Kaleidoscope – a colorful string quilt


Thank you so much for all the wonderful comments and creative name suggestions! I think Kerri was the first person to mention kaleidoscope, and I thought it was perfect as soon as I heard the suggestion. It seems as though many others had the same thought as well – I should count how many actually! – there were many suggestions of the same. So thank you all, and thank you Kerri and everyone else who said kaleidoscope – I think it’s perfectly fitting for this quilt!

[Help! This quilt needs a name! I’ve put off posting about it because I couldn’t come up with anything, but really we have no ideas aside from the obvious, which I guess makes us not so very creative… I’ll post it anyway, with this boring title, but perhaps someone will have a great suggestion and I can change the title and pretend I thought of it… I mean, change the title and give that person all the credit…]

While I really love a quilt with a lot of white, I love love love this quilt with very little white. It’s so bright and colorful, and it contains so many of my favorite fabrics (many that I’ve been hoarding ahem, saving, for some time!)


You’ll remember that I opted to paper piece these blocks (you don’t have to, I just happen to like it). I figured ripping the paper off the blocks would be the most tedious part of this quilt… soooo, I invited my brother Ryan over one night and then put a stack of the paper-backed blocks in front of him. I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist. (Thank you!)

It’s quilted in a random meandering with cream colored thread and measures 48″x 70″.


For the back I used a solid aqua fabric (Amy Butler, I believe…I don’t think I had tried any of her solids, but they’re quite nice!).


It’s the first time for a solid colored fabric for a backing, but I think this quilt called for it. And I’m on a stripe kick so there had to be stripes on the back…

Fun, don’t you think?

(Oh, and Amy, I took your advice and opted against the white binding… while I think I would have liked the look, I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked it when it was showing signs of dirt!)


And, in case you’re looking, I did up a tutorial for these blocks, which you can find here.

This entry was posted in [search] String Quilts, 2009 Finished Quilts, Finished Quilts, Household Sewing - bags, napkins, pillows, Posts about Quilts, Quilts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

119 Responses to Kaleidoscope – a colorful string quilt

  1. 1
    Deb C says:

    You’re not getting rid of this are you? It’s sooo pretty and happenin’! How about this for a name? You have to say it with a little ooomph! “SNAP”
    Like— ‘S aaaaaa NAP’

  2. 2
    Linda says:

    I love the quilt. The colors are GREAT! It reminds me of one of those photo mosaics only the strips look like ribbons, so how about something like Ribbon Montage or Strippy Mosaic—or a combination of the two-Ribbon Mosaic! πŸ™‚

  3. 3
    Jenni says:

    so so so so so so pretty. i could look at this all day.

  4. 4
    Shelly says:

    Luv it! It is bright and happy. What’s not to luv? Well done!

  5. 5
    Kelly says:

    I think I’d call it “All Strung Out”… It’s amazing… just like they always are! πŸ™‚

  6. 6
    Anne says:

    I’m not sure how helpful this is for naming it, but when I saw it, the colors reminded me of tropical fruit Lifesavers!

    Named or not, it is beautiful!

  7. 7
    jacquie says:

    lovely!!! let’s see…how about showcase strings?

  8. 8
    nicole says:

    so stunning, quilt envy πŸ™‚

  9. 9
    Paulette says:

    The colors are so pretty! They remind me of candy or Fruit Stripe gum or Chicklets–sorry, child of the ’60s here. The other thing that comes to mind is the line from the song “Favorite Things,” but as in “These are a few of my favorite strings…” Anyway, that was probably not helpful, but I really love your string quilt!

  10. 10
    Zoe says:

    Sorry – no idea about the name but WOW what an amazing quilt! Beautiful!

  11. 11
    Carrie says:

    Love how the quilt turned out and the back is great too!

  12. 12
    Ellen Ban says:

    How about “Heart Strings” , Since it is full of your(and mine too!) favorite fabrics ? The subtle touch of white is beautiful.
    You never cease to amaze me with all the gorgeous quilts you crank out!

  13. 13
    erica says:

    “Fish in the Water”

    because …
    The bright striped squares remind me of tropical fish and coral and ocean life and the blue striped backing acts as the water/sand/waves. And being that you live in Vermont (compared to me in North Dakota) that’s really close to the ocean.

