Having just made a kaleidoscope quilt the traditional way this new ruler just blew me away!! Oh, if this isn’t news.. don’t pop my bubble let me think it came out after I made that King sized quilt the old way!!
If you have been reading lately, you will know I have kaleidoscope blocks on the brain. Kaleidos can be made using paper foundations or by cutting templates, or by the use of specialty rulers. I recently bought two different rulers, and I am using one of them, the Smart Plate
, to make the quilt I am currently grappling with. I thought I would show you how the ruler works to make the blocks. Sharon Sebrow’s book
is not required to use the ruler, which comes with pretty good directions on its own, but there are some nice examples of how versatile this block is and how they can be combined to make fabulous patterns.
This is the Smart Plate ruler. It allows you to make kaleidos from 2 to 6 inches (finished) in size. The blocks for my quilt are 6″ blocks. This ruler lets you make 12-piece blocks and 8-piece kaleido blocks. I’ll show you a 12-piece block, since that is what is required for my current project. If you are looking at the writing right side up on the ruler, you can see it has a flat top (see the pencil), flat sides, and three angled sides on the bottom.
There are two straight lines on the ruler that are used to place the ruler properly (see the pencils).
The construction of the kaleido block using this ruler requires that you begin by making a pinwheel block out of HSTs. There is a chart with the ruler that tells you the size of the HSTs that you need to make, in order to end up with the right-sized kaleido block. In my case, I began with 4 7/8″ squares, made HSTs out of them, and then joined them to make a pinwheel. To turn the pinwheel into a kaleido, I place the ruler on the pinwheel block, aligning the straight lines on the ruler with the seams of the pinwheel. The flat side of the ruler is nearest to me.
Since I am right-handed, I use the rotary cutter to begin cutting away the fabric from the right, cutting as far as I can around the ruler.
Not being Elasti-Girl
, I won’t be able to cut all the around the ruler without turning the block. In the photo below, the pencil is pointing to the fabric segment that will be closest to me when I rotate the block.
Now I have rotated the block, with the tan fabric segment nearest me. The ruler is placed again with the flat side nearest me, and the flat edge of the ruler is aligned with the edge of the fabric. The straight lines on the ruler are again over the seams of the pinwheel block.
This lets you finish trimming the fabric around the ruler.
You are now ready to add the corners. For a block that finishes at 6″, the chart says to use 2 5/8″ squares cut on the diagonal.
Press and trim.
EDITED to add: Some of the comments about wasted fabric made me go back to the chart of sizes to double-check, and I found that I was indeed making my HSTs too big – in fact, I was using the size needed for an 8-piece rather than a 12-piece kaleido block (fewer pieces mean each piece has to be bigger). So I should be using 3 3/4″ squares to make my HSTs, rather than the 4 7/8″ size I have been using. Doh!