Kaleidoscope QAL: Gallery of Finishes

Kaleidoscope quilt - front view

Ta da!  And there it is, my finished Kaleidoscope quilt!  I'm so happy to have finished this quilt off, and I'm so happy to have sewn it up with so many quilt-alongers.  I'm still blown away by the sheer number of people who have gotten involved with this quilt-along, and I love all of the different interpretations I've seen of the kaleidoscope through this quilt along.  If you're looking for the final installment of the quilt-along instructions, with backing, quilting, and binding information here.

Kaleidoscope quilt - finished!

The fabrics in this quilt are so cheerful and happy, I'm glad I chose them.  I used a variety of the DS Quilts Picnic & Fairground collections, along with two additional prints to round out the quilt, and I used a DS Quilts green gingham fabric for the binding.

Kaleidoscope - quilting close-up

I keep vowing to try new methods of free-motion quilting, so for this quilt, I went with a loopy style, which I've only done once before on a doll quilt.  I enjoyed it, but not in the same way that I enjoy my usual meandering stipple.  I'm glad I tried something new, though, and my 3-year old says it looks like the path of a bee, like you'd see in a picture book.

Kaleidoscope finished back

The back of this quilt was a lot of fun to put together - I used up the scraps from the front of the quilt, sewed them up into a 16" wide strip and added two cuts of one other print from the quilt for a nice, pieced back.
Kaleidoscope QAL button

Need a new project?  The Kaleidoscope Quilt Along has wrapped up, but you can follow along with any of the posts to join in at your own pace! Hop on over to Flickr and join the group to share your progress!

6/3 - Fabric Requirements
6/23 - Let's start cutting and planning our blocks!
6/30 - Piecing the Kaleidoscope triangles
7/7 - Adding your neutral triangles and finishing your blocks
7/14 - Assembling your blocks into a beautiful quilt top
7/21 - Final wrap-up and linky - link up your finished QA quilt and enter to win a giveaway for all who finish by 8/5/11 at midnight EST!

Quilt Stats:
Name: Elizabeth's Kaleidoscope
Size: 62" x 74"
Fabrics: DS Quilts Picnic & Fairgrounds by Densye Schmidt for Jo-Ann Fabrics
Quilting: All-over loopy free-motion quilting, in white thread, done by yours truly
Binding: Green gingham print from DS Quilts Picnic & Fairgrounds - machined on to both front and back

And now here's your turn to share your finished quilt!  Those of you who enter your finished quilt by 12pm midnight EST 8/5/11 will be automatically entered to win a set of Anthology fat quarters from my stash.  Good luck, and thank you all again for participating in the quilt along!

Kaleidoscope QAL: Piecing Your Quilt Top

Can you believe it?  We're already to the last step of finishing your quilt top, piecing your blocks together.  I've seen some fantastic progress in the Flickr group this week, I love all the different takes on the Kaleidoscope!!


This step is a quickie one, I can't wait to see more quilt tops popping up in the Flickr group!  First, begin by squaring up your blocks to a 12.5" square, just in case there's any size variations from the piecing process.

Kaleidoscope QAL - it's starting to look like a quilt!!

Next, lay out your blocks in a way that's pleasing to you.  It took me a few tries to get my blocks laid out in a such a way that made me happy, so don't be afraid to take your time with this step.


Once you've got your blocks laid out nicely, it's time to seam them together, using a quarter-inch seam.  I tend to piece my quilt tops first in horizontal rows, then seam the rows together in pairs, and so forth, but do what works best for you.  If you're more columns person, that's fine, too.

Make sure to press your seams well.  Pressing is the last step of finishing your quilt top - other than a quick pat on the back for finishing it up!

A finished Kaleidoscope QAL quilt top!

Let's continue the momentum next week, where I'll talk a little bit about basting, quilting, and quilt backs and I will open up the finished quilts linky, which will remain open indefinitely.  One lucky quilter who enters their finished quilt in the linky before 8/4/11 will win these gorgeous fat quarters courtesy of my over-shopping habits!

Quilt Along Giveaway!

Kaleidoscope QAL: Finishing your blocks

Wow, I'm amazed at all of the progress in the Flickr group this week.  The thing I love about quilt-alongs is that you can work at your own pace, and I enjoy seeing the different ways people interpret a pattern.  This week's progress mosaic includes some really awesome takes on the Kaleidoscope, and I can't wait to see more!


