Lucy Boston

Saturday, July 26, 2014

my 'plan' for Lucy Boston - supplies and thoughts

My LB plan:
make ONE Lucy Boston block
each week of the year of 2013,
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses
using the English Paper Piecing method.
This had me finish the year with 52 blocks!!
I need a total of 56 blocks - 8 rows of 7 blocks each,
so the four remaining blocks are to be done as needed, by color. 
My preferred supplies:
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses
  • One inch pre-cut Honeycomb and Square papers and the acrylic templates from  These templates have a 3/8" seam allowance built in - the little extra makes it great for fussy-cutting, as you have a little 'slide' room if you miss-cut.   Yes, you can cut all of your own papers, but I'd rather be stitching than cutting paper :)
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses
  • small rotary cutter - 28 mm. This is easiest to use with the acrylic template so you don't over-cut into the next pattern repeat on your fabric
  • pink turntable cutting mat - by (self-healing; also washable if you over-glue)
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses

  •  YLI quilting thread - 40/3ply - in ecru for my light muslin 'border' pieces, and in light brown for all the colored pieces -(a little heavier, but makes for a stronger seam, & it doesn't twist or knot easily)
  •  Straw needles - I like size 10 by Jeana Kimball/Foxglove Cottage
  • I occasionally glue-basted for a quick layout, and for that I liked the Sewline glue stick.  This particular glue goes on purple and dries clear.  I put it through a battery of tests: iron heat, dryer heat, baking in the sunshine and oven, all of these both before and after water washing it, with no residue or adverse effects. (I did try two other popular brands of glue sticks - both of them went on lightly colored and dried clear, BUT they both left undesirable stains after the same battery of tests.)
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses

  •  Fabrics - I used my reproduction stash a lot, but because I was also leading a group at a local quilt shop, I made 'sets' or 'kits' - each of three or four coordinating fat quarters OR 6 -six inch cuts, so a yard of fabric for each kit.  Each kit could potentially make 3 or 4 blocks, depending on how much fussy-cutting you can do in each chosen fabric.  Within each set there was one 'strong' fabric - a stripe or swirl or large print  (I have a couple of blocks that are only one fabric, and a few that are only two fabrics).
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses

  • BookLucy Boston: Patchwork Of The Crosses by Linda Franz - this is not a pattern, but is nice to have because it shows the different methods to accomplish paper-piecing, AND has a whole page of shaded layouts for the different type of crosses that Lucy made.  It also has fabric requirements for not just the blocks, but the 'connecting squares' and the 'borders'
The start of the addiction!!:
Each block is 24 honeycomb pieces and 24 honeycomb border pieces.
(*WARNING! Don't wait until the end to border your blocks!!! 
more on that later)
Using the English Paper Piecing method,
I chose to baste only the fabric,
not through the papers, too.
I found this much easier, with minimal hand fatigue,
and choosing those neutral threads, I knew that I wouldn't have to remove the basting threads later.  
Remember, don't use the super-woman grip while stitching!! Just hold lightly and enjoy the process!
(if you do like and are used to stitching through the paper, I recommend that you try at least one Lucy block NOT stitching through the paper to see the difference it makes on your hand fatigue.  It does take a while to get used to holding and stitching the pieces differently!)

Cutting Fabrics:
Don't forget that stripes or patterns in fabrics don't always have to go the same direction across the paper/piece. 
Mirror image some of the prints, use the corners of the papers to align dark markings on some pieces to create movement within the block:
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses
Tracing around one of the paper pieces, I drew out a layout template to use in my Go&Sew travel bag.
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses
I drew one, photocopied it, and dropped two copies (back to back) into a photo sleeve.
As I chose and stitched each honeycomb shape, I used double-stick tape to place and hold  each piece until I had time to stitch the pieces together.
Here's a photo of a well-used Layout Template:
Lucy Boston, Patchwork of the Crosses
Basting with thread (or glue-basting):
My thought is that the integrity of each block is the hand-stitched seam, so I chose a heavier thread - the YLI quilting thread.  This thread is lightly waxed, so it doesn't twist or knot much as you stitch. 
  • I use a small applique pin to hold the fabric in place on the paper piece while single-thread-basting. I back-stitched at each corner, ending where I began the basting. (Glue method - use a small dab of glue on the paper to center your paper on the fabric
Connecting the finished honeycomb pieces:
  • After basting each honeycomb, I knotted on the back and then ran my needle/thread under the seam allowance and out of one of the corners.  I continued with that single thread and stitched that honeycomb piece into my block at that time.  This takes a little pre-planning on where to start and end the basting, but soon becomes automatic.  AND, you are not changing threads!!!
  • I place right sides together, knot that starting corner, whip-stitched across that inch-long side, and then I knot at that corner, too - so on every inch-side there are about 14 to 16 stitches and a knot at each corner.  Fold the assembled block as needed to align the honeycomb to the next side to stitch.  Stitch the next side, knot, repeat the third/forth time as needed.
  • Glue method: place a fine line of glue on one side of the paperpiece and fold the fabric over LOOSELY, pressing onto the glue.  Turn clockwise and repeat around the paperpiece.
  • Finally, at the end of stitching and after knotting the final corner, I made a secondary knot, placed into the back of each piece.  This moved the  thread 'tail' away from the seam allowance and corner AND gave me assurance that my knot wouldn't 'pop' later.  Also, I figured that I saved a little time by not cutting the thread and re-knotting in between each piece over the course of the quilt.

