Today I finally get to start sharing what I have been working so hard on for the last six months! And just a warning – this is a really long post, as I wanted to share a little bit about the thought process behind the concept, along with all the pictures. There is a reward if you make it to the end
It seems that each time I set out to start designing some new projects, it gets harder and harder. There are several reasons that I find it so challenging – and these reasons do not include my busy 10 month old boy! I have been in the industry for quite a while and have done lots of patterns and books. If I counted right, this is my 26th book! After doing that many books and patterns, I often feel that it is practically impossible for me to come up with something new and original. Plus, add to that the hundreds of other designs already on the market and it can feel like a very overwhelming, often impossible task. Sometimes I decide I am okay with just coming up with a design that I think is cute, but most of the time I really wish for something unique.
One day, while machine quilting, I started thinking about quilts that I want to make – just for fun (what a novel concept ?!?!). My mind seems to wander quite a bit while I am machine quilting, so I use that time to do a lot of thinking (kind of like some people that have all their good ideas in the shower).
The thought that came to mind is that I have always wanted to make a kaleidoscope quilt. (You can click here if you want to see a few images of a basic kaleidoscope quilt – though this page also has lots of intricate kaleidoscope quilts). The basic kaleidoscope shape has a 45-degree angle at the top and a 67 1/2-degree angle in the two bottom corners. It’s really just a simple triangle, but it can be made into some really fun shapes. As I began focusing on that shape, I started to wonder how I could use strip units to make some new blocks. Those thoughts became the quilts in my new book “Angles with Ease” and led to the production of my companion ruler the “Triangler”. Books are a huge investment of time and money, but finally I had something that was new and different. After months of going back and forth, and with too many options to fit in a single pattern, we decided to move forward with production.
So, after all that, today I get to share the strip pieced quilts from the new book! (Later this week I will post on the other projects from the book)
I just fell in love with the concept that such unique shapes could be made from the strip units. In the past these shapes could only be made with separate templates for each little triangle. Then you had all the intricate work of lining up and sewing all those angles, pieces and bias edges. Strip units are so much easier! Each of the blocks requires a different strip unit – with different widths, setbacks, etc. Here are just a few of the strip units from the book:
They don’t look like anything special – but each one has been carefully calculated to get just the right number of triangles for each block, in the correct sizes, with the correct angles etc. My brain still hurts from doing all the calculations! But now that all the math and figuring is done, all you have to do is use the ruler to turn the strip unit into these:
Again, these don’t look like anything special, but when you sew them together, you can make some really fun blocks. If you look closely, you see the kaleidoscope triangles in the blocks below.
The triangles can be sewn into the octagon shape you see on the right, or you can add corner triangles to make the square blocks shown on the left. This means lots of layout options! But, more importantly, I think breaking it down shows you how much simpler the blocks are to make than they look at first glance (which is a very prevalent theme in my designs)
So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s looks at the quilts that are made from those simple triangles.
First up, the cover quilt: Cosmo - featuring the fabric line Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie and Camille
By the way, none of the blocks are “set in”. The quilt is constructed in rows, just like the quilts from my “Sizzlin’ Sixties” book. This is the quilt that I think looks most like looking into an actual kaleidoscope.
Next up – Spin Cycle, featuring my Summer House fabric line.
If you are worried about lining up those block centers, simply cover them with a small circle. Now nobody will know if you centers match or not!
This is just one of the many size options included in the book (which is another reason that my brain still hurts!) There are over 30 size options included in the book, so each design has several sizes to choose from. I wouldn’t want you to have to go through the agony of all that math!
This fabric line is called Aspen by Basic Grey, for Moda fabrics.
The third design – Winter Solstice, featuring Kate Spain’s new Christmas line “In from the Cold” , also by Moda.
The fourth design: Sunday Spin, featuring the “Strawberry Fields” fabric designed by Joanna Figueroa for Moda fabrics.
Rising Star, again featuring my Summer House line.
I really had fun machine quilting this one.
This design also makes a cute topper. I always get lots of people requesting patterns for round tables and this one would work perfectly.
You just need a few fat quarters and 2 half yard cuts to make it. A few kits are available here.
For those of you who have made it to the end of this post, I am giving away a copy of the book and ruler. Just leave me a comment stating your favorite quilt and you will be entered to win!
I will be back in a few days to share the rest of the projects from the book!
The books and rulers started shipping to quilt shops last week, so they should be at your local shop soon. We also have them available in our online store.