You know how it is when you fall in love with a quilt pattern and you HAVE TO MAKE IT RIGHT NOW?
That happens to me all the time.
I recently came across this pattern in an old Love of Quilting magazine. It’s an antique kaleidoscope pattern created from a quilt at the International Quilt Study Center, which is the coolest place on earth, by the way.
If you love it as much as I do, you should give it a shot, but before you do, learn from my experience and know this:
1. It’s paper-piecing, which I love but some people definitely do not
2. There are no curved seams, which some people love but I definitely do not (so yay!)
3. The lights and darks matter way more than you think they do
Let’s talk about that third thing. See my quilt up there? Compare it to the quilt from the illustration. I ain’t gettin’ no kaleidoscope in my quilt, am I? No, I am not. As I was making blocks, I really thought I was in the clear. I thought the lights I was using were light enough that they would be in contrast — albeit low — to the darks I had selected. I LOVED all my fabrics. I LOVED making the blocks. I thought I was good.
Then I laid out what I had on the floor of my apartment. Hm.
As you can see, this quilt is not giving me the look I want. But I had worked hours on it! What to do?? I could’ve ripped apart my blocks and set them to the side and taken a risk to continue with my quilt using new, higher-contrast fabrics and blended these blocks through. Depending on the size of my quilt (I was going for queen) this could work. Maybe.
But what I decided to do instead was finish up five or so of the blocks I was ready to make and call it a scrappy baby quilt. It’s still a very adorable little bit of patchwork…it’s just not gonna work for what I originally intended. In fact, it’s going to go into Quilty magazine in 2015, so you can make your own version and try to get that kaleidoscope look if you want.
Anyhow, that’s my little lesson for today. Contrast really does matter. And sometimes, you need to make more than a few “sample” blocks to see if you’re getting the pattern you want. One or two sample blocks probably wouldn’t have shown me what I needed: I needed more of the quilt to see (or not see) the pattern emerge.
Good thing I love making patchwork and quilts, right? I mean, even when you screw up, it’s still the best thing ever.