This week, we're going to focus on finishing up your kaleidoscope blocks.  There's three basic chain-piecing steps that we'll follow to finish piecing the blocks, then we'll square them up, if need be, and next week, we'll start putting those tops together!  Are you excited?   I know I am, let's get started!

1) With a quarter-inch seam, sew a neutral triangle one of the pairs you sewed up last week.  Make sure to place your neutral triangle, wrong side up, on top of your corner triangle/kaleidoscope triangle pair, with right sides facing.  You will add a neutral triangle to each of the pairs you made last week.


Finger press your seams open, then finish them off with the iron to set the seam.  You've now finished a quarter of all of your blocks!!

2) Next, if you haven't already done some sorting, now's the time.  Find four pieces that you want to match up to make your blocks and make some piles.  For each block, you should have two piles, and in this step, we're going to be seaming your two quarter pieces into half of a block.


3) Finally, let's take those half blocks and seam them together, again, using a quarter-inch seam.  Some people find this step a little bit tricky.  Here's how I match up the seams.


Carefully line up the center of each block, making sure that the seams match up, and for good measure, stick a pin in the center to hold it in place.

As for pressing, I do press my seams open, and I have found that in my final press of each block that a little bit of Best Press sometimes helps things lay down a bit flatter.  Another trick for making your blocks lay flat is to press your seams to the side, in a clockwise fashion, which will create a little bit of pinwheel action on the back, like Freda showed off in Flickr group below...

Kaleidoscope block (back)

I can never remember to press my seams to the side, even when I want to, so my seams on this project are all pressed open, but do what works for you!  And don't worry about bulky block centers - I've found that once you've quilted, bound, and washed a quilt, bulky block centers disappear into crinkly wonderful-ness :)

Once you get your blocks sewn up, start to have some fun with them - lay them out in different ways and see what strikes your fancy.  Even if you've got a clear-cut idea for your quilt, play a little bit.  You might surprise yourself.  I can't wait to see more finished blocks popping up over on Flickr!  I hope you're having as much fun with this quilt-along as I am :)

My Kaleidoscope blocks - ready for squaring!

Kaleidoscope QAL: Piecing Part 1

I hope you're enjoying the quilt along so far!  I've seen some awesome progress over this last week popping up in the Flickr group.  You guys are rocking this quilt-along!!!  This week we'll be finalizing some layout decisions and starting our block piecing.

Have you started to play with your blocks yet?  If not, here's some of the awesome block layouts popping up in our fantastic Flickr group.  If you haven't joined in the Flickr group yet, you are seriously missing out on some major quilty eye candy!


So...now is the time to make a design decision!  This week, we'll be making our kaleidoscopes for our blocks - marrying and seaming our corner triangles with one single kaleidoscope triangle.  So, the first step is to decide which kaleidoscope triangles you'll pair up with your corner triangles.

Chain piecing is really helpful with this step of the piecing.  Here's what I did to get ready to chain-piece my corner triangles and kaleidoscope triangles.  First, I made piles to match up my corner triangles with their corresponding kaleidoscope triangles, based on the design decisions I've made so far.  Second, I wound up a few bobbins (but I only wound up going through one).  Third, I started lining up my corner triangles on top of each kaleidoscope triangle, one at a time as I fed each pair through my sewing machine.  Here's what a correct pair ought to look like:


Notice how I don't use pins?  When piecing like this, I rarely use pins these days, especially when piecing things this small.  When I piece my two block halves together, I will use some pins, to make sure my seams line up and stay that way.  If you're more comfortable using pins, go for it.

Make sure you've got dog ears from your corner triangle sticking out evenly on both sides of your kaleidoscope triangle.  This may take a little bit of practice, but trust me, you'll get the hang of it.  Then once you do, turn on the music, and chain piece away, using a quarter-inch seam!


I am a open-seam-presser when it comes to 99% of the sewing I do.  I find especially when working with bias seams, like in triangles, that it leads to more accurate work, but again, do what you are most comfortable with when pressing your blocks.

Now, you can finalize your design decisions, now that you've done some of your piecing.  You can still move things around to find a layout that pleases your eye at this point!  Your final step for this week is to make sure you've got all of your background fabric cut up and ready to roll, and to take some photos to post to the Flickr group.  We'll be finishing off our blocks next week, with some tips and tricks that I've picked up to make this as smooth as possible!  Again, don't hesitate to post a question in the Flickr group or to email me directly!  See you next week :)

Going for a scrappy look for my Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope QAL: Start your rotary cutters!

