Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kaleidoscope QAL Progress

I've been having fun this week making blocks for the kaleidoscope quilt-along quilt.  I've got 16 of them done so far.

As each block comes together, I do a little happy dance.  Individually, they're just so funky and fun!

But together?

Well, hm. I dunno...

Uh, boy...

See, I knew I would need to pay some attention to value, and maybe I should have had more of an actual plan to do that (what's the expression? failure to plan is...oh never mind).

I really want to be able to see those secondary rings that are created by the difference in value in the various scrappy-ish blocks.  You can start to see it happening here, around the dark blue center block.  Well, at least I husband, for one, cannot.

And I'll be damned if I really know why or how that happens.  I do think I need to have some more contrast between the lights and darks.  For instance, these fabrics looked contrasty enough to my eye...

But when I change the photo to black and white, you can see that they're mostly medium (gray).

So I'm learning as I go.  I think I may need to go fabric shopping to fill in the gaps in my stash of true darks and lights (oh, darn), and maybe think about scale as well.  If, with a bit of course correction, I still can't get it to work out the way I envisioned it, it'll end up the "CC" quilt, which I will embroider in full on a label in rainbow colors!  So there's that.

And all is not lost with any blocks I don't end up using, because Christina at A Few Scraps has just put out a call for 12.5-inch orphan blocks for her Black Rock Stitchery project.  She's taking a treadle sewing machine to Burning Man!  Doesn't that sound awesome?  You can help too, just click HERE to read her post.

I'm a bit late to the linky party, but I'm linking to Sarah's Can I Get a Whoop-Whoop? Lots of good stuff to see over there this week!


  1. Thanks for showing the tip on converting to black and white - I think I've seen that before but forgot about it. I have trouble with value with many prints. I love the Kaleidoscope blocks though - and many of yours do really "pop"!

  2. Wow - that's really wild, seeing the value differences in B&W as compared to in color.

  3. I never ver think about values of fabric or tone or any of that other high brow stuff. At least now I have one trick in my arsenal if I ever need to !

    I think as individual blocks your quilt sings, and to be honest I love them as a quilt layout too, but I can see it's not the POW look you were going for.

    Push on my friend..the shopping expedition sounds like the way to go (At least you know what you're bloody doing -I'd be sitting there crying wondering why it wasnt coming together!)

  4. these blocks are so pretty - will be a fantastic quilt when you are finished with it.

  5. All are great in their own colors! But, if the value thing is important, I guess we all need to learn to photograph our fabrics before we cut. Personally, they all work in my eye ~

  6. I'm totally giving you a Whoop-Whoop because I LOVE it! I can see the secondary rings in more than just the one spot you pointed out and I think that it is really bright and cheerful and to darn much fun! Love it! Beautiful job!

    xo -E

  7. The blocks are beautiful - it's going to be a stunning quilt!! Whoop whoop!!

  8. I suppose to bring out the secondary pattern, being picky about value is necessary. That said, I really LOVE, those funky, kind of retro looking fabrics you're using. Awesome!

  9. I don't really understand the values thing .. should there be certain values in each block?

  10. What a great tip using the B/W snaps to determine values! I love all your blocks, and can't wait to see how your shopping remedies the layout. Happy Sunday! ☺

  11. I just love these blocks and the happy look of the blocks together.

    I think if you want that secondary pattern I'd look at quilts that have it and see what makes it happen. I agree it would be great to have that extra "happening" but I do love the way your blocks are looking.

  12. Oh,oh,oh-in your little thumbnail on Sarah's blog I can see the circle around the blue block...maybe you need to shoot a pix of your quilt from further away?!

  13. the "secondary rings" are a result of light/dark placement within each block. You need two block value arrangements:
    A) light triangles on dark wedges in the block corners, with the light wedges in the middle of each side
    B) dark triangles on light wedges in the block corners, with the dark wedges in the middle of each side

    BTW: "light" and "dark" are relative... a medium can be the lighter value in one block (if paired with a darker print), and the darker value in another block (if paired with a lighter print.

    When arranging your blocks into the quilt top, alternate A and B blocks in each row and column:
    A-B-A-B-A in one row, then B-A-B-A-B in the next, and so on.

    In your post, take a look at the pair of blocks you think look okay: that's because you've got an "A" block paired up with a "B" block.

    In the next pair you show, which doesn't seem to work, that's because the dark wedges in both blocks are in the same position.

    I also notice that some of your blocks have corner triangles that put a dark against a light wedge or vice versa, but some have a light corner against a light wedge. That will dilute your "secondary circles" effect a little, but if you take care to alternate the dark/light wedges you'll still see a more "circular" effect overall.

    Thsi may make more sense if you study the block pics I've posted on my blog, because what I've just described is the layout I'm using:

    I use a lot of mediums, BTW, and they will work for this so long as you are careful about pairing them with a lighter or darker print as necessary within each block.

    Hope that helps,

  14. I agree with what Venus said! Can't wait to see your progress, it's great so far. Thanks for spreading the word, you rock!

  15. I discovered your blog Sunday morning and love the kaleidoscopes. Some how I came across your double pinwheel quilt and the block inspired my afternoon play in piecing it with a little variation. Thanks for your inspiration !
    I hope you don't mind that I put a link on my blog to yours.


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