“Patchwork Gifts” Book tour – my contribution! (And bag tutorial)

There is a wonderful, talented, sweet as peaches-&-golden-syrup maker that I met on Instagram a few years ago called Elise Baek, who goes by @Eliseandemilie on Instagram. And she just wrote a book! A book! With the very apt tagline “20 charming patchwork projects to give and keep”. Says it all beautifully.

And she asked if I would make for her online book tour! Me! I felt very honoured indeed.

There are so many beautiful projects to choose from, the only difficult part was narrowing it down to just one! I think because the projects are very pretty and not too difficult, it makes you want to start sewing. In fact it gave me the inspiration boost I needed after the whirlwind of people, cheese and minty chocolate that was Christmas. Anyway, I chose this project:

Nighttime photo of the image in my book copy! But you get the idea. Very pretty fabrics; in fact the book is full of florals and prettiness, many of which I have in my stash which is possibly why I connect with the book so much. But Elise said to use my imagination and think outside the box – show people what other things can be done with the pattern. I knew exactly what I wanted to do:

Look what I made from the book! This is all handstitched English paper piecing which she explains well. I used Suzuko Kokesi fabrics for a cool look. It was so easy and relaxing to make, and came together surpisingly quickly. The only thing I did differently from Elise is that I stitch-basted all my pieces rather than use glue.

So I got this far and decided to go off-piste. Because I have a lot of cushions, but what I’m using most is big bags. I have 2 I’ve made, one of which houses all my guitar/ music stuff and the other my sewing stuff – I feel I need just one more for when I need to throw stuff in for an outing etc. I mean kids stuff obviously, how do such small creatures need so much stuff?

My two outsize bags

So I ended up making this. A little simpler without a boxed bottom but it keeps the “framed art” look beautifully:

I LOVE it! It’s 19″ wide, 20″ tall, soft but sturdy with volume fleece as the interfacing. I free motion quilted some loops in invisible thread to add interest and sturdiness without muddying the colours. I have a blog post all about how to use invisible thread here: https://cuckooblue.co.uk/2016/05/01/spiderman-and-invisibility-or-how-to-quilt-with-invisible-thread/

Of course I needed a back, so I made one up fairly quickly with some 5.5″ x 2.5″ scrap leftovers of the same fabric. The background is Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Olive; the three thinner strips are 3″ x 21″unfinished and the Top and bottom thinner strips are 6″ x 21″. I trimmed the back down to match the front after quilting.

Some handstitching detail with 12wt Spagetti thread from Wonderfil Speciality threads:

And there’s the back! Which I do like, and it was very quick to put together. But I must say I ADORE the front:

The front of the bag before adding handles – I guess that’s how it would look as a cushion cover!

It’s such a straightforward bag, with no boxed bottom, that most of you won’t need a tutorial, but for completeness here we go with some basic instructions:

You will need:

Bag front panel, quilted onto volume fleece or batting (mine finished at 20.5″ wide x 21.5″ high)

Bag back panel , quilted onto fleece or batting (measurements for mine are in the above text) – trim to size of front panel

2 pieces cotton lining fabric, each cut to same size as the front bag panel

magnetic snap and 2 small pieces fusible interfacing (1.5″ square is enough)

handles (I think mine are 28″)

(optional – 22″ piece ribbon with lobster clasp or keyring for keys sewn to it)


  1. Place bag panels right side together, making sure they are not upside down, and sew the sides and bottom edge together using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim off the excess fabric in the corners, being careful not to cut into the stitching.
It’s only a bag, it doesn’t have to look perfect like in quilting – indeed the thickness will make perfection difficult. all this will be covered in lining fabric. Enjoy !
Clip corners

2. Repeat with the lining fabrics pieces, again right sides together, but leave a 4 – 5″ gap in the bottom seam. I trapped the free end of my ribbon into one of the side seams, a couple of inches from the top, angled downwards.

3. Insert your magnetic snap. Mark a point on the wrong side of the lining fabrics at the midway point between your seams. I made mine 2.5″ down from the top, but you can choose wherever you like! I always fuse a small square of interfacing over that point to add strength and prevent tearing. using the little disc as a guide, mark the insertion slits with a pencil. Carefully cut the slits with a seam ripper. Insert one half of the smap through the right side of the fabric through the slits you just made. Add the disc and use a heavy object (I use a tealight holder!) to bend down the sides. You have inserted your snap! Repeat on the other side of the lining with the other half of the snap.