    So … “Fish in the Water” is my name for it.

    Beautiful by the way – I love it!

  14. 14
    Julie says:

    Ha, I see Paulette beat me to Fruit Stripe!

    I just want to say that string quilts usually don’t make me drool. I appreciate the work that goes into them, like I do for any quilt, and I respect the frugality that drives some of them, like the ones that are made all from scraps. But love them? Not usually.

    Yours? LOVE. Ferociously.

    I keep looking at it trying to figure out what makes this one different for me. It might be the tiny lattice of white between the blocks Ò€” really gives it a sense of order without diminishing the sense of fun.

    Love! Thanks for sharing it.

    • 15
      Fran says:

      I would agree on the comment about the tiny lattice of white between the blocks. I would like to know how that is done…where the place the white strip and how wide a strip you used? Thank you for your help!

      If you could respond to me by e mail I would be delighted!!

  15. 16
    Tami says:

    How ’bout “All of My Favorite Things” because it contains (or CAN contain) bits and pieces of whatever fabrics are on your “favorites” list at the time you are making it! πŸ™‚

    No matter what you name it…it is BEAUTIFUL!! πŸ™‚

  16. 17
    Mandy says:

    This quilt is AMAZING!!! I LOVE it! It is perfect in every way. It looks like a broken mirror to me, reflecting something very colorful.

  17. 18
    Carol says:

    I could look at it all day!!! How do you sew so quickly? It seems you make a new one every day???? I’m flipping out here, lady!!!!

  18. 19
    carolyn says:

    how about “Stringing into Spring” ? πŸ™‚

    it’s gorgeous! love how colorful it is!

  19. 20
    Marissa says:

    How about perceptions of depth. To me it looks like the middle of the squares just get deeper and deeper and you could just be drawn in to them. I love it, you did a great job!

  20. 21
    Sarah says:

    Oh I love it. I think paper piecing isn’t all that bad…especially when you have a helper! The quilt looks great!

  21. 22
    MichelleB says:

    I love the quilt! I love that little strip of white that is between the blocks. That back is fabulous, too. I LOVE Amy Butler solids. They are so soft.

  22. 23
    Rachel says:

    WOW, another amazing quilt Ashley! Love all the favorite fabrics in there. How about Fiesta of Strings (Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner!)? Looking forward to your next project!

  23. 24
    flossyblossy says:

    I don’t name my quilts and seem to just calle them…’The zig zaggy one’…or ‘Our bedroom one’ so have no suggestions. Your first pic of this has inspried me to make a string quilt. So far 4 blocks down, 96 to go!!! Hope mine turns out as beautiful as yours!

  24. 25
    Kristena says:

    Gorgeous! And I love the way you did the back too.

  25. 26
    Emily C says:

    Beautiful and very cheery!! I

  26. 27

    Beautiful quilt – Circus Window is what came to mind. Love the back too.

  27. 28
    kerri says:

    i love this!! i also love white, but this is so striking with just little white borders!!

    the thought that came to my mind was cheery kaleidoscope

  28. 29

    This quilt is one of my favorites. I LOVE it. I want to make one too. All the colors made me think of a circus, so “High Wire Act” or “Trapeze Artist.”

    I have the same question: how, how, HOW are you so productive?

  29. 30
    Jodi says:

    When it first popped up on my screen I thought of a Kaleidoscope! Kaleidoscope is a combination of three Greek words that mean “an instrument with which we can see things of beautiful form. And this is a beautiful quilt! A three-mirror (closed triangle)Kaleidoscope yields a pattern that fills the entire field, which is what your quilt reminds me of. I would call it Kaleidoscope or Three Mirror. ;o) It’s stunning!

  30. 31

    To follow-up on Paulette – how about “The Sound of Music”. Not quite as literal as Favourite Things, but it does capture it.

  31. 32
    Betsy says:

    Looks like a Kaleidescope to me!

  32. 33
    Sophia says:

    Another lovely quilt! I just love it!!!