Are you ready to get started?  Chomping at the bit a little?  ;)  I am still so floored by the how many people are interested in this little quilt-along, and I'm so excited to start seeing more progress photos in our Flickr group!  Cutting is going to be pretty simple for this quilt, but once you do your cutting, I'm going to encourage you to do some playing around with your fabrics to help plan out how you're going to start your piecing next week.

Let's start with printing this handy dandy template.  You can download it here.

There are two pieces to this template, both of which include a quarter-inch seam allowance - Template A, the Kaleidoscope parallelogram that I will call a Kaleidoscope triangle because it turns into a triangle when pieced into the quilt, and Template B, the corner triangles.  Print out this template, and you can do one of a couple of different things with it to start using it.  First, though, make sure that your template is printed correctly and to size.  Template A should be exactly 6.5" tall.  If Google Docs gives you trouble, try downloading the PDF, then open it in Adobe Acrobat and print it there, while making sure the page scaling is set to "none" - thanks, Kati for that great tip.  If you still have troubles with this, let me know and I'll send you the PDF directly.


Now, to make your templates, you can purchase template plastic at your local craft store to make your templates from, you can use cardboard from a box, or you can stick with just paper.  You can also use freezer paper, like Jo, or you could use tupperware lids/bottoms or milk jugs, like Alysowl!  Also, I find that I am most successful cutting accurately with plastic templates, combining them with a ruler, so I don't accidentally cut the template itself.  Another great template tip, from Leila, is to actually tape the side of the template to your ruler, to keep it from scooting around on you!

Now that you've made your templates, it's time to cut!  Here's what you want to end up with:

Kaleidoscope triangles:
* Baby quilt - 48 prints, 48 solids
* Big quilt - 120 prints, 120 solids

Corner triangles
* Baby quilt - 48 prints, 0 solids
* Big quilt - 120 prints, 0 solids


To cut your kaleidoscope triangles, you'll cut 6.5" wide strips of fabric.  If you're cutting from half-yards or quarter-yards, you should be able to cut 10 kaleidoscope triangles from each 6.5" x WOF strip.  If you're cutting from fat quarters, you should be able to get a total of 5 kaleidoscope triangles.  When you cut one entire kaleidoscope triangle, flip the template over as shown above and cut again, to avoid waste.


To cut your corner triangles, you'll cut 4.5" wide strips of fabric.  Then, line up your template with the raw edge of the fabric, and cut around your template.  You can then flip the template over, just like you did with the kaleidoscope triangle template, and cut again.  If you're cutting from half-yards or quarter-yards, you should be able to cut at least 18 corner triangles from each 4.5" x WOF strip of fabric.  If you're cutting from fat quarters, you should be able to get a total of 9 corner triangles from each cut you make.


Also, a handy cutting tip - you can definitely stack a few fabrics on top of one another to minimize the amount of cutting you have to do.  Just make sure to cut slowly and cautiously for accuracy!

Once you've finished cutting, it's time to play.  You can use a design wall, you can use your floor, you can use whatever space works for you, but you're going to want to play around with how you want this quilt to work out.  Here's a few ideas...

You can go monochromatic with your corner triangles, creating a monochromatic diamond...


You could go totally scrappy (which is what I'm leaning towards, despite how much I like geometric patterns)...

Going for a scrappy look for my Kaleidoscope

There are really tons of different ways to lay these prints out, so feel free to start thinking about this after you finish your cutting!  Better yet, pop over to the Flickr group to see some of the diagrams people are making while they think about how they're going to lay out their Kaleidoscope quilts.

Stay tuned next week for the start of your piecing instructions, and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a quick line or to pop over to the Flickr group and ask!

Now, go get cutting!!  :)


Kaledioscope QAL: Fabric Requirements and Guidance

This is the second post in the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along, which will kick off with cutting instructions on June 23rd.  This week we're talking about one of my favorite parts of the quilting process - fabric selection!

