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Lucy Boston POTC Tutorial – FINAL PART

Lucy Boston POTC Tutorial – FINAL PART

Ups! I did it again… promised to promptly write up the final part and then life got in the way.

My sincere apologies for the long delay!


This tutorial could also be titled: ‘How to finish the edge of an EPP quilt’


The first job when it comes to the outside of a quilt is to consider the look you want to achieve!

Does your quilt ‘sing’ as it is right now?

Or does it lack some impact??

Often a ‘mediocre’ quilt can be saved by a good border. And when I say ‘border’ I usually mean more than a 2 or 3 inch strip on the outside of your quilt! Many quilters seem to run out of steam or ideas when they come to the border of their quilts and often seem to ‘rush’ in order to ‘get it done’.

But, like any picture in a good frame, a quilt will benefit greatly by a well proportioned and complimentary border.


I personally like to add 3 to 4 strips around my quilts and in my view they act as a frame to make the centre ‘sing’.

On ‘light’ quilts I play around with dark border fabrics and any ‘dark’ quilts benefit from a lighter ‘inset’ strip. Sometimes a combination of contrasting colours works really well.

I also like to vary the depth of these border strips: starting with a 1″ strip, then a  1/2″ or even 1/4″ strip, followed again by a wider one.

But I am rambling on, sorry :-)

All border fabric considerations should start with a ‘show case’ of possible fabrics.


I had managed to acquire some (1.5 m) matching light duck-egg blue fabric (with the large trees and birds nests) from the same Moda range (this is an old range, so no point going hunting for it). And I also wanted to add some more brown and the dark red (for impact). Here are a few arrangements that I considered:


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One thing that quickly becomes clear looking at these pictures is how well the  edge of the cream stands out on the red fabric, it is making a feature of it!! I LOVED it! This is just the kind of effect I like, especially since the very outside border was going to be rather wide and ‘pale’.


Once the decision was made I calculated (and measured) how wide I wanted this red border to be, carefully taking into account that I needed a good (1/2 in or 2 cm) ‘overlap’ on the back of the ‘pieced edge’.

The raggedy edge of the paper pieced centre is now going to be appliqued onto this strip of red fabric:


Note: I left the paper pieces in the project, but only on the very outside edge! This stabilises the edge and you are less likely to accidentally ‘stretch’ it when you pin it in place on the border strip. I also find that it makes the applique easier.


Next I marked a line on the right side of my red strip about 1/2 in (2 cm) from the ‘inside’ edge (see picture, the paper pieced bit is going to be on the top side where the pen it!)





The strip seems very wide at this moment, but the ‘raggedy’ edge will cover quite a bit of it (hence you need to measure well in preparation).

Now the paper pieced edge is placed onto the red strip and carefully aligned with the marked line (I used the small straight bit that is parallel to the edge and butted it up to the line) and pinned into place.





In the next step the pins were replaced with large tacking stitches (see next picture)

and the edge finally stitched down (appliqued with a blind stitch, using colour matched thread).


I normally work the two opposite sides of a quilt at a time (as in: do the top and bottom of a quilt and then the left and right sides of it). The corners can be mitered (if you wish) or ‘squared off’ in any fashion you prefer (or can manage).




Once you have finished wit the applique stage you can remove the tacking stitches (carefully snip them with fine scissors in short intervals, then they are really easy to pull out) and turn to whole piece over:




As you can (or can’t?) see, the applique seam is barely visible, because I used red thread. Note also how far the red border overlaps the pieced bit and note how the paper pieces are still in place!


Now you can take a good pair of scissors and carefully trim back the excess fabric to about 1/4 inch (5-7 mm). This exposes the paper pieces and they can now be removed (snip and then pull out the tacking treads, the paper pieces can then be removed without damaging them).


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This whole process may seem very daunting if you have never done it before, but it is not difficult and in reality does not take very long!!!


Of course this method can be used for all sorts of paper pieced quilt edges, and talks the worry out of ‘having to make the paper-pieced edge straight’ :-)


Once you have added your applique border you can then add more borders by sewing machine

- and before you know it you will have another quilt DONE!!! :-D


I added 2 more borders to my Lucy Boston POTC and here is the finished quilt:




And as promised here are a few close-ups of the fussy-cut blocks: I know they are not spectacular compared to the work of some other quilt ladies out there, but I am very happy with them.

