais oui!

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 5 Comments

A Change of Pace

I’ve been taking a little break from Reach for the Stars (see previous post) to make a new kaleidoscope runner, a second version of the one in fall fabrics I showed you a few weeks ago. This runner features some delightful new Paris-themed fabrics from Michael Miller with a contemporary vibe. Take a look:

2014-2 kaleido runner side view red
Top Measures 18″ x 55″

This close-up of one block gives you a better look at the fabrics:

2014-2 kaleido runner block after
Block Finishes at 15″

The Parisian street scenes were fussy-cut from Gay Paree, the new line from Michael Miller, as was the Eiffel Tower, an older Michael Miller line. The navy-on-white and white-on-navy house prints are from the Maison line by Michael Miller, companion prints to Gay Paree. Fans of Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park collection for Michael Miller will recognize the two bright orange pieces from that line, and the remaining white-on-navy geometric is a Mini Mike from Michael Miller.

That bright orange accent strip is a batik and the outer sashing strip is Tangle by Marcia Derse for Windham Fabrics. My background fabric is a pale grey Color Weave by P&B Textiles. I usually piece my backs but I’m going to put an uncut length of the Gay Paree fabric on the back so that the Parisian street scenes can be seen in their entirety.

I’m going to quilt this little table runner/wall hanging with straight lines or maybe simple cross-hatching and bind it in the same orange batik I used for the accent strips.

Over the last few years I’ve made at least a dozen kaleidoscope quilts featuring octagons, all made from eight repeats of one fabric carefully stacked, pinned, and cut. This is the first time I’ve used eight different fabrics in a block. What fun!

 

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

February Finish

In my last post I mentioned a Work-in-Progress that needed some free-motion quilting (FMQ). Remember this?

2013-10, kaleido table runner 1
18″ x 56″ Before Quilting

Back in October, continuing my love affair with kaleidoscope quilts, I made three large kaleidoscope blocks from a piece of autumn-themed fabric from In the Beginning Fabrics (you can read about it here) and put them together into the table runner/wall hanging you see above. After assembling the quilt sandwich I did a fair amount of stitching in the ditch and then I put the piece aside. Why? Because FMQ is by far the most challenging aspect of the quilting process for me and it is far too easy to procrastinate.

This week I decided I absolutely had to finish it. And I did! I quilted a curvy motif in each triangle of the octagons — that’s 24 total, not counting the ones I made first on my practice quilt sandwich. Here’s a close-up of the quilting on my favorite block:

2014-2 Kaleido Wall Hanging quilting detail
Up Close and Personal

 

My inspiration for the quilting design came from the book Adaptable Quilting Designs by Sue Patten (American Quilter’s Society, 2010):

2014-2 Kaleido Wall Hanging quilt motif

I modified her design so that it would fit in my 45 degree triangles. The quilting lines are meant to cross each other so it’s a very forgiving design for a novice free-motion quilter like me.

Well, what can I say? My FMQ isn’t going to win any awards but I’m pleased with this effort. And I’m not going to get better unless I do more of it, right?

This post is labeled “February Finish” but in fact my little quilt isn’t done yet. It doesn’t have a label because I haven’t thought of a name. I’m thinking about making a second kaleidoscope runner like this one in spring fabrics, and then I can call them Spring Forward and Fall Back. Just kidding. Hmm. Maybe not!

 

 

 

 

Posted in free motion quilting, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 7 Comments

Lyra’s Quilt

Hydrangea Kaleidoscopes, 47" x 54"
Hydrangea Kaleido quilt top, 47″ x 54″

Remember this quilt? I was working on it back in February (you can read about it here) when I learned that my brother’s son and his wife were expecting their first child, due in August. They didn’t want to know the sex of the baby until it arrived. In the back of my mind I was thinking that if the baby were a girl, this might become her quilt.

