Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mask Quilt

My current project uses a kaleidoscope quilt technique with fabric my daughter fell in love with because of all the different colors.  She spotted it in a quilt shop in OK.  I called the store and had them send all they had out here to me in CA. The quilt is made from a gorgeous Kaufman print and I delayed starting for quite a while because I almost felt it was sacrilegious to slice it up.  But it is made of Mardi Gras type masks and I did not want to carry that theme throughout.  I am not a carnival kind of gal.  I do agree with my daughter though... the colors are rich and plentiful and I have been wanting to try this construction method.  (See  to enjoy my daughter's mutual love of color.) 
After aligning the repeats on the fabric (12" for this one) I cut strips. 

I then cut those strips into equilateral triangles.  
Six triangles will go into the makeup of a kaleidoscope-like hexagon.

Although the six identical triangles can go together with any one of the three sides to the outside I was consistent in putting the straight of grain on the outer edge.  It will keep the blocks from stretching out of shape when joined.  The straight of grain is at the bottom edge in the picture, pretty easy to recognize if you look at the wrong side of the fabric.

 Then off to my Pfaff to chain piece all those triangles together...

... first into two pairs that I iron open, 

.. and keep together.

I then added a third triangle to make triplets 

... which I chained pieced together assembly-line style

 ... to make half-hexagons.

But wait, those half-hexagons are not sewn together yet...

... just pinned to keep them together with their mate. (Or shall we say "better half"?)

Then I am off to my design wall (a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth thumb-tacked to one wall behind the door to my sewing room) to spend countless hours arranging and re-arranging.  Here they are just stuck up there pretty much as I completed them. Things progressed a lot faster when I stopped admiring the uniqueness of each one,  moving them around after each new addition, and instead just kept collecting the hexagons in a plastic bin.   My ultimate goal is to group by color so it flows orange, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown across the quilt.  Then I will join the half hexagons in rows.  (Actually from the orientation of the way they are pinned below, they would be joined in columns.) The end product will be the size of a queen bed.  I started with 7 yards of fabric and this will make enough hexagons to just cover the horizontal mattress surface.  I still need inspiration for border and sides that will drop over the edges of the bed. I would like to pull out the cool tones of blue and purple and green as much as possible and minimize the brown. The orange and yellow and white pop on their own and need no additional help.

Two yards of fabric gives six strips sets, each of which makes nineteen hexagons.  I have sewn the hexagons from 17 of the 18 strip sets from six yards of fabric. In other words 646 half-hexagons from 1938 triangles, with 38 half-hexagons from 114 remaining equilateral triangles left to go.  I have a yard of the fabric left.  I will put a portion of it somewhere in the front of or on the back of the quilt. It will be fun to see the source fabric with the completed quilt. I will also photograph it and post it with pictures of the completed quilt.


  1. Points, in the order they occur to me:

    1) Yup, still love the fabric.

    2) Man, I hadn't even thought about sewing on all those biases. I am such a beginner when it comes to triangles! But the triangles you cut out did turn out really really nice. Diamonds are looking good too.

    3) Chainstitching! I am so glad you introduced me idea to the idea, it saves so much time and makes it so much easier to drag your blocks around... I usually don't cut any threads except the end until I have already set all the seams.

    4) Those Hexagons look good, and they're not "all black" at all!

    5) I have told my "better half" that a design wall is a pipe dream for me at our next house: I started envying yours once I played with the one at my quilt store!

    6) Oh my word it looks SO GOOD! All the colors, and the kaliadescope effect, and the colors, and... it is definitely vibrant "ski" colors, even all parted out like that. And the way you describe making it flow sounds really good too - I'm totally stuck on sashing and border suggestions, though: with all those colors that will be a beast!

    7) That is a LOT of Hexagons! Like, wow - by my calculations, the quilt I am working on now is only 249 rectangles, plus 30 triangles - roughly 1/6 of the work you're doing!

    8)I love the idea of putting the original fabric somewhere on the quilt - it's always cool when they show it in the books. And< i can't wait to see how this turns out! It looks really really promising and I'm excited.

  2. I LOVE to make stack n wack quilts. Yours is so beautiful! Enjoy!

    1. Thanks for visiting. How odd that my post you chose to comment on is the one where I did count pieces as you did. It sure can be daunting!

  3. Very pretty! This technique really transforms the fabrics into some interesting hexagons. nice job!

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I need to get inspired to finish this one. I think I picked a fabric with too many colors - if there can be such a thing.

  4. I made a mask kaleidoscope as yours.

    1. And you finished yours? That is great! Is there any way you can share a picture or a link with me? I'd love to see it and be inspired.