Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

At long last,  I have finished Kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope Front

Here she is on the fence, all quilted and bound and ready to be hung up in our home.  The first picture was merely the top, unquilted, but I like that image quite fine (it’s my home screen pix on my phone).

Kaleidoscope first block cut

Krista got me started on this process and the above is a photo of my first block, blogged about *here* so I don’t need to redo the gory details (just do a search for “EPP” in my search box, if you do want the whole story).

Kaleidoscope first block begin

I liked how I could sew bitsy pieces together into a new design and they could become something else.

Kaleidoscope more1

I finished my first block in February 2012, wrote about it *here,* using the completion as a sort of a milestone capping off a cancer experience.  While I do like the quick quilts that sew up in a month, or whizzing through a bee block, there’s something gratifying about a longer quiltmaking experience, as it serves as a thread through many experiences and days and months and weaves in and out of other quilts.

Kaleidoscope block 3

I liked how every block was a puzzle, a mystery, waiting to be figured out, laying out the pieces to see what it should become and how to sew it together. I liked that it was portable, going to many doctor’s offices, on a road trip, and certainly while making my way through three seasons of watching Downton Abbey.

Kaleidoscope on computer lid

One center laid out on a computer laptop one night.

Kaleidoscope on a trip

Photographed on a hotel chair, pieced while on a road trip to San Francisco.

Kaleidoscope block another

The way I cut and laid out the pieces was like a twist of the wrist on a childhood kaleidoscope viewing toy, the glass pieces tumbling into another design, another shape.  So I started to think of the blocks as visions through a kaleidoscope.  I didn’t know how many of these blocks to make–it was one of those things I just kept working on and I figured I would know when I was done.

Kaleidoscope three blocks

There were three.

kaleidoscope six

Then there were six.

Kaleidoscope trying out background

And then seven, and I was trying to figure out what to do.  I ordered more fabric (bless the manufacturers who don’t yank their lines so quickly!).  The small bits in the lefthand lower corner didn’t work.  So I went with bigger triangles, trying to let the seven kaleidoscope shapes rise to the top.

Kaleidoscope background ready to sew

I labeled and sewed those together by hand as well.  Then onto the existing top.

kaleidoscope feb 2013

It sat on my pin wall and I just didn’t know what to do–wasn’t really sold on it.  Then I thought about the border, chose the bright lime, auditioned it for placement: large medallions going down the middle of the border, or small ones?  Again, trying to make the quilt center the star, I went with the latter.

Kaleidoscope borders on

Sewing the top to the borders–the only time I used machine piecing on this quilt top. I decided to leave in the papers until it was all sewn, so they could stabilize the edges.  One thing about the edges in this quilt–none were placed with regard to straight of grain, so the top was very flexible, and needed careful handling.

Kaleidoscope Top unquilted

Once those borders were sewn on, the whole top began to sing together again.  And now the next puzzle–how to quilt it?  I let it sit some more, until I worked up the courage to move forward.

kaleidoscope backing

Cut and sewed together more of that second batch of fabric, trying to match medallion to medallion.  It worked well enough.

kaleidoscope pinned

I stretched out the back on my living floor, taped it down, then the batting, then the quilt and pinned it all together.   Still didn’t know how to quilt this thing, so it sat for another spell.  Finally, I realized it was never going to get done if I didn’t get going on it, and I had three days free–all in a row–so found the perfect thread in my bag from the last run to Superior Threads and got going.

Kaleidoscope quilting1

I like to sew on my dining room table.  I put down a placemat for my sewing machine and notions, and let the quilt slip-slide all over as I work.

458547_sk_lg

To grip the quilt because I’m not a fan of quilting gloves, I use that stuff you can buy at an office supply store on my fingers (one brand is SortQuik–don’t know what mine is).

Kaleidoscope evaluate quilting

After two and half days and sixteen bobbins of thread, I wanted to be done.  Really, I did, but the border was a little ripply, so it needed some more.  Final tally?  Seventeen bobbins of thread.  The quilt is 53″ wide by 54 1/2″ long, so that’s fairly dense quilting.  I used a polyester thread with little bit of sheen for the top, as well as Masterpiece, a cotton thread.  I used Bottom Line for the bobbins–it holds more; I did loosen the top tension to get the stitch balance correct.

Kaleidoscope detail 2

Kaleidoscope detail 1

Kaleidoscope Back

The back of the quilt, with the two colorways of the medallions.  I came to really love this fabric: Michael Miller’s Gypsy Bandanna.

Kaleidoscope quilt label

I had decided I didn’t want a narrow border to show on the top, so went with a faced binding.  This label was the last thing to be sewn on, last night as I lay in my bed with my foot propped up on two pillows, recuperating from another surgery (this one not life-threatening, a planned event).  But still, for those of us who like to keep busy, like to be doing, this forced idleness is really hard to deal with.  I plan to try to figure out how to do some quilting this afternoon, my good foot on the sewing machine pedal and my gimpy foot propped up on a pillow on a drawer.  I figure I can get 30 minutes in before I say “uncle,” and head back to bed.

*********************************

This is the 116th quilt I’ve made in my life, and the quilt is also part of the Finish-A-Long, quarter two.

30 thoughts on “Kaleidoscope

  1. A true masterpiece, Elizabeth! Its been great to watch it evolve over the past year and a half, and it finished up beautifully! Congratulations on a wonderful finish!

  2. This quilt is stunning. Love love love. I can’t even imagine 17 bobbins. Have I even used that many??? Amazing!!! Congrats in such a wonderful finish!

  3. That is one beautiful quilt! I am in awe of all the piecing and fussy cutting. And I am glad to see that facing can be done with mitered corner–the only directions I’d seen so far were for four separate sides and straight edge.

  4. I like the story you tell about the quilt that is really about your life. So pleased I could see it in person yesterday! A milestone, and the name is perfect.

  5. I was also thrilled to see this quilt in person–even more spectacular than the photos show. Love love love the fabric choices.

  6. Wow! It’s gorgeous. It must have taken a lot of patience, not to mention care and precision, to cut the pieces for each block. They all look perfect. I was surprised to read that you machine-quilted it. For some reason I assumed that when people stitch blocks together by hand that they also hand quilt the quilt. Hope you’re foot’s feeling better.

  7. OMgoodness!!!! I had no idea that you quilt your quilts on your home machine. This is such a fantastically gorgeous quilt! Your story is amazing and the colors are outstanding. Great work! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  8. I cannot find the completed quilted Kaleidoscope with the binding finished ~ beautiful. Thank you, Jo Stovall

    ________________________________

  9. I love it, and wow, 116 quilts is a lot. I wish I could see the quilting better in the pictures, maybe you can send me some taken in light that shows it off better. What a wonderful finish too. I hope your foot is better soon.

  10. Absolutely gorgeous! Loved seeing the process of it going together. How nice to have that quilt to admire every day! Hope your foot continues to feel better!

  11. Pingback: Finsh-A-Long–Second Quarter Report | OccasionalPiece--Quilt!

  12. This is just fabulous! Fabulous!! I know from personal experience that photos on a blog are nowhere near as impressive as the real quilt in person ~ oh, I would love to run my hands over this lovely quilt!

  13. Pingback: A Grand Day Out: The Valley Quilters Quilt Show | OccasionalPiece--Quilt!

  14. Pingback: Summer Report | OccasionalPiece--Quilt!

  15. Pingback: Circles Block #9–EPP Sew-A-Long | OccasionalPiece--Quilt!

  16. Pingback: Shine: The Circles Quilt | OccasionalPiece--Quilt!

  17. Pingback: K | Quilt Abecedary

Your turn to have a say:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s