At the end of August, their daughter was born. I was still considering this quilt for her but didn’t decide for sure until it came back from long-arm quilter Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting. Then I knew it would be perfect for a sweet little girl. Nancy quilted a sunburst motif in the center of each kaleidoscope block and a tessellating clamshell design in the background. Take a look:

2013-11, Lyra's quilt
44″ x 51″ After Quilting

 

On the back I put a big strip of the hydrangea focus fabric and converted a leftover kaleido block into a circle:

2013-11, Lyra's quilt, back
44″ x 51″ After Quilting

 

On this detail photo of the back you can get a better look at the quilted sunburst:

2013-11, Lyra's quilt, detail of quilting
Quilting Detail

 

The label was made using a compact disc (described in my tutorial here):

2013-11, Lyra's quilt label 1

The photo above, which gives you a better look at the tessellating clamshell motif, was taken after the quilt was washed, giving it that soft puckery look.

Lyra’s quilt will soon be on its way to her. I hope she likes it!

 

 

 

 

Posted in baby quilt, family, kaleidoscope quilts, quilt labels, update | 3 Comments

Rubber Ball

I’ve been bouncing from project to project this week like the proverbial rubber ball and boy, has it been fun! First I made this little fabric box, using directions from my friend Viv:

2013-10, little fabric box
Fabric Box, 4″ Square

I think Viv’s directions were adapted from a tutorial she found on the Internet. She made a box for me last year that I use all the time. In my sewing room it catches threads. When I go to a quilt class, it holds notions. So versatile and cute!

Then I made a pair of king-size pillowcases for my twin sister, Diane:

2013-10, pcases for Diane
Another Pair of Pillowcases for My Twin

My husband and I are spending two whole weeks with Diane and her husband around Thanksgiving; these cases will be a hostess gift. She fell in love with the fabrics when she saw them made into this sewing machine dust cover so I’m pretty confident the cases will be a hit.

Next I sewed those three kaleidoscope blocks from a couple of weeks ago into a table runner/wall hanging:

2013-10, kaleido table runner 1
18″ x 56″

Isn’t it amazing that all three blocks were made from the same focus fabric? I’m going to put a solid piece of that fabric on the back.

Last but not least, I pulled some black and white fabrics from my stash to make this test block using the pattern “Metro Rings” by Jenny Pedigo of Sew Kind of Wonderful and her Quick-Curve Ruler©:

2013-10, metro rings test block 1
19″ Metro Rings Block

This is Jenny’s modern take on the traditional wedding ring block. Those curved rings are made from strip sets! It’s the fourth design of hers I’ve made using her Quick-Curve Ruler, and I continue to be amazed and delighted at how versatile the ruler is. I’m especially excited about this quilt-to-come because I’ll be teaching a class on it at the Pine Needle in January 2014.

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 8 Comments

Crazy for Kaleidoscopes

I started out with this fabric . . .

2013-10, In the Beginning fabric
Autumn Harvest by Jason Yenter for In the Beginning Fabrics

. . . and wound up with this:

2013-10, kaleido block 1
Kaleido Block 1

and this:

2013-10, kaleido block 2
Kaleido Block 2

and this:

2013-10, kaleido block 3
Kaleido Block 3

 

Can you see now why I’m crazy about kaleidoscopes?! I think I will turn these 16″ blocks into a table runner celebrating autumn, “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

 

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, update | 11 Comments

Banana Split

In my continuing quest to complete a stack (not sayin’ how big) of Unfinished Objects and Works-in-Progress, I recently pieced a back for a quilt top I made three years ago. Three years! I don’t know why I waited so long to make the back. Here is the top, which measures about 42″ x 52″:

2013-10, Banana Split, 42 x 52

The centers of the stars are 4-Patch Wonder blocks I made from a banana-themed fabric that caught my eye in a quilt shop in Kearney, Nebraska in the summer of 2010. That was the year my husband and I took a 30-day road trip around the western United States. I hit a fair number of quilt shops in eight states that summer. My own little Shop Hop, so to speak. My husband joked that our gas mileage steadily declined during the trip as the trunk filled with fabric. Hmmm. Maybe he wasn’t joking.

When I pulled out the tub of fabric I had used for the quilt top, I discovered that I had also made several octagonal kaleidoscope blocks out of the banana fabric (enough to make another quilt, in fact). I used one of those kaleido blocks to make an 18″ block for the quilt back, which looks like this:

2013-10, back of Banana Split

You can see the clusters of bananas on the outer pieces of fabric. The repeat on the fabric is very small — just 8″ — so I cut 2¾”squares for the 4-Patch Wonder blocks, resulting in a 4½” square center block. The star blocks finish at 9″ square.

