Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vintage Kaleidoscope and End of Year Sorting

I intended to write about cleaning up my sewing room but Julie wrote everything last week. We must be related: there are millions of shiny, new objects (quilts) in my mind but I couldn't get started until I'd cleared out the scrap bag, sorted the storage and vacuumed, dusted and polished. As Julie said, it's so refreshing to take the time to regroup.

As part of the general cleaning, I pulled out this top. Some kaleidoscope blocks have been around since 1997. About five years ago, I made more blocks, tossed some older ones and sewed the top. It's never been quilted.

Deep red, purple, blue, and blue-green fabrics sorted by value highlight the circles of the kaleidoscope quilt pattern.
Kaleidoscope quilt
This is another quilt constructed using Marilyn Doheny's kaleidoscope ruler. (I can't find photos of the first two made with this ruler. They were lovely and well-loved.) The ruler continues to be useful.

Detail shots include some of the original blocks as well as newer ones.

Kaleidoscope quilt, detail
This design is created with two blocks; both have the same pieces but the value placement changes. It's most noticeable if you look at the darks; they create either an X or a + in the center. The four corner triangles that complete the squares are very light against the dark X or medium light against the medium X. The strict attention to value creates the stronger light circles and diamonds as well as the occasional dark circle "after image."

The center octagons are usually created with two sets of four wedges (alternating dark and medium.) However, many of these have two pairs of darks and/or mediums.

It's still a pretty quilt that should be used instead of languishing on a shelf.  Now it's donated as a veteran's quilt.

Kaleidoscope quilt, detail
Over the holidays I sewed 146 string blocks solely from my [now empty!] scrap bag. In addition to these colors, there are  yellow, orange, black, brown and purple blocks. Perhaps they will become toddler quilts or... ?

String blocks from the scrap bag scraps.
This year I am choosing a scrap block as a leader/ender project to regularly reduce the scraps. There will still be scraps in the scrap bag but hopefully it will take longer to fill. I know I'm weird but a full scrap bag bothers me until it's used.

Enjoy the day,

28 comments:

  1. Wow, Ann, you have really been busy! I love scrap quilts, but I've found that I hate scraps themselves, so very little goes into my scrap box. You have been doing a great job of using all yours! I'm glad that Kaleidoscope found a good home. :D

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    1. I have similar dual feelings. I love scrap quilts but when the bag is full, I can't do anything until it's used. Just need to keep them moving so they never reach the bag. Ha.
      It's good to pass the kaleidoscope on.

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  2. It is a very pretty quilt! And the string blocks look very promising as well. As one who feels no scrap is too small to save, you give me hope for my own scrap bag. A leader/ender project of course! Happy New Year!

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    1. I've tried using crumbs but am not successful. But leader/ender is a great way to keep them out of the bag! I look forward to seeing yours.

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  3. I love string blocks... they are my favorite playtime sewing!

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    1. They always make a great quilt, don't they? Thanks for writing. I look forward to seeing more of yours.

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  4. Very busy! Love the Kaliediocsope quilt. I made one years ago and had a terrible time getting my points to match. This one is beautififul!

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    1. A quiet holiday really helped me clear out many things - sewing room, pantry, linens. Yea! I don't know why but kaleidoscopes are pretty easy for me; other blocks are more trouble.
      I'm glad my old one has a new home.

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  5. Congratulations on emptying your scrap bin! I have so many I could dedicate an entire year to try and use them up. I have made attempts and did make a bunch of quilts from the scraps, but I still have several large bins. I don't know if I will ever get mine used up.

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    1. I only have one small bag for scraps but I'm compelled to use them when the bag fills - no matter what else I should be doing. Try a leader/ender project. It won't end several bins but might make a small dent in one. Thanks so much for writing.

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  6. I've tried leaders and enders but either lack sufficient organisation or application, but this is the year of tiny scraps for me, I think, so maybe this will motivate me to try again. I'm glad your Kaleidoscope quilt will be used and loved.

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    1. Some are more successful for me than others. Success being actually making enough for a quilt. Nine-patches worked better than log cabins for me. Pinwheels were also good. Are you using crumbs? Wow.

