Tuesday, 28 March 2017

My Old Kaleidoscope Quilt

After seeing the lovely antique quilts at our last Flowerpatch Quilter's meeting I thought it might be fun to show you a quilt that I made some time ago... no, not an antique but it is over 20 years ago that I made it!

All the fabrics used are secondhand from jumble sales and were originally either skirts or blouses. Already they had that slightly washed out look and lent themselves perfectly to a quilt that I wanted to have a slightly aged appearance.

Only one design block is used for the whole quilt and it is a 9" kaleidoscope square. This is the one in the centre of the quilt.

It is simply the placement of the fabrics that makes the overall pattern. This is another square where the kaleidoscope is a bit more difficult to pick out.

I made up the quilt in 9 sections, each having 9 blocks. These are the 9 in the centre. There is just one of these sections.

These are the 9 in the corner. I made 4 of these - identical. I've drawn lines so that you can see the individual blocks more clearly.

These are the 9 blocks that make up the side sections. Again there are 4 of these all identical.

After making all 9 sections I sandwiched them individually with polyester wadding and some soft calico for backing so that I could hand quilt them easily in the evenings watching TV. I quilted in lines to compliment the overall pattern. These lines are only about ½ “ apart to emulate an old quilt where quilting had to be quite close to hold the wadding in place. The quilt is lovely and soft and cosy because of the softness of the fabrics and the hand quilting.

I particularly like the way the darker fabric makes an interesting border to the quilt.

This is one way to draw a kaleidoscope block.
Cut a piece of paper the size of the finished block (which in my quilt was 9" square) Fold the paper along the diagonals and also edge to edge. Then mark the centre of the square on the reverse.

Fold an edge to edge crease onto the adjacent diagonal crease from the centre point, and use a ruler to draw a line as in my pic. Just check that this is right by folding to the same diagonal from the edge to edge crease on the other side.

Repeat so that you have a line across each corner. Join up the places where these lines meet the edge of the paper, drawing through the centre...... Voila!

To check that your kaleidoscope is accurate, measure the length of a corner line. This should be the same as the triangle next to it as measured along the edge of the paper.

You can use your drawing to make cardboard templates for traditional piecing or use it to draw out a pattern for foundation piecing. For the latter you would make the block up in two halves and then sew them together.

Thank you for visiting - Anita x


  1. What a beautiful quilt. I love it!!

  2. I love kaleiscope quilts; it is my very favorite block. I've made three in my 25 yr quilting hobby. I am so in awe of this beauty that you created! So well thought out! Isn't this block amazing? Your color choices are fabulous and the quilting just makes it stunning! Hand quilting at that! You are my hero.