  33. 34
    katie says:

    This is just gorgeous and so happy looking. How about “A slice of Happiness”? I dunno.. that’s the best I could come up with πŸ˜‰

  34. 35
    Emily says:

    I love this quilt. It’s like a scavenger hunt of all the best fabrics. This one is a strange suggestion, but when I saw the quilt the first thing that came into my head was, “that’s intense!” So my suggestion is “Intensity in ten cities”, a song name and a line from Wayne’s World – a classic.

  35. 36
    Amy Hodge says:

    I love love love this quilt! I’ve seen a lot of scrappy quilts that I didn’t like at all because they just looked too chaotic or too shockingly bright or to dull or whatever. I would love to know if there was some plan behind how you managed to achieve this perfect balance of colors or if it’s just that all the fabrics you happen to love look so great when you put them together!

  36. 37
    Laura Casey says:

    I LOVE this quilt. I had been waiting to see you post a final picture. Nice job!

  37. 38
    Jackie says:

    Love the colors of the quilt. I’m no good at naming quilts but here goes…..Color burst strings.

  38. 39

    Wow, this quilt has turned out lovely indeed. Just incredible, all these colors. I can imagine why you love it so much, but a name, sorry, always my problem too.

  39. 40
    Amber says:

    It’s so gorgeous! Another one to add to my to-do list πŸ™‚
    Looks like you got some great ideas for names – you know how bad I am at names…bribing other people and all!

  40. 41
    Alissa says:

    You are a machine these days! I’m so impressed! This quilt is so so beautiful! I love it.

  41. 42
    Autumn says:

    It’s beautiful….I can’t think of a name, but I love it.

  42. 43
    Amy says:

    It’s spectacular!

    I never name my quilts so I’m no help there.

    I once bound a quilt with a white(ish) fabric and learned the hard way that it shows wear quickly – glad my advice was helpful.

  43. 44
    Heather says:

    I really love this quilt, and the backing looks awesome too! IÒ€ℒve been wanting to do a string quilt, they are really neat looking. I think you should name it Ò€œcan you see me now?Ò€ πŸ™‚ ItÒ€ℒs so bright!

  44. 45
    Jane says:

    i don’t name my quilts because i’m totally uninspired by it, but this one reminds me a lot of a kaleidescope. i made a similar one in red and mostly blue, but i like the effect of so many colors!

  45. 46
    Nichole says:

    I am terrible at clever names too, but just wanted to say that your quilt is gorgeous. I love the back too, and think it is perfect for the quilt. I love your work, thanks for sharing and inspiring me!

  46. 47
    hannita says:

    You amaze me. You have a new project almost every single day. I don’t know how you do it all. And they are all stunning. You have a real sense of color and pattern. This is no exception. I love the small white grid. With all the fun colors, it just keeps it all together.

  47. 48
    Jo says:

    The first thing I thought of was a kaleidoscope – and I see other people thought the same thing as well! It is truly a work of art.

  48. 49
    Fulvia says:

    “Mediterranean Song.” Well done. Just wish for cose-up shots!

  49. 50
    Doris says:

    Rainbow, Color, Spectrum, Strips, Stripes, Ribbons,

    How ’bout “Full Spectrum Strips”?

    Love it, BTW, I am obsessed with string quilts lately and I have about five of them in my head waiting to burst out!

  50. 51
    Frogdancer says:

    I’m in the midd;e of making a string quilt at the moment. Mine is just 4″ squares in a basket weave pattern. I really like the way you’ve put yours together. It’s amazing how colourful they turn out, isn’t it?

  51. 52
    Casey says:

    ooh I love this one! so bright and cheerful!

  52. 53
    heather says:

    This is a FABULOUS QUILT!!!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!! I’m soooo glad amandajean told me I needed to follow you!! LOVE your blog!!!!!

  53. 54
    Angie says:

    So much color, I love it!

  54. 55
    Asiyah says:

    Very nice! How about “Sugar in the Ditch?” It’s weird…I know…but the first thing I thought when I saw the white strings connecting all the others.

  55. 56
    Julie says:

    LOVE it! Your quilts inspire me! I am the only one of my quilting friends who loves brights, and now I have lots more ideas of ways to use them. Thank you!

  56. 57
    anina says:

    I’m not very good at naming quilts, but I had to tell you how absolutely fabulous this quilt is!

  57. 58
    Kate Dixon says:

    What about the name “Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend”

    BTW: The quilt looks fabulous!!