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  7. Kaleidoscope quilts are always winners for me.The possibilities are pretty much endless and I do like this scrap on of yours!
    String quilts would be a good project for RSC 2016!

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    1. I'm becoming reinvigorated in kaleidoscopes again. They updated very well, I think. Strings are a good, easy way to keep scraps under some control. :-)

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  8. That kaleidoscope quilt is so beautiful. The strings are pretty nice too!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I do still like this kaleidoscope and am glad it will have a loving home.

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  9. I love your vintage Kaleidoscope quilt! It's a very effective pattern, lots to look at, and nice to know it's gone to a good home too!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. Yes, good to have it being used in a loving home instead of languishing on a shelf. Too pretty.

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  10. My gosh Ann! You made such a striking and beautiful kaleidoscope quilt! How great that you gave it to a veteran. I'm not at all surprised by either. :)
    It's been in my brain box to try and make string pieced blocks out of scraps - then treat them as a solid for later projects. What a great idea to do it at a leader ender project.

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    1. I made nine-patches for years. They were very easy and successful in lots of projects. Then I switched to those tiny log cabins. They were not very easy and I tired of them much sooner. String blocks are my current idea. It was great to use up absolutely every last piece... although the scrap bag is filling up again.

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  11. I can't believe you found the bottom of your scrap bag. That is amazing! Love the Kaleidoscope quilt!

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    1. Isn't that fantastic? Although it's filling up again. Thanks for writing, Em.

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  12. Me ha enamorado tu Caleidoscopio, realmente fantástico. Además yo también soy una fanática de los restos, siempre les tengo que dar utilidad. Y me parece mucho más difícil hacer un Quilt con restos de telas que con tela comprada para hacer el proyecto. Espero ver como siguen tu nuevo trabajo. Un beso

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    1. Thank you so much for writing. I like the kaleidoscope, too, but it is good to share it with someone who will use it. About the leftover blocks - I think each of us have a personal style and our fabrics will go together better than we may think. I'm so glad you like them.

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  13. Wow! I love your kaleidoscope quilt. There are so many designs to view and figure out. I love that every new look at it reveals new designs and images. I very much want to play with this pattern!
    On occasion I get into the scrap bag and sort by color. On other occasions I pull a full color bin down and "make" fabric from the pieces. I've done a few different projects with the fabric but find that I'm not keeping up with the demand. My problem is that once I make a quilt in a particular color (recently pink) I do not want to deal with the pink scraps, so those sit for a while during which time I work with other colors. Eventually I'll go back to the pink scraps and use up as many as my project needs. The piece I'm working on is using orange, yellow and lime, so there are lots of colors to keep it interesting. Maybe I can return to that overfull bin of pink...who knows?
    Your strip blocks look great. The quilt will be stunning.

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    1. I've always liked this pattern because of the secondary circles. It was fun to figure out how to add more fabrics. All in all, a great pattern for me.
      I have a real love/hate relationship with my scrap bag. Mine's a small zippered plastic bag that formerly held some sheets. It helps that it's small. I don't know how people manage multiple large bags. But when it gets full, I have to use them. They bug me until I do. This time I was so desperate I sewed the blocks by color; first time I've tried that. Good luck with yours; they sound much more interesting.

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  14. I love kaleidoscopes. I've never made one in the config you used but might some day. I need to make that ruler pay for itself. How nice it will go to a veteran.

    146 string blocks. WOW. Can't wait to see how you use them. They are so versatile.

    Leaders/enders...I can't do them for some reason. My mind doesn't work like that. Right now I'm trying to see how many different types of quilts I can make from my strings. Time will tell. I've not used them for so long but having them lay around until there's a lot of variety doesn't bother me. I'm a messy person in my own personal space.

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    1. It's funny how different people's minds work. If I choose a good leader/ender, it really helps me keep the scraps down. My mind can't focus when the scrap bag fills up. I hate to "waste" it. Augh! OTOH, you seem to work on multiple long-term projects; something I'm not successful with.

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