(the quilt has also been hand-quilted in the meantime, but the weather has been too bad recently for a photo shoot, but I will put one in the quilt gallery eventually)


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I hope you enjoyed the final part of the tutorial (apologies again for the long delay in publishing it).


Thank you very much for stopping by!

Kindest regards




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Lucy Boston ‘Patchwork of the Crosses’ tutorial – PART 2

Lucy Boston ‘Patchwork of the Crosses’ tutorial – PART 2

Apologies for the long waiting time!

I am not entirely sure what has happened this summer, but before you can blink is seems to be gone again.

However, Ria’s question regarding the publication date of part 2 has given me the required push to pick up the Lucy Boston POTC (Patchwork Of The Crosses) again and finish it at last :-)

This tutorial is quite long!!! But I thought it best to include as such information as possible.


All roads lead to Rome:

Over the last few months whilst stitching my Patchwork of the Crosses blocks together I have learned that there are several different ways to approach the quilt assembly!

There is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’, they all have their merits and I suggest you look at them all and decide for yourself which assembly way is the best for your project.

Some people patch the joining ‘corner’ blocks together separately and then add them in (example 1 below). I thought this was a very smart way of doing it!

But unfortunately I had done my main POTC blocks differently (and I wasn’t going to ‘un-sew’ patches again!). If I do another POTC quilt I would try this for sure (picture and quilt by Carrie Quinn from, found on Pinterest). Note that each cross block has small squares on only 2 sides. This way you can twist them around to fit together.




Another quite similar approach I found on the internet was this one, published in ‘Popular Patchwork’, where 3 types of blocks are stitched (1, 2 and 3 as shown in the diagram). One block is the ‘main’ block (POTC), one block makes up the ‘corner/joint’ and one block comprises the ‘path’ (including the little squares). Also a neat way of approaching the assembly all in all.


potc popular


However, both of these approaches were unsuitable for my blocks (due to the fact that I had already added the ‘path’ pieces all the way around).


Therefore I assembled my POTC blocks in the (for me) most obvious way: Butting them up against each other and filling in the gaps with squares.

This way there were no fancy layouts or extra blocks to be made and consider, just the order of the different blocks in each row.




ASSEMBLY process:

My quilt was going to be 3 x 3 blocks in size.

Because each block looked a little different from the next, I shuffled them around in the layout on the floor until I was happy with the colour distribution throughout  (and made a note of their placement).

Since I was using 1 inch Honeycombs, the little Squares were also of 1 inch size.


The first decision to make is: What colour to use for the little linking Squares?

I quickly decided that they had to provide good contrast to the cream ‘Background path’. Brown was the colour of choice in my case.

Also: I had a very ‘shredded’ looking piece of the brown fabric left over after fussy cutting bits for several blocks. I thought this was an excellent way of using it up! :-)


The original quilt uses the same fabric for all setting Squares in the pattern. However,I thought it would be more interesting to vary the fabrics. Also, I was not sure that I had enough brown fabric for ALL the little Squares. Therefore only the Squares needed on the ‘inner’ sides of the quilt were going to be brown, on the very outside of the quilt the Squares were going to be red! And I was going to use a different brown fabric for the setting Squares in the corner blocks.

The original quilt uses only 1 inch Squares! Many of these are also fussy-cut, creating extra interest in the corner blocks, where 4 little Squares make up a bigger 2 inch Square.

Unfortunately I felt that my fabrics did not really lend themselves to fussy cutting on such a small scale. Perhaps I was also a little too lazy? Who knows. Anyhow, I had the lovely birds nests motifs that fitted a 2 inch Square perfectly! So I am using 2 inch Squares in the centre of the corner block.


But I am getting ahead of myself – on to the actual stitching:


I started work on the center block and added brown Squares on all four sides. Then I also added 2 additional brown Squares in all four corners of the central block (see pictures below).


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Then the small brown corner squares were sewn in on the blocks to the left and right (on the side of the centre block only)  and all blocks were stitched together.




Now sets of brown squares, at the top and bottom of the side blocks, were also added, so that this row of blocks was ‘complete’ (sorry, no photo).

Next I added the 4 fussy-cut 2 inch Squares, sewing in 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom, as shown in the pictures below – I decided to ’tilt’ mine, so that the quilt could be viewed from all four sides, and still would look the same.





To fully finish this row of the quilt (for now) I added the small red Squares on the outside (left and right – see below).





Centre row done! :-)  Now I could tackle the top and bottom row of the quilt.