For the big block I converted the octagonal kaleido block into a circle and made an oversize star. Here’s a close-up of the kaleido block:

2013-10, banana split, detail of back block

The minute I started slicing those bananas, I knew what I was going to call this quilt.

 

 

 

Posted in 4-Patch Wonder quilt, kaleidoscope quilts, update | 3 Comments

More Quilts from the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

Picking up where I left off a couple of days ago, here are more of my favorite quilts from among the 1300+ displayed last Saturday, July 13 at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) in Sisters, Oregon.

Gypsy Kisses, 92 x 103, by Kathy Doughty of Sydney NSW
Gypsy Kisses, 92 x 103, by Kathy Doughty of Sydney, Australia

 

No Spurs Needed, 30 x 40, by June Jaeger of Prineville OR
No Spurs Needed, 30 x 40, by June Jaeger of Prineville OR

 

Daisies in Red and Black, 60 x 60, by JanniLou Creations of Philomath OR
Daisies in Red and Black, 60 x 60, by JanniLou Creations of Philomath OR

 

Contemporary Totes, 24 x 32, by Tonye Belinda Phillips of Camp Sherman OR
Contemporary Totes, 24 x 32, by Tonye Belinda Phillips of Camp Sherman OR

 

Neighborhood, 45 x 60, by Elizabeth Hartman of Hillsboro OR
Neighborhood, 45 x 60, by Elizabeth Hartman of Hillsboro OR

 

Storm Warning, 20 x 40, by Rayna Gillman of West Orange NJ
Storm Warning, 20 x 40, by Rayna Gillman of West Orange NJ

 

Sea, Sand and Sky, 67 x 80, by JanniLou Creations of Philomath OR
Sea, Sand and Sky, 67 x 80, by JanniLou Creations of Philomath OR

 

Pressing Matters, 41 x 51, by Laura Wasilowski of Elgin IL
Pressing Matters, 41 x 51, by Laura Wasilowski of Elgin IL

 

Bullseye, 54 x 60, by Ann Zick of  Hinsdale IL
Bullseye, 54 x 60, by Ann Zick of Hinsdale IL

 

Our View of Sisters-Friendship, 50 x 50, made for Anne Zick of Hinsdale IL by Joan Bratton, Maureen Creed, Joyce Freehill, Jan Johnson, Betsy Maloney, Marilyn Montgomery, Valerie Rodelli, and Coleen Walter
Our View of Sisters-Friendship, 50 x 50, made for Anne Zick of Hinsdale IL by Joan Bratton, Maureen Creed, Joyce Freehill, Jan Johnson, Betsy Maloney, Marilyn Montgomery, Valerie Rodelli, and Coleen Walter
50 Shades of Red, 62 x 72, by Terry Johnson
50 Shades of Red, 62 x 72, by Terry Johnson

 

Blossoms, 52 x 60, by Christine Day of Fallbrook CA
Blossoms, 52 x 60, by Christine Day of Fallbrook CA

 

Blue Moon, 86 x 104, by Alice Besler of North Powder OR
Blue Moon, 86 x 104, by Alice Besler of North Powder OR

 

Garden Maples, 77 x 78, by Chris Jones of Sisters OR
Garden Maples, 77 x 78, by Chris Jones of Sisters OR

 

Garden of Leaves, 68 x 68, by Pamela Hylton of Grand Ronde OR
Garden of Leaves, 68 x 68, by Pamela Hylton of Grand Ronde OR

 

Light Up, 46 x 57, by Maron Johnston of Santa Barbara CA
Light Up, 46 x 57, by Maron Johnston of Santa Barbara CA

 

Senorita Hankie Ladies, 36 x 45, by Bonnie Guzman of Lathrop CA
Senorita Hankie ladies, 36 x 45, by Bonnie Guzman of Lathrop CA
detail of Senorita Hankie Ladies by Bonnie Guzman of Lathrop CA
detail of Senorita Hankie Ladies by Bonnie Guzman of Lathrop CA

 

Kristin Shields of Bend OR was a featured quilter. Here are a few of her wonderfully whimsical creations:

Castle Peeps, 32 x 44, Kristin Shields of Bend OR
Castle Peeps, 32 x 44, by Kristin Shields of Bend OR