Ugh, very badly chipped nail polish! My hands still work the same though πŸ™‚

4. Turn the lining right sides out:

5. Place the lining inside the outer bag. The outer bag is still turned inside out and the right side of the outer panels are touching the right side of the lining fabric. Line up the tops and pin so that the side seams are matching.

6. Sew all the way round the top edge of the bag with a 3/8″ seam allowance, sewing together the inside out outer bag and the lining fabric.

7. Now, reach into the inside of the bag, through the gap you left in the lining fabric’s bottom seam and carefully pull through the outer bag.

Open it right out and push out all the corners.

8. Nearly done! Sew the gap in the lining fabric bottom seam shut by hand or machine. Now push the lining fabric into the body of the bag and press the lining top edge into the outer using a warm iron.

Just before I used my iron to press the lining inside the bag outer

9. Top stitch round the top of the bag.

10. Looking good? Great. Now sew on your handles with a backstitch. I used a 12 wt perle cotton, but you can you embroidery thread for more strength. I sewed mine quite high up and 3.5″ from the midline, but you can do whatever you think looks good!

11. And you’re finished. Wander around the house wearing it and feeling good about yourself!

Thank you once again to the amazing Elise Baek for inviting me onto this book tour – I absolutely love the book; it’s pretty and inspiring and I see loads of projects I want to make from it. Thank you also for letting me make her super cool pattern into a bag rather than a cushion. My husband and son were actually very disappointed that I didn’t make it into a cushion. They said they’d like me to replace all the sofa cushions with my own “beautiful” cushions! So I think I see another of these in my future.

You can find Elise’s beautiful work on Instagram at @eliseand emilie and her blog is here: https://www.eliseandemelie.com/

Till the next time,

Poppy xxx

Scrappy log cabin quilt!

It’s the summer holidays here and Scotland is currently 27 degrees, which is a definite heatwave for us! So I’ll try to be (uncharacteristically) quick so I can take advantage of it! But I wanted to show you this:

Isn’t it pretty? I really love it. It’s my first log cabin quilt ever – after making literally hundreds of quilts! I’m completely in love with this classic block. And this quilt!

A basting shot!

I’d always wanted to make a scrappy bright log cabin quilt but somehow it had never happened. I had a plan in my head and I needed to do the maths, so that was the delaying factor. Anyway @sunnydaysupply on Instagram (www.sunnydayfabric.com) proposed a lot cabin sewalong, so I decided it was a sign!

There are many many tutorials for log cabins, so I won’t do one, but I will give you my measurement notes in case you fancied doing one like mine.

Anyway, I did the maths and decided on this as a block measurement diagram:

You’ll have to cope with a lot of my handwritten notes today! This block will FINISH at 10.5″ square. I decided on 30 blocks for the quilt in a 5×6 grid, and chose this palette below. Isn’t it delicious?

It was so fun to go through my stash and choose fabrics which fitted into the colour palette! I chose 6 colours, 5 (or more) fabrics in each.

They’re all 2″ strips, cut to size and put into piles as labelled below:

The low volume fabrics (pale background fabrics) are cut into the same piles EXCEPT FOR THE 11″ PILE – you don’t need that one.


Cutting Prints:

You want 30 fabrics cut into strips measuring 2″ by: 2″, 3.5″, 5″, 6.5″,’8″, 9.5″, 11.

You actually need a 45.5″ x 2″ strip of each of 30 prints to make this quilt.

Clearly this is too long for most quilting cotton as the Width of Fabric (WOF) is 44″ before cutting off selvedges. So you could use 30 WOFx2″ strips but you also need an additional 30 strips measuring 2×5″.

You’re best to cut your log cabin strips from Fat quarters or fat eighths. You need to start with a piece of 30 prints measuring 6″x 18″.

OR you could cut your strips from 30 layer cake slices, but you’d have the most wastage and you’d still have to cut 30 different 2″x11″ strips. You could OMIT the printed 2×11″ strip entirely for a smaller 9″ finished block and a different look – and you could then do it with a layer cake.

Follow one of the 3 options below:

Cutting Low Volumes:

This is easier for cutting as you don’t need the 11″ strip. You need 30 fabrics cut into strips measuring 2″x : 2″, 3.5″, 5″,6.5″,8″,9.5″.