I started again with the middle block, adding the small brown Squares on the left and right side (only!). I also added the brown ‘corner’ Squares, but only where the block would join onto the 2 inch ‘bird’ Squares.

Then I stitched the block to the left and right hand side onto the middle block of that row to create a whole row. To finish the row off (for now) I added small red Squares on the outside of each block (note: the block on the top right side corner is incomplete in the picture).  The bottom row of the quilt was constructed in the same way, mirroring the layout as shown in the picture below.




The 3 rows are now ready to be stitched together! Not that difficult really once you have decided on your choice of fabrics. It did not take very long to do all the stitching!

Note: I always remove as many paper pieces as possible from the quilt/block as I stitch items together. This reduces the bulk you are handling and makes sewing easier. But I always leave the outermost pieces in place!




 The Border:

I was not sure how I wanted the corner blocks on the outside of the quilt to look. Therefore I decided to add on the outer part of the ‘path’ first.

You can see that the quilt assembly is really very much like a jigsaw puzzle – you cannot do an awful lot wrong. This suits me well because I like jigsaws and do not often ‘plan’ my quilts :-)

To add the ‘path’ on the outside of the block I first stitched sets of Honey comb doublets and then added one Honey comb set at an angle on each side of the doublet:




Once they are stitched into a unit they were added onto the quilt edge all the way around the quilt thereby encasing the little red squares. In total I made 12 of these units – one for each POTC block on each side of the quilt (4 x 3 = 12).





I admit that the quilt looks a bit odd at this stage :-)  but the little Squares on the outside do look really good now, don’t they?

As I said, I wasn’t sure which fabrics to use in the (now very obvious) gaps. But I could not put this decision off for ever, and since I really loved the effect of the red Squares on the outside I thought that a red centre with blue surround might look nice. And since I was strapped for time (or lazy?) I decided to use 1 x 2 inch paper pieces instead of piecing pairs of 1 inch Squares.  Notice how I played around a little with semi fussy-cutting the blue strips? :-)




I made 8 of these units and sewed them into the gaps. This may seem strange, because in the next step I add another unit on top at the same place (see below), however, it made the sewing easier (more straight seams) this way. As the sides stand now this is going to be the final ‘pieced’ edge of the quilt – except for the corners.




Now there are only the 4 corners to consider:

Mine were going to be red and – to fulfill my need for symmetry – I did piece them from Squares  – where necessary. In total I needed 8 Squares (1 in),  2 Rectangles (1 x 2 inch) and 3 Honey combs for each corner.

Of the 8 Squares only 5 were covered in the red fabric. All other pieces were covered in the background colour (cream). You could stitch them together in any order you prefer of course, but I did them in this way: adding small units together and then adding these bits onto the quilt, as shown by the numbering in the 2nd picture.




Now the paper pieced part of the quilt is done!!! :-D

Here is what it looks like at the end:  Yay!!!





Because this tutorial is very long already I will show details of the fussy-cut blocks and addition of the final borders in a separate blog (to follow this one real soon! Promise!).


Thank you and Happy Stitching!!!


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Lucy Boston ‘Patchwork of the Crosses’ tutorial – PART 1

Lucy Boston ‘Patchwork of the Crosses’ tutorial – PART 1

When I first decided to add the Honeycombs to our paper shape selection I personally had never heard of the famous Lucy Boston quilt! But a dear friend hotly insisted that I had to do the  Honeycomb shape because they were such fun to work with.

What can I say? – She was right! Thank you, Julie!  ;-)


Now, six months later, I have made a lovely little table runner (‘Spring Honeys‘) and several other small projects.  And whilst ‘playing’ with the Honeycombs I have discovered at least two more patterns you can do with them! (I say ‘discovered’ and not ‘designed’ because I am sure the patterns exist already and have not sprung solely from my own imagination).

But I have not had the opportunity yet to make a ‘proper Lucy Boston’ style quilt until now. Here is a close up of the original quilt showing just a few blocks.




The pattern is so intriguing (and popular!) because each block looks different due to changing placement of light/dark colour values and  clever fussy cutting of fabric motifs. I have never fussy cut ANY of the fabric I use – so this is a first for me too (with variable success rate as it turns out, but more about that later).

As in the original I am using 1 inch size Honeycombs (2.54 cm) and the pattern also requires matching 1 inch Squares. These can be found here




The original Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt is enormous in size (88 x 99 inches /224 x 252cm), made up of 56 blocks (7 x 8). We do now stock Linda Franz’ book about the quilt on our website, it is a slim but super book that gives the pattern and good instructions and a lot of the history of the quilt! You can find the book here.