Well, that is a whole lot of info for PART ONE - sorry!  
Hopefully, it explains my attack on Lucy...
***And the *WARNING! Don't wait until the end to border your blocks?
More on that in the Part Two!

PART TWO will cover 2014- Connecting my Lucy pieces and making Blocks

ps - if you'd like my LB Layout Template - just leave me a comment/request with your email address.

Thanks for stopping by, and
Happy Stitching!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

the quilt-y gift

I haven't yet gifted the quilt I made for my newest great-niece...

This quilt started as a really cute panel. 

A really cute panel that was sooooo very narrow, 
and not a good size for a baby quilt.
And I had NONE of the coordinating fabrics 
that came in the panel fabric line.
What to do??

I decided to make side panels 
to help bring it closer to square 
than the narrow, banner-like start.
To do this, I made individual 'flower' Lil Twister blocks 
(with white cutting backgrounds), hand-appliqued circles to the flowers' centers,
then hand-appliqued stems and leaves, too.
I finished it with a darker pink border
that's a little wider than the  green border in the original panel.
I used bright, lime green Minkee for the backing:
and quilted it using inspiration from the panel design for my quilting.
And though the color saturation isn't good in the following picture,
it does show my free-hand quilting lines:
I finished the quilting (with my great-nieces' name and birth date) 
the morning after she was born, and did the binding that night.
Now I just need to get to see her (and cuddle some, too)!

I usually gift and then share the pictures,
but decided to share first this time.
Do you share pictures of quilt-y gifts
BEFORE you gift??

I'm off to do some more stitching -
Thanks for stopping by and
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ahead of the game

I am the just-under-the-wire type of gal...
Instead of acknowledging that I procrastinate,
I tell myself that I work better under pressure
(insert big smile here).

So, by the 2nd of July,
I had sewn my blocks for the Quilt Doodle Doodles 
JULY Block of the Month! 
'Toasty Mugs' by Mylifeisastitch.blogspot 
This month's finish in the first week of the month?
Unusual for me, I know.
I think it was because I had just finished (TWO days before)
the previous month's block (see? procrastination!),
still had all the fabrics on my sewing desk, 
and was on the *miniature 'roll'.

*Miniaturized because I can not follow a pattern
(I also acknowledge that I have that problem -which I call tweaking, but that's another story).
So for this BOM, 
I've tweaked half-sized the pattern.
Well, I've cut my strips at 11/4 inch - 
 half the size of the original 21/2 inch strips
Which is not really half-sized, if you know what I mean, 
as my blocks finish at 3/4 of an inch not an inch.

I did the cup handles by making scrappy quarter-inch bias
and pinned them into shape then starched them:
I pinned and machine stitched the raw edges into the block seams, 
then hand-whip-stitched them down to the blocks.
I added wool 'steam' to the mugs, and will use Valdani floss to applique.

It's another cute block, for sure.
Thanks, Cindy of Quilt Doodle Doodles!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lucy Boston: My block layout template as prep for stitching & travel

I've shared and shared about my Lucy Boston adventure 
over the last year and a half,
but a friend reminded me the other day 
that I've never shared my
method of auditioning & prepping my  
English Paper-pieced Lucy blocks.

Here's a picture of one of my prepped blocks,
partially laid out and ready to travel/stitch:
My Lucy EPP layout template
This template paper has been used multiple times, as you can tell by the fabric strings stuck to the tape pieces; my needle is stuck into the honeycomb piece that I'm stitching next  (I removed the eight outside pieces so you could better see how I did the layout).
AND, the 8.5"by 11" paper is just big enough to fit the center 24 ONE-INCH-pieces of the block - just right for these wonderful blocks!!

Here is the 'blank' layout template:
My Lucy EPP layout template
Here are the quick and easy steps:
  • print this (above) or trace the honeycomb block layout onto a piece of paper to make the layout template  (make multiple copies for multiple block prep)
  • place a piece of double-sided tape into each traced honeycomb on the paper 
  • as you baste each fabric honeycomb, press it onto the taped/appropriate space on your paper.
  • When your block layout is finished, just slide the layout template paper into a clear (photo) sheet protector.
  Here are the Sheet Protectors that I use:
My Lucy EPP layout sheet protector/sleeves.

