One-Block Wonders Class Plan

by Maxine Rosenthal

Class Description (Class Option 1): One-Block Wonder—Hexagons
In this 6-hour class each student will learn how to create a kaleidoscopic watercolor using hexagons. Class consists of 3 major parts: creating the hexagons, designing with them and finishing the quilt top. Making kaleidoscopes will give you a firm idea of how your quilt will be designed, what to look for, and what to avoid.

Instructor Supply List

  • Required text: One-Block Wonders by Maxine Rosenthal
  • Flower Pins, have extra in case students don't bring them
  • Design wall - to view the kaleidoscopes from a distance, where the kaleidoscopes can easily be moved around
  • Irons and ironing boards
  • A supply of already made hexagons from one fabric

Student Supply List

  • Required text: One-Block Wonders by Maxine Rosenthal
  • 6 repeats of a fabric, and maybe a little more to add to the border or the back. It is fun to see a slice of the original fabric along with the quilt. DO NOT PRE-WASH THE FABRIC!!!!
    *************** Fabric Considerations *************
    Your quilt will be more interesting if:
    • YOU like the colors.
    • There is a minimal background in the fabric. Too much background produces kaleidoscopes with no design and all background.
    • There is movement - flowers, animals, amorphous shapes. A flowing leaf will produce a more interesting kaleidoscope than a bare stick.
    • Avoid straight lines as in buildings or stripes. They are not as dynamic and they require much more precision when sewing.
    • Skip fabrics with an obvious repeat every few inches, to avoid repeats of exactly the same kaleidoscope - think VARIETY!
    • I like large floral or animal prints. It is interesting to see a kaleidoscope formed of fish tails or lion's noses or the tires of a car or even a cowboy's hand waving as he rides the bucking bronco.
    • It might be helpful, when shopping, to use 2 mirrors arranged in a 'V' placed on the fabric to get a hint as to the kaleidoscopes it will form.
  • Rotary Cutting tools - mat, rotary cutter, rulers - one long, one short, and one a 60 degree ruler
  • Flower Pins. These pins lay flat; flat enough for a ruler to be over them and the ruler will still be flat against the fabric
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Sewing machine

In the Classroom

  1. Cut the fabric into 6 repeats.
  2. Align the six repeats using the flower pins.
  3. Even off one edge along the full 44 inches.
  4. Cut a 3-3/4 inch strip from the newly straightened out edge.
  5. Cut this 3-3/4 inch strip into triangles using the 60 degree triangle ruler, or by using the 60 degree line on a standard ruler.
  6. Sew triangles together to make half hexagons and iron all seams open, and pin the half hexagons together.
  7. Put the completed hexagon on the design wall. Allow the students to complete hexagons from the first strip of fabric.
  8. Talk about segregating the hexagons into different colored piles and adding extra piles when needed.
  9. When there are enough hexagons on the wall, talk about how to design with these hexagons. Use already finished hexagons that you have brought to discuss how to make the transition from one color to the next and which hexagons look better together to form a more seamless arrangement. Allow the students to move their own hexagons around the design wall and to offer comments to each other.
  10. Show how to add half hexagons to the mix to fill in the edges.
  11. Discuss how to sew the half hexagons together to form rows and then how to sew the rows together.
  12. Finally how to cut off the uneven edges, and add borders.

Marketing Idea
Have a contest! Hang all the quilts from a class, showing the varieties made from just one fabric; have customers pick a winner and give the winning quilter a special discount.

Shops could also sell:

  • Special fabrics - The best fabrics for this process are large prints with very little background, especially leaves or animals. The Japanese fabrics are perfect for this too. Alongside One-Block Wonders position 2 mirrors in a 'V' on the fabric so customers can see the kaleidoscopes the fabric will produce.
  • Special rulers - The Sara Nephew 60 degree ruler is the best.

Class Description (Class Option 2): One-Block Wonders—Octagons
Learn how to create a kaleidoscopic watercolor using octagons and squares in this 6-hour class for advanced beginners. In this four-part class you'll create octagons, design with them, add the squares, and finish the quilt top. Making kaleidoscopes will give you a firm idea of how your quilt will be designed, what to look for and what to avoid.