 

In the Night Garden, 41 x 52, by Kristin Shields of Bend OR
In the Night Garden, 41 x 52, by Kristin Shields of Bend OR

 

Whimsey, 39 x 41, Kristin Shields of Bend OR
Whimsy, 39 x 41, by Kristin Shields of Bend OR

 

The Cover to Cover book club created quilts inspired by The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznic. My favorites from this group:

Clock Parts Mania, 61 x 46, by Pat Busby of Lake Oswego OR
Clock Parts Mania, 61 x 46, by Pat Busby of Lake Oswego OR

A peek at the back revealed that these kaleidoscope blocks were made from a focus print of . . . mushrooms!

focus fabric on back of Clock Parts Mania by Pat Busby of Lake Oswego OR
Focus Fabric Used by Pat Busby to Make Clock Parts Mania

 

Connectivity, 47 x 47, by Dianne Kane of Portland OR
Connectivity, 47 x 47, by Dianne Kane of Portland OR

 

Gears, 72 x 81, by Linda Reinert of Oregon City
Gears, 72 x 81, by Linda Reinert of Oregon City

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little presentation of the quilts that caught my eye this year. The quilts you see here and in my last post represent fewer than 4% of the quilts that were displayed. Simply astounding when you stop to think about it.

Is it any wonder that I have already marked my calendar for July 12, 2014 — the second Saturday in July — for the 39th Annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show?

 

 

 

Posted in kaleidoscope quilts, Sisters OR Outdoor Quilt Show, update | 5 Comments

My First Quilt Market

Today was the final day of the three-day International Quilt Market, held right here in Portland, Oregon. It was open to the trade only, and as the owner and sole proprietor of First Light Designs I qualified for entrance as a “cottage industry.” So yesterday I spent the better part of the day at the Oregon Convention Center.

As much as I enjoyed roaming the aisles, admiring quilts on display, looking at new fabric lines and publications and notions and patterns and threads and all of the other accoutrements of the quilting and crafting world, the highlight for me was meeting some of the quilt and fabric designers I admire whose blogs I have been following.

Heather Peterson of Ankas Treasures

Here I am with Heather Mulder Peterson of Anka’s Treasures. Her blog, Trends and Traditions, is one of my favorites. Heather is so talented: she sews, quilts, designs patterns, designs fabric for Henry Glass, publishes books — and she knits the most beautiful sweathers you’ve ever seen. All of the quilts you see in the background are from her latest book, Angles with Ease, and were made with her new tool, the Triangler, which makes all kinds of shapes including two of my favorites, kaleidoscopes and hexagons.

Here is Emily Herrick, showing her latest fabric collection, Technicolor, for Michael Miller Fabrics:

Emily Herrick with new quilt design

I don’t remember how I discovered her blog, Crazy Old Ladies, but it’s lively and fun, just like Emily and her quilts. I’m crazy about the quilt on the right, made from Emily’s newest pattern, Boomerang.

I was delighted to see fellow Portlander Mo Bedell, who designs fabric for Andover. One look at the fabric samples on the wall behind Mo will show you why I like her designs and fabric lines so much:

Mo Bedell

Both Emily and Mo won Best Booth awards, given for excellence in design and the over-all look of their booths. Congratulations, Emily and Mo!

Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts was kind enough to pose for a photo with me:

Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts

Joanna’s blog, Fresh Figs, is always full of gorgeous photos of quilts and other crafted items made from her patterns and her fabric lines for Moda. We had a nice conversation about the new Moda Honeycombs — packs of 6″ hexagons. On the table behind me are a few mini-purses made from her new pattern, Hexies, and a pack of Honeycombs. Yep. Those are on my list now, too.

And what a delight to meet Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs, who blogs at Bunny Tales:

Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill

Anne is well known in the industry for her quilt designs featuring appliqué, and she also designs fabric for Moda. When I introduced myself and told her that my friend Colleen and I are huge fans, she gave me a big hug.

Starstruck? Oh, yes. But you know what? These superstars of the quilting world are real people, just like you and me. And the ones I had the good fortune to meet yesterday were incredibly gracious and kind.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in hexagons, kaleidoscope quilts, Quilt Market, update | 1 Comment