Have you ever played with a kaleidoscope. It generally looks like a hand-held telescope. When you hold it up to the light, you don’t see a clear image like with a telescope, but a refracted image. Some refract an image outside. Others have marbles or other materials that are reflected by mirrors. Kaleidoscopes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and complexities, but all bring a unique beauty. It is no wonder they have been a favorite for over three hundred years!
This of refracting and reflecting as also found in quilting through mandala, sun or compass quilts. Motifs and patterns are repeated around the center and to create an amazing image. This is exactly what I wanted to do with Hoffman Fabric’s beautiful collection – “Into the Meadow” (see page 35 of the catalog). Rather than use suns or compasses, I decided to use hexagons, which English Paper Piecing as made so popular again. So the design for Kaleidoscope Meadow is based upon sixes.
To play with hexagons, it helps to understand a little of the terminology. Hexagons are six sided figures typically with equal angles and equal sides. Hexagons are often the basis of traditional quilts, such as Grandmothers Garden. Hexagons can also be divided into smaller shapes. Splitting a hexagon into three equal parts makes crowns. Dividing a hexagon into six equal parts makes kites.
I took these shapes and added them to a Grandmothers Garden layout. Then, I kept adding rings of color until the design was complete. The design was complete, but the colors weren’t quite gelling yet. I have to thank Sandy Muckenthaler of Hoffman Fabrics for her assistance with getting the colors just right for Kaleidoscope Meadow!
The large hexagons in Kaleidoscope Meadow lend themselves to machine piecing, but you can make it by hand if you want. When piecing hexagons by machine, there are two theories, both of which work well. One is to make a mark 1/4″ from each corner and sew seams only to that mark. The other is to sew along the entire edge and pick out the few stitches that extend past where the seams meet. I usually end up somewhere in between – stopping in time for some and picking out others!
We hope you enjoy this pattern as much as we do! It is available for retail and wholesale. Fabrics will be shipping soon.