You can put two of the prepped-block layout templates 
into a sheet protector sleeve (back-to-back),
and drop into your work basket or project box.
 (and, yes, you can get these in smaller quantities than my box of 225!)

The paper templates are reusable, 
but I have replaced the tape strips a few times.
And, if you have no pieces ready to layout, 
just put the taped side of your template against the outside of the sheet protector/sleeve
and it will stick there until ready to peel and use again. 

Two little warnings with this layout method: 
  1. when you remove the taped honeycombs to stitch, you do have to grab the piece by the paper to peel off, not just by the top point of the fabric, as it can cause the paper to pop out... 
  2.  if you leave these prepped blocks on the tape for months and months and months in hot weather conditions/trunk of your car, the tape will adhere to the paper and could ruin your paper-pieces.
This layout method really worked well for me as it is great for take-along stitching...
hope it helps you out also! 

Please feel free to use and share this method, 
just please credit me & my blog if you share it publicly!
Thanks, and Happy Stitching!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

meanderings the end of June

Besides the wedding shower 
quilt-y gifts that I meandered,
I also got to quilt this lap quilt for Jackie:

Jackie asked for hearts and loops for the meandering,
and I didn't get a close up picture, 
but near the bottom of the photo
you can see some of the hearts.   
She made it for a shower gift and 
has said that she has it ready to gift this week!

I'm now working on
a baby quilt for my new great-niece!
(She was born a minute before the 4th of July
and is such a cutie. She and first-time momma are doing well.
And my brother is so excited - it's his first grand baby.)

I had the pink and green quilt on the long-arm machine
and mostly quilted when new niece arrived.
As soon as she was born and named 
I free-hand quilted her name and birth day onto the quilt.
I love to stitch a surprise into the meandering for the 
recipient to find later, :) and
I do still put a label on the quilt.
The quilt is now in the binding stage 
but is taking a while to I used Minkee as the backing.
I find that Minkee is a little tedious to work with when doing the hand-stitching part.  Though totally worth it when finished as it's just so cuddly and soft.
And I know my new great-niece will be cuddling and loving it so totally worth the challenge.
Have you ever used Minkee as a quilt back? 
And do you also find it tough to hand stitch?

Off to do some more hand stitching on that binding!
Happy Stitching to you also!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lucy Boston POTC - end of June progress

Summertime fun
has really been curtailing my Lucy progress...
I even waited to share and post this until AFTER
the 4th of July long holiday weekend,
hoping I'd get some more stitching done,
but alas, it did not happen.

So, for the end of June,
I didn't get my sixth row attached - Bummer!

Remember when I warned that
if you are doing Lucy Boston
that you should not wait until the end
to make all the 'extra' pieces
for your honeycomb borders and connecting squares???
Well, that's what I've been stitching...
all of those border and square pieces, very slowly.
(It's much more fun to do the fussy-cutting!)

I do have a couple of blocks to share
that I don't think I've shown before:
My Life Is A Stitch.
My Life Is A Stitch.
They are going into the middle of row six -
as soon as I get all those outside connectors on :)

Hope your weekend was great, and
Happy Stitching!

Friday, July 4, 2014


Independence Day!
wool on wool pillow, my design,
cotton backing
Here in the United States we celebrate
the country's Independence on the
4th of July.
Family, friends, laughter, cheer.
Hope your day is full of happiness, too!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

my Good Night - Irish Lass quilt

I finished 'my Irish Lass' quilt!
Irish Lass, aka Good Night Irene.

I named it the 'Irish Lass' because
besides the fabrics being
all shamrocks, clover, Celtic knots and shades of green, 

I made it for a beautiful Irish lass,
as a welcome into this German family.
My Irish Lass quilt
For the shower, the gift theme was holidays...
with a count down not just to the wedding day,
but also to each holiday throughout the year.
It was a cute idea, with many thoughtful and creative gifts.

My assigned holiday was St. Patrick's Day,
so this quilt fit the theme perfectly!
(I loved it a lot, but gifted it anyway. :)
And I think she may have loved it even more,
as there were tears in her eyes.
Which made me have tears in my eyes.
That's always a nice thank you for a quilt,
knowing the receiver loved your work.
Here are a few glamor shots...
the scrappy binding:
and close-ups of the quilting:
'May your Blessings out-number the shamrocks'

My meandering of loopy, three-leafed clover & four-leafed shamrocks
The backing was a green-plaid homespun,
which you can just see a peek of in this photo.
My thanks to Terry of Terry's Treasures
for hosting the Good Night Irene sew-along.
The sew-along was my inspiration for this quilt,
along with the stack of green/shamrock fabrics I had stashed in my studio. 

Back in a couple of days - I have Lucy Boston blocks to share!

Happy July Stitching!