Sunday, 15 December 2013

working with one fabric - four sided kaleidoscope blocks

Fabric designers spend hours coming up with their unique fabric designs for us quilters, crafters and dressmakers to ooh and ahh over before purchasing.

I have been doing a personal study over the last couple of years making quilts from one fabric.  Basically I chop up a designer's fabric and re sew it making up a different look.  I have used 6 sided kaleidoscope blocks to create these.

Kay Nickels wrote a book years ago about making four sided kaleidoscope blocks from border fabric.  Using her idea of using border fabric and cutting the fabric in the same method I use in a six sided kaleidoscope,  I created  the quilt below (it is finished - but unnamed). 

Border fabric is the fabric used for the center of this quilt.

I wasn't overly happy with the result.  It was ok but I didn't consider it to have that WOW factor.  So I tried again.  This time using fabric from Christine Graf's Sausalito series.

Christine Grafs border fabric from her 2012 Sausalito Series

There is a lot of variation in the design and patterns and the final outcome did have the WOW factor (well I think so :))

So my next idea is to experiment using this technique on fabrics that are not designed as borders.  Would it work?  My first attempt failed.  In fact I cut up the fabric and could see as I placed the blocks onto my design wall that it wouldn't work.  No point sewing the blocks together.

I had a hunt around Thimbles and Threads recent sale and bought "terrain" by Kate Spain.  Cut it up and this is the result:

I can't seem to turn my photo to the right direction.  Anyway, the fabric in my border is the original design.  Although it has worked and looks ok I wouldn't call it an overall success (I'd rate it 6 out of 10).  Its pinned ready for quilting.

So my next attempt was with a beautiful border fabric (Savonnerie by American Jane for Moda which comes in three colour ways) that can be found at Sawmillers (Yvonne imports direct from overseas).  I chose the cream background as a personal challenge (I don't tend to work in cream).  It seemed a real shame to cut it up - but I had to see what it could do.

Savonnerie by American Jane for Moda
Now I bought about 2 meters and unfortunately what I had hoped would work didn't.  The narrow border created strong lines which dominated the overall design.  So in this case, I had to cut the fabric into three different sizes to give this final look.  Final outcome is interesting, possibly 8 out of 10 in my WOW factor gauge but for the amount of fabric bought, I have a small quilt (lots of wasted blank space).  Does have a Christmas feel about it.

So what next?  I'm still not quite finished exploring the four sided kaleidoscope.  On a road trip last week I found this fabric at Krazy Cow. Its called Hotflash by Luella Doss and Andrea Schuster.

Will be interesting to see how this fabric will work.  I'm attracted to the various random shapes and although the colours are the same depth  - there should be enough busyness to make this work.

 In the mean time, hope you all have a merry and safe Christmas.

Happy quilting. Shirls