  58. 59
    Leigh says:

    I LOVE this quilt! I’ve been wanting to make an orange/yellow/white one. Did you paperpiece it so that the strips don’t stretch? Maybe you could share a tutorial on that. I’m not exactly sure how to do it.

  59. 60
    Deanne says:

    A good name would be Kaleidoscope. I love this quilt, love it! In fact, of all the ones you have posted, I would say this is my favorite…and that is a tough one because you post such beautiful creations. It reminds me so much of a kaleidoscope I had as a child, the colors just really pop and jump.

  60. 61
    Rae says:

    Girl you are amazing! This one is out-of-this-world fantastic. I have no idea how you pump these quilts out like they were purses. Let me know if you rent out your elves… (;

  61. 62
    ellen larsen says:

    Water Wheel!…for a trilogy of reasons. It has the angular lines of a water wheel, the gorgeous water in the photo background, and the binding is a water blue. I love that quilt, it’s gorgeous! p.s. did you guess, I love water, too!

  62. 63
    amandajean says:

    it. is. stunning!!!!!!!!! i love the front and the back so very much. i just might have to start one of these now. it’s an amazing quilt.

  63. 64
    staci says:

    How about “Spring String Fling”? Not sure why, but that’s what popped into my head. No matter whay you call it – it’s beautiful!

  64. 65
    Emma says:

    Can I PLEASE borrow your brother? Literally as I read, I’m removing fiddly foundations from intricate blocks with lots of narrow points; it’s taking forever. I love foundation piecing, and usually print onto sheets, but for freeform stuff, or with simple blocks, I draw onto plain cotton, which doen’t need removing later. As for your beautiful quilt’s name, the first thing I thought of was liquorice allsorts – but if, like me, you hate liquorice, it’s probably not a great name!

  65. 66
    hilary says:

    What a great quilt! How about ‘kalidescope’ for the name? I think it has lots of movement and that’s the first thing I thought of, even before I read that you were looking for a name for it.

  66. 67
    Alissa says:

    First thing that popped into my mind when I saw it was Prism…not sure why! Love it.

  67. 68
    Dorrie r says:

    String quilts are one on my favorites, lots of scrap usage. For a name, maybe Rhyme & Reason. Named or not, it’s very pretty!

  68. 69
    Amanda A says:

    It looks like a sumer kaleidoscope to me!

  69. 70
    Des says:

    String cheese…..moldy string cheese (because there is green in it πŸ™‚ …….Center Square……Hollywood Squares……..Hollywood Strings……Stringwood…….StringBling…….Blingadingding….String Me Up Scotty…..Scotty Does Stringwood…..Color my World….Color My Strings…..Scotty likes Color……BrightSights…..Skinny White Path…..Follow the Skinny White Path…….We’ve Lost the Yellow Brick Road……Dorothy in Color…….We’re not in Kansas anymore, It’s Vermont…….Vermont Strings……….String Bouquet……

    my brain hurts. Awesome quilt!!

  70. 71
    Bethany says:

    OH MY GOSH!That is gorgeous!!! Wowwww!

  71. 72
    Peggy says:

    “Ribbon Candy” – it reminds me of the hard candy avialable around Christmas time.
    Very pretty!

  72. 73
    Angie says:

    bohemian rhapsody is what comes to mind.. I love it no matter what you call it.. Angie

  73. 74
    Julie says:

    Another stunner Ashley. How about ‘Rainbow Bliss’?
    It has all the colours of a rainbow and it makes me blissfully happy looking at it.

  74. 75
    Jody says:

    Ashley…I think this quilt is awesome given all of the bright colours and fabrics. I love the back as well! What size are the blocks? You said you paper pieced…did you just make your own pattern. Each strip is of various dimensions or all they all the same width in each square? Thanks!!

  75. 76
    Jessica says:

    Ah, I was going to suggest Kaleidoscope but I see Deanne beat me to the punch. Or something with “Refraction” or “Refractory” in it?

  76. 77
  77. 78
    kathy says:

    I’m absolutely in LOVE with this quilt. Everything about it. The colors are glorious.