Unfortunately I do not have the time to make it that size (the tutorial would never be finished this side of 2020). Therefore I have decided to make mine just 3 x 3 blocks. That also means that I can probably get away with using a fat quarter bundle for the Honeycombs and about 1 m of cream fabric (which I happened to fall in love with at Malvern). Don’t go hunting for the same fabrics (Winters Lane/Mods), it was a range from 2013 that is pretty much sold out everywhere which also meant that I had trouble finding enough fabric for a matching border.

For each  quilt block shown in this tutorial you will need:

16 Honeycombs covered in patterned fabrics (2-3 different fabrics per block). This block is then surrounded by a further 20 Honeycombs covered in the ‘background’ colour. Here I am using cream fabric (as in the original Lucy Boston quilt).

NOTE: A keen observer might now point out that MY quilt blocks are actually SMALLER than the originals, and that would be a correct observation! The original Lucy Boston quilt blocks are made from 24 Honeycombs, which are then surrounded by a further 24 Honeycombs in the background colour. I decided that the block would be too big for the quilt I was planning to make and therefore omitted some pieces. Here are some pictures to show you the difference between the two block sizes.


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They each look nice and have their merits. It is perfectly OK to change a pattern aspect in order to make the pattern work for you, but some quilters may disagree! (Well, I have no time for the ‘quilt police’) :-)


Cutting the fabric:

For most if the paper piecing projects that I do I usually cut my fabrics into strips (using a ruler and rotary cutter, or simply scissors) as I find this a very convenient way to cut my fabric for the pieces. You can figure out the strip width by measuring the width of the paper piece and adding (at least) 0.5 inches for the seam allowance (one quarter inch on each side).

I then simply place the paper piece onto the fabric strip and cut off the amount needed with scissors. This method works well or most types of shapes (including Hexagons).




That means that for the Honeycombs you COULD rotary cut a 2 inch strip of fabric. However,then the direction of the weave would run down the center of the shape, which is not ideal (workable, but not ideal). It is better to cut a 2.5 inch strip and stand the shape ‘on its side’ as shown in the photos. So in principle you are cutting  squares off the fabric strips (and the grain is aligned with one of the sides of the 90 degree tip of the shape -sounds more complicated than it is). Then the excess fabric at the corners is trimmed back and you can get on with covering the papers with the fabric as normal (for a paper piecing picture tutorial see the ‘How to’ category on the main menu bar).


The block assembly for the Patchwork of the Crosses is quite simple.


Starting in the center you stitch together 4 Honeycombs into a cross (hence the name of the block), then you add another 4 Honeycombs (covered in a different fabric), nestling them into the axles of the cross.




In the next stage you stitch 4 ‘pairs’ of 2 Honeycombs each together first. Then these ‘Doubles’ then get stitched to the long sides of the block (so that they sit on top of the tips of the inner cross).




Now, this is were MY block deviates from the Lucy Boston original Patchwork of the Crosses block! In the original you would now add another set of 4 Honeycomb doublets into the gaps between the previously added doublets (in the pictures here that would be between the red doublets). These are the pieces that I have decided to omit in my Patchwork of the crosses block.

In MY version of the block the ‘inner’ part of the block is now finished, and I can start to surround the inner part with Honeycombs covered in t he cream fabric. This again done by stitching them into 4 sets of doublets first and then adding them to the inner part (see photos below).

After the first set of cream Honeycombs you then add another 4 sets of Honeycombs, but only this time around you stitch 3 together (side to side) to make ‘triplets’. When the 4 sets of cream triplets are added the block is finished! Ta-Dah!




(apologies, I should have turned the block before photographing it)

Well, now you can have to go at playing with the fabric placement within the block! :-)

The idea is to make each block ‘look different’. This can be achieved by moving the colour values (light and dark fabric) around, as you can see in the other example blocks shown in the photos below.

You can add even more interest , or another dimension, to the block by cleverly fussy cutting some of your Honeycomb pieces. You could pick out a particular motif – like I have done with the little birds on my fabric – and see what happens when you rearrange them in the block pattern. I had some very happy ‘accidents’ happen to me when I did that :-). But fussy cutting is not for the fainthearted! You will end but with a pretty ‘ravaged’ piece of material when you are done! Some quilters are quite ‘allergic’ to that because you may end up with unusable bits which are only good for the scrap bag.