You can use a 30 WOF strips, or fat eighth or fat quarter pieces measuring 4″x18″, or 30 layer cake pieces (most wastage).


Now you’ve cut out your entire quilt, this is the fun part! Mix up the fabrics in each pile and enjoy the randomness. Don’t worry too much about the individual blocks looking beautiful, if it looks great all cut out, it’ll look great as a quilt.

Using an accurate 1/4″ seam throughout, follow the diagram below:

You sew in rounds. Start with the centre print 2″x2″, sew the 2″ low volume square (1A) to it, finger press it open. Sew 1B to it, press/ finger press open. Sew 1C to it, press open. Etcetera etcetera etcetera! When you’ve finished press your block. Pressing as you go, even with your finger, will make a big difference to this block.

Now play! There are so many possible fun layouts with this block. I chose diagonal stripes, as there is so much going on in mine I thought it needed simplicity in the design.

I laid it out in a 5×6 block grid and bordered it with a 2.5″ low volume border.

I free motion quilted some flowers and loops using my favourite Konfetti thread by Wonderfil and Quilters Dream Orient batting. My boy thought this this one should go to his cousin, so only the best for family!

I’ve loved making this one! If you want to make the same, apologies for all the hand written stuff, I’ve no appetite for doing diagrams on a computer. And now I should leave, now that I’ve been nice and brief πŸ˜‚πŸ˜œ

Final size: 57″x 67″.

Enjoy your summer whatever you’re doing! I hope it’s a creative and fulfilling one.

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

“Stars At Your Feet” – quilt tutorial

Hubster thinks this should be called “Jailbreak” as the stars look like they’ve escaped from their blocks of colour! πŸ€£πŸ‘

That these little stars are so naughty only makes me love them more! It’s the third time I’ve made this design which I originally came up with for a wedding quilt using a layer cake I was obsessed with at the time. Each time I’ve posted the design on Instagram, I’ve had so many requests for a pattern/ tutorial that I thought I really should oblige!

This quilt is particularly special – I’ve agreed to make it on behalf of my son’s class for the end of year teacher gift. She’s a very very special teacher, who happens to love art, and I know she’s going to be touched that the parents got together to give her this quilt. This time, rather than using only charm packs, I also included many favourite floral fabrics from my stash – it’s made it unique and special and I’d happily keep it!

But she deserves it more than I do; educating 23 nine year olds is no mean feat, especially when I seem incapable of getting one nine year old to even flush the toilet consistently! πŸ™ˆ


I’m going to be pretty detailed even though many of you won’t need it, because some people who messaged to ask for a tutorial/ pattern are beginners! If you’re experienced, then please don’t feel you must read all this!

Okay, let’s do this.

Fabric requirements:

  1. 3 charm packs (OR 72 printed 4.5″squares and 64 printed 2.5″ squares from 2 mini-charm packs or cut from stash)
  2. 1.75 metres (a full 1.75 yards) of 44″ white background and inner border fabric
  3. 1 metre printed fabric for outer border and binding (a full perfect yard)


Cutting Prints:

1. Printed Star Points: you need 64 2.5″ squares for these.

If using only charm packs: Take one of the charm packs and select 32 of the darkest prints. These will need to contrast well against the white background so set aside the lightest prints for another project.

Cut the 32 5″ squares into half, to make 2 sets of 32 2.5″x5 rectangles. Save one set for another project and cut the other set into half again to make 64 2.5″ squares.

2. Star centres: Select 8 printed 5″ charm squares for star centres. Cut these down to 4.5″ square and keep in a separate pile.

3. Printed block backgrounds: choose 64 printed 5×5″ squares from the remaining 5″ charm squares. Use the darkest prints as they need to contrast well against the white background fabric. Cut these down to 4.5″ square.

Cutting white fabric:

1. White star centres and white block backgrounds: cut 8 strips measuring 4.5″ x width of fabric (w.o.f.). Subcut each strip into nine 4.5″ squares, for a total of 72 white 4.5″ squares.

2. White star points: cut 4 strips measuring 2.5″ x width of fabric (w.o.f.) . Subcut each step into sixteen 2.5″ squares, for a total of 64 white 2.5″ squares.

The above picture is what you end up with: 72 white 4.5″ squares, 64 white 2.5″ squares, 72 printed 4.5″ squares, 64 printed 2.5″ squares.