I'm going to share cutting instructions for two different quilt sizes with you - a large lap size quilt that will measure approximately 60" x 72" and a baby quilt that will measure approximately 36" x 48".  Here's the nitty-gritty details:

For a large lap quilt, you will need:
 * 3.25 yds total of printed fabric
     You can go with 10 1/3 yd cuts, 16 1/4 yd cuts, or 20 FQs - or better yet, you can use scraps!  
 * 2.25 yds coordinating solid plus additional yardage if you want to add borders
 * 1/2 yd for binding
 * 4.5 yds for backing

For a baby quilt, you will need:
 * 12 fat quarters of printed fabric
 * 1 yd coordinating solid plus additional yardage if you want to add borders
 * 3/8 yd for binding
 * 3 yds for backing

With a kaleidoscope quilt, there are a lot of different ways you can approach selecting your fabrics, but I think the most important thing is to select fabrics that you love.  As far as I'm concerned, quilting rules are meant to be broken.  The old kaleidscope book that I have that inspired this quilt along only shows kaleidoscope quilts with large floral prints, and dark ones at that, but I think prints of any kind of scale would work equally well in this quilt.  It is important, however, not to use fabrics that are mostly background.  Here's an example of what I mean by a fabric that is "mostly background", if you were using a light color as your coordinating solid.

See how this print is mostly background, with just a splash of color?  Stick with prints that are mostly color and contrast your coordinating solid, otherwise the block design may wind up getting lost.  If you'd like more fabric choosing advice, read Jeni's amazing The Art of Choosing series, which covers not only how to select fabrics but also how to build a well-rounded fabric stash.

Curious to see what I'm using?  I'm finally cutting into my DS Quilts stash, which I've supplemented with a few other prints to round things out.


Don't forget to either comment or email me with a link to your blog posting about this quilt-along so I can add you to the Kaleidoscope Quilt-Alongers Blogroll on the right hand side of my blog!  Make sure to share your fabric selections over in the Flickr group and get to know your fellow quilt-alongers.  What are you waiting for?  It's time to start shopping!  Oh, I know what you're waiting for...a coupon!  I've got two for you :)

Peg & Becca, from Sew Fresh Fabrics, are offering free domestic shipping and half off international shipping for orders over $35 for quilt along participants when you enter the word "BETSY" in the Notes to Seller.  You've heard me talk about my finds at Sew Fresh before, they have a wonderful selection of fabrics.

Also offering you a deal is Brenda, of Pink Castle Fabrics.  She has a great Etsy shop full of some gorgeous finds - including Anna Maria Horner's latest collection, Loulouthi - and she is offering you guys, my super fun quilt along peeps, a discount in her shop for your quilt along supplies!

Enter the code DCMBQAL in her shop and you will receive 15% off your purchase of quilt-along fabrics!  She's also offering some custom FQ bundles for the quilt-along, which you can fill with some of your favorite fabrics, or if you're in a rush, maybe you'd like some of my favorites - here's a bundle I put together that's now available in Brenda's shop.

I can't wait to see your fabric choices popping up in the Flickr group.  In case you haven't joined the Flickr group yet, here's the link.  Happy shopping!

Come join the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along!

Need a new project?  I've got you covered :)

Oh yes, I'm hosting another quilt-along.  I had so much fun hosting the Sliced Coins Quilt Along earlier this year, and so much fun participating in Lee's Supernova Quilt Along, that I wanted to host another.  :)

The new quilt along will start up later this month, kicking off with cutting instructions on Thursday, 6/23.  We'll be making a classic quilt block, the Kaleidoscope, which I recently had a lot of fun making for Angela in the {Sew} Beautiful Bee.  No need for a special ruler or anything, I will provide you with two templates via PDF download.  Here's a preview of the quilt layout:

Kaleidoscope QAL Lap Size mock-up

This quilt-along is perfect for quilters of all experience levels.  If you've never done a quilt-along before, now's a great time to try it!  It's a lot of fun to work on the same pattern with a bunch of different quilters and to see how other quilters interpret the same pattern.

I hope you'll join me!  If you're going to join in the quilt-along fun, post about your plans on your blog and be sure to include my new quilt-along button (below).  I'll add you to the Kaleidoscope Quilt-Alongers blogroll, on the right side of my blog.  Just add a comment here or email me (naptimemartha{at}gmail{dot}com) with a link to your post before 6/23, and I'll add you to the blogroll!

Kaleidoscope QAL button

Also, everyone who finishes their quilt before the end of the quilt-along on 8/4 will be entered in a giveaway for this gorgeous fat quarter bundle of High Society by Anthology Fabrics, which is full of bright, saturated colors.


Also, make sure to hop over to Flickr and join the Kaleidoscope Quilt Along group.  You can post photos there of your fabric auditions as well as your progress throughout the quilt along.

I'll be announcing the fabric requirements and the quilt-along schedule on Friday, 6/3 and telling you more about this quilt, to help you with your fabric selections. Are you excited? I know I am! I hope you'll join me :)