  78. 79
    Erin says:

    Gorgeous quilt – I would name is “Kalidescope” (sp?) – I have been thinking about doing one of these quilts with my stash of scraps – perhaps this summer? πŸ™‚

  79. 80
    Amanda says:

    Gorgeous quilt – love the narrow white strips. I want to try one now….thanks for sharing!

  80. 81
    amy smart says:

    This quilt is FABULOUS! I’m so inspired and totally on a mission now.

  81. 82
    Sara says:

    Oh wow! It’s absolutely wonderful in every way.

  82. 83
    AJ says:

    I love that back! I’m into stripes as well. Thanks for the tutorial.

  83. 84
    sheree says:

    So fantastic!!!! Love everything about this….it really sings!

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  85. 85
    Carmen says:

    I LOVE IT!!! It has inspired me to get back into quilting…THANX!

  86. 86
    cynthia says:

    stunning!! i love this quilt…thanks for posting. very inspiring!

  87. 87
    Ashley says:

    Ashley, this si so amazing! I love it.

  88. 88
    Kristi says:

    Saw the link to this on crazymomquilts and am blown away! What a piece of art–well done!

  89. 89
    Caroline says:

    WOW this is amazing – and perfect for scraps! Love it

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  93. 90
    Lacy says:

    Do you have a pattern for this quilt? I love it and would like to make one of my own!

  94. 91
    bingo-bonnie says:

    I’m new to your blog and actually googled string blocks and found this post. Love the colorful strings around that tiny skinny white – and have to ask what size is the white center strips? and any tricks to keeping them lined up?

    Thanks for your time on answering me as I’m very curious. I have made 3 string quilts in the past but never with a tiny center and now I want to give it a try after seeing yours.

    Love from Texas! ~bonnie

  95. 92
    jackie says:

    Hi this is a late comment, I just finished the squares for this quilt, what fun to make, I used old telephone book pages for the base, glue stick left over from kids crafts and all my old thin scraps, that I usually toss out. A quilt made out of nothings!!! thanks,

  96. 93
    Martha says:

    I just loved this and actually began my string quilt with the help of the tutorial. I am enjoying the blocks on my design wall. awsume….
    thank you so much I love your web page… so interesting… so much creativiy.
    hugs Martha

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  100. 94
    Mandy says:

    You have inspired me to make a string quilt, you are so clever and creative, I love your blogs.

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  102. 95
    bev says:

    Loved it so much it is the first quilt I am making and wiwth 64 8″ blocks it is going so much quicker than Iever expected, I have 11 left. Your directions were great and I had a roll of brown kraft paper my mother got at office depot when we were moving our business and it works so easy to tear off and I also went to the newspaper office and they sell end rolls of plain newspaper at 75 cents for many yards left on rolls, I also use it on my shop windows to write our ads on etc and it works great also. thanks so much, bev

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  106. 96
    Jennifer Hoffman says:

    I am SO inspired by your work. I am starting a quilt based on this design. I don’t have a ton of fabrics, but I’ve decided to use french blue and yellow as my base colors, mixing in a little green here and there. Your technique of doing the white strip down the middle really sets off the look of this quilt. Stunning. I really admire your work. Maybe when I’m done I can sen dyou a photo of mine.
    Happy Spring!
    Jennifer Hoffman

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  108. 97
    R says:

    Okay, I just have to tell you that I keep coming back to look at your Kaleidoscope quilt about once every week. I have never made a quilt before, but I really really want to try one out; I think this one may have to be on my never ending list of things to sew. It’s so beautiful and very inspiring; it will be an heirloom in your family indefinitely, I’m sure of it!

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  112. 98
    Cynthia says:

    Gorgeous! I love all the color.

  113. 99
    Lynne sullivan says:

    I have.
    Been searching patterns for years, and can find none for the using of neckties.
    As soon as I finish the Afghanistan and quilt I’m working on now done and I think I might
    Try tearing them all apart and make a starburst pattern. I hope to be happy enough
    With it to show off

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  115. 100
    Lyric says:

    Eye candy indeed! I have just found my quilt project no. 2. This is SO exciting. Thank you for sharing.

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  117. 101

    I know this is a late comment, but I really want to make this quilt. How can I get the complete instructions? Such as amount of fabric, how many squares to make, and how to place the blocks. I am still an inexperienced quilter, so I need more info. Thanks so much

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