3. Cut White inner border: cut 6 white strips measuring 2.5″ x w.o.f.

Cutting printed border fabric:

1. Cut 6 strips measuring 3.5″ x w.o.f. for border

2. Cut 6 strips measuring 2.5″ x w.o.f. for binding.

Before you start sewing:

Draw a diagonal line point to point on the back of all the white and printed 2.5″ squares.

Sewing the White Star Blocks

This is what we’re aiming for:

You will make 8 of these blocks.

For each block you need 8 printed 4’5″ squares, 1 white 4.5″ square, and 8 white 2.5″ squares. Lay them out as below to get a nice mix of colours:

Then lay on your 8 white 2.5″ squares on the “points of the compass” squares as below:

*Notice the way the pencil lines go – they will make a “V” shape pointing towards the centre square.*

Now take one of the printed squares with its 2 little white squares over to the sewing machine.

(My machine has a vinyl seam guide on it, ignore it you don’t need it if you’ve drawn lines on your little squares!)

Match up one of the white squares with the bottom corner of the printed square as above.

Sew ALONG the pencil line as below:

You’ll end up with this:

Good. Now with a pair of scissors (or rotary cutter) cut off the bottom left hand corner, about 1/4″ away from the stitch line. Cut off and discard both the white and the printed fabric.

Fold back the white triangle:

And press:

Now do the same with the other white square… Lay your white square on the corner:

Sew along the pencil line then cut off the bottom triangle about 1/4″ away from the sewn line:

Fold it back and press:

This is where it fits into your block:

Do this to all 4 “compass point” blocks:

Finally, sew them together in rows using a 1/4″ seam allowance, then sew the rows together.

(Tip: use the edge of the unaltered squares as your sewing guide for your 1/4″ seam, as the squares you’ve sewn on won’t be as perfectly 4.5″ square)

Now make 7 more of these blocks for a total of 8. Each block should measure 12.5″ square.

Sewing the Printed Star Blocks

You will need 8 of these blocks.

The process is the same as when you made the white star blocks above, but below is a reminder:

First lay out your block using one of the 8 printed 4’5″square star centres you set aside at the beginning and 8 white 4.5″ squares:

Now choose 8 printed 2.5″ squares to become the star points:

Lay your printed 2.5″ square FACE DOWN on top of your white 4.5″ square. Your pencil line is ON THE BACK of your little square and should be orientated as in the picture below.

Sew along the pencil line:

Cut off and discard the unwanted triangle 1/4 away from the sewn line as you did for the white star blocks earlier. Cut off both printed and white fabric and fold it back as below:

Do the same on the other side:

Apparently I’ve lost some photos here 😱, but you do exactly what you did for the white star above, and then sew it all together to get your printed star blocks. Here are more pictures of making your star points and how it fits into the final block:

Note: if you like you can chain piece all the 32 printed star point blocks as I did – it’s quicker, but there’s also something nice about being intentional with your blocks, so so whichever you like, it’s supposed to be fun!

Make 8 printed star blocks. Each block should measure 12.5″ square.

Putting the quilt together

You should now have 8 white star blocks with a printed background, and 8 printed star blocks with a white background.

Lay your blocks out in a 4×4 grid alternating the white star blocks with the printed star blocks.

Sew them together in rows, then sew the rows together.

Adding the Borders

This piece should now measure 48.5″ square, but no one’s seam allowance is perfect! To avoid warping and wavy borders the best thing to do is measure your side before adding the border strip and cut the border to fit perfectly.

Sewing the inner white border

  1. First take the six 2.5″ white inner border strips and join them all, end to end with 1/4″ SA to make one long strip.
  2. Now measure the two sides, then cut 2 border strips to the correct measurements, pin at the start, and and middles of the strip, then sew on. Press and repeat the process with the top and bottom of the quilt. Press.

Sewing the outer printed border

Sew together the 6 printed 3.5″ strips and to end with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

As above, measure the two sides of the quilt, cut border strips to fit, pin at the end then the middle and sew in. Repeat the process with top and bottom outer borders.

AND YOU’RE DONE! πŸ™ŒπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘β€β€β€β€β€

Phew, that tutorial felt like it took a loooong time. Let me know if you have any questions or something is just plain wrong. It’s just a free wee blog tutorial, so it’s not like it’s pattern tested or anything!

So to finish:

I used a lovely 100% a scrimless cotton batting called Katahdin