In her Making Kaleidoscope Blocks DVD Janet shows how to make both 8-Point and 6-Sided Kaleidoscope blocks.
The most important factor in achieving an interesting effect, when making these blocks, is the choice of fabric.
The way we achieve the kaleidoscope effect is to use identical pieces of fabric to form the block.
We have to ensure that these pieces of fabric match exactly by using the “repeat” of the pattern along the length of the fabric.
The best fabrics to use have large but closely arranged designs.
Use your favourite bright colours, but don't worry too much about the actual motifs.
If you prefer more subtle colours, make sure your fabric has well defined motifs.
Choose fabric designs with a variety of different shaped motifs, particularly a mix of geometric and organic shapes.
Designs in a striped arrangement, although not plain stripes, are quite effective, particularly in the “8-Point Star” kaleidoscope block.
Avoid fabrics with small prints, such as little flowers, stars, spots and those with regular stripes.
Also avoid fabrics with widely spaced motifs that have a high proportion of background.
One trick I like use, when choosing my fabric, is to use a hinged make-up mirror.
Or you can tape two small mirrors together along one edge.
Open the mirrors to an angle between 45 and 60°.
Place on the fabric and look into the two mirrors to get an idea of what the finished design may look like.
When buying fabric, you will need to buy a length which will give you enough repeats in the pattern.
Work out the length of the pattern repeat for the fabric. The “true” pattern repeat shows along the selvedge approximately every 24-30 inches.
This “true” repeat is usually sub-divided into 3 or 4 repeats within it. These are the repeats we shall use and they are usually 6 to 8 inches appart.
To find out how much fabric you’ll need, multiply the length of this pattern repeat by 8 or 6, depending on the style of kaleidoscope block you are making,
To make 8-point stars from a fabric where the pattern repeats every 7 inches you’ll need to buy 56” fabric, which is about 1.5 metres.
You may find that some fabric repeats are too small for the size of the block that you are making. So simply double the number of repeats to 16 for an 8-point star or to 12 for a hexagonal block.
Don't be tempted to try and use the pattern repeats across the width of the fabric. You’ll find that these are not accurate repeats. They are often slightly distorted and will give disappointing results.
Other Patchwork Quilting DVDs Available...
Introduction to Foundation Piecing Blocks DVD
Cathedral Window and Secret Garden Blocks DVD
Trip Around the World and Bargello Quilts DVD