Kaleidoscopes! As a child I was fascinated by the way the little pieces moved around in the end of the tube. Whenever I turned the cylinder they were reflected by the side mirrors and what beautiful new patterns they formed. They made me think of the bright stars in the night sky and the movement of the planets.
So when I discovered kaleidoscope quilts, I wanted to make one, but first I prayed. An odd beginning? No! With my unmathematical brain, if anything turns out wonky, I know it’s my fault; if it’s good, God’s been involved in it!
I found a fabric with attractive repetitions along its length. Measuring from the beginning, I ran my eye along the edge to be sure I would cut exactly at the end of the pattern before it started again. I sliced off one repeat after another until I had eight identical lengths.
Carefully I laid each one exactly over the other and positioned my wide ruler on the edge of the pile. Once they were cut on the other side of the ruler, I had a heap of eight strips to use. (Stay with me, now!) Without separating them, I cut nine triangles across their width. How excited I was! I knew I was in for nine surprises!
I picked up the first group of eight identical triangles and laid one from it on the bench. The next triangle went beside it with the design matching at the sides and the same points touching in the centre. When I’d used all eight of them and there were no gaps, I stood back. What a beauty! Nothing like the original fabric. (Sorry, no video of my excitement.)
I did the same with the next heap. Soon I had nine amazingly different designs along the bench top. Now to play with them and see which I liked the most. I turned the pieces in each group to make a different point meet in the centre. Ah lovely! What fun!
Yes, beautiful…until I tried to sew them together. I spent more time unpicking seams than building kaleidoscopes. I wondered if the original fabric (shown at left) would have been better left uncut.
I cried out to God in my frustration. Mercifully he calmed me down and eventually all the matching triangles were sewn together with their mates.
Now those eight-sided blocks had to be joined to form the front of the quilt…but I had no idea how to do it! Again I prayed and a patient friend explained how to cut extra triangles from leftover fabric and sew them to four sides of the hexagons. This made straight edges so I could join them.
The border of this lap quilt is made from the basic fabric, but how different are those new blocks inside the square!
I know there are faults in this creation of mine because I sometimes hurried a bit, but my heart still responds to a special message in it: when I try to put my life together, I can’t succeed. But if I let God use his materials for my new life, he creates a miracle! And he has a purpose in it all.
Many years ago these words were written to a church at Ephesus:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
He wants to make lots of masterpieces. Will you let him do that for you?