Also I found that trying to do the fussy cutting WITHOUT a cutting template (see-through acrylic, for accurate cutting) was not very easy! Some of my motifs therefore do not line up properly.

But I do not really mind, it is all hand-work after all! Why shouldn’t it show? :-)

Here are some more pictures of the other block I have stitched for my quilt. I hope you like them :)




In part Two of the tutorial I will show you how the blocks go together with the little squares. Hopefully it should not be too long before that turorial goes online.



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Inner City Quilt Tutorial

Inner City Quilt Tutorial

Do you know that feeling when you see a quilt pattern and you think: WOW! I HAVE to make one of those! ??

Well, this is exactly what happened to me the first time I saw the ‘Inner City’ pattern about 6 or 7 years ago. Like all quilters my list of these ‘Have to make that one one day’- quilts does not seem to get any shorter, and of course as we ‘mature’ like good wine ;-) our priorities change. But I was always fascinated by the isometric patterns and the 3D effects that you can achieve with them.


And then the ‘Inner City’ quilt finally had its turn and the obligatory shopping trip for fabric followed – I never seem to have all the different shades of the colour I want to work in. WHY is that? It is not that I am short of a few fat quarters (or rather boxes of aforementioned).. it just always seem to be the one (or two) shades missing -may be a topic for another blog :-)


Anyhow, a turquoise quilt is was to be this time!

So lets do the tutorial bit:


Firstly: the inner city pattern is made from Half-Hexagons! Click here for our Half Hexagons.


I was working with 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) Half Hexagons which are quite large and therefore also manageable for the not so experienced paper-piecer.

When selecting the fabrics it is very important to have 3 colour values, light, medium and dark. Otherwise the pattern will not show its full 3D potential (so keep his in mind when you go shopping for fabric)!


The Inner City’ pattern is made up of units of 6 Half Hexagons that form 3 whole Hexagons when stitched together.

For each unit you will need: 2 Half Hexies covered in light value fabric, 2 covered in medium value and 2 covered in dark value fabric. It is best to use the same fabric for both pieces in each set!

Cutting the fabric:

For most if the paper piecing projects that I do I usually cut my fabrics into strips (using a ruler and rotary cutter, or simply scissors) as I find this a very convenient way to cut my fabric for the pieces. You can figure out the strip width by measuring the width of the paper piece and adding (at least) 0.5 inches for the seam allowance (one quarter inch on each side).

I then simply place the paper piece onto the fabric strip and cut off the amount needed with scissors. This method works well or most types of shapes (including Hexagons).

Then you can get on with covering the papers with the fabric as normal (for a paper piecing picture tutorial see the ‘How to’ category on the main menu bar). Please note how the ‘tails’ or ‘ears’ on the finished pieces point in different directions? This is intentional. Make sure that you develop a routine of ALWAYS folding the edges over in the same direction, then the ‘tails’ or ‘ears’ will nestle into a nice ‘rosette’ on the back of the paper pieced quilt top and will not get in each others way. This way they also do not add any ‘bulk’ either! Whatever you do: DO NOT cut them off! This will create holes in your quilt top!!!




Once you have covered your 6 Half Hexies you stitch 2 Half Hexies each together to form 3 whole Hexagons (see pictures). It is important to combine all colour values with each other. This means in the end you should have one hexagon in light/medium combination, one in light/dark and one Hexagon in medium/dark combination of fabrics, as shown below.



Now (you have probably guessed it already) these Hexagons are stitched together to form a Y shaped unit of the Inner City quilt pattern.

When you arrange them take a moment to decide on how you want the ‘Light’ to hit your inner city unit.

Meaning: does the light come from the top-right side? Or top-left side? Because that will then dictate where your dark and lights will go.

In my arrangement the light shines onto the unit from the top-left hand side, therefore the light fabric is at the top, the medium value fabric on the left and the dark fabric on the right. :-) it is not as difficult as it may seem, just remember to stick to your decision throughout the piecing process! (perhaps make a little note or drawing for reference)




One unit done! Hurray :-) And there is the lovely little ‘rosette’ in the centre :-)

(the same applies of course to other paper shapes that have sharp points, like Diamonds and Triangles!)


When you have made lots and lots of these units it is time to play with them until you find a layout that you like and are happy with. Here are some of my  layouts and the final quilt of course.


As always, now I just need to find the time to quilt it! ;-)




Well, I hope to see lots of Inner City quilts appearing in our show-and tells in the next few years!

Enjoy and Happy Stitching!!!




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