Instructor Supply List

  • Required text: One-Block Wonders by Maxine Rosenthal
  • Flower Pins. Have extra in case students don't bring them
  • Design wall -To be able to view the kaleidoscopes from a distance, where the kaleidoscopes can easily be moved around
  • Irons and ironing boards
  • A supply of already made octagons from one fabric
  • A supply of already made squares from the same fabric
  • Plastic templates of the parallelogram at the back of the book

Student Supply List

  • Required text: One-Block Wonders by Maxine Rosenthal
  • 8 repeats of a fabric, and maybe a little more to add to the border or the back. It is fun to see a slice of the original fabric along with the quilt. DO NOT PRE-WASH THE FABRIC!!!!
    *************** Fabric Considerations *************
    Your quilt will be more interesting if:
    • YOU like the colors.
    • There is a minimal background in the fabric. Too much background produces kaleidoscopes with no design and all background.
    • There is movement - flowers, animals, amorphous shapes. A flowing leaf will produce a more interesting kaleidoscope than a bare stick.
    • Avoid straight lines as in buildings or stripes. They are not as dynamic and they require much more precision when sewing.
    • Skip fabrics with an obvious repeat every few inches, to avoid repeats of exactly the same kaleidoscope - think VARIETY!
    • I like large floral or animal prints. It is interesting to see a kaleidoscope formed of fish tails or lion's noses or the tires of a car or even a cowboy's hand waving as he rides the bucking bronco
    • It might be helpful, when shopping, to use 2 mirrors arranged in a 'V' placed on the fabric to get a hint as to the kaleidoscopes it will form
  • Rotary Cutting tools - mat, rotary cutter, rulers - one long, one short
  • Flower Pins. These pins lay flat; flat enough for a ruler to be over them and the ruler will still be flat against the fabric
  • Basic sewing supplies
  • Sewing machine

In the Classroom

  1. Cut the fabric into 8 repeats
  2. Align the eight repeats using the flower pins
  3. Even off one edge along the full 44 inches
  4. Cut a 4 inch strip from the newly straightened out edge
  5. Using the template provided by the instructor, cut parallelograms from this 4 inch strip, and cut each parallelogram into 2 triangles
  6. Sew the triangles together to form octagons, pressing seams open along the way
  7. Talk about separating the octagons into colors. Making piles of the distinct colors that have been formed
  8. Place octagons on the design wall and design with them. Talk about transitioning from one color to the next and how a seamless transition can be made between octagons
  9. Cut a 2-3/4 inch strip for the squares. Cut into squares. Separate into 2 piles of 4 each and cut each square diagonally to form the square kaleidoscopes
  10. Talk about separating these squares into their own distinct colors, so that they can fit between the octagons. Remember that when a square disappears it is in the right place on the wall. Show them how the wrong colored square stands out whereas the right one disappears into the wall.
  11. Let them use their octagons and squares to design with and allow the students to comment on each other's work.
  12. Talk about sewing the square corners on to the octagons to form the larger square, remembering to use a pin at the top of the block so that you can put it back on the wall correctly after the corners have bee sewn on, it has been ironed, and it has been squared up.
  13. Put the completed octagon back on the design wall where it came from and work on the next.
  14. Talk about sewing the block together into rows and the rows into the final quilt. Then all that is left is adding borders.

Marketing Idea
Have a contest! Hang all the quilts from a class, showing the varieties made from just one fabric; have customers pick a winner and give the winning quilter a special discount.

Shops could also sell:

  • Special fabrics - The best fabrics for this process are large prints with very little background, especially leaves or animals. The Japanese fabrics are perfect for this too. Alongside One-Block Wonders position 2 mirrors in a 'V' on the fabric so customers can see the kaleidoscopes the fabric will produce.
  • Special rulers - The Sara Nephew 60 degree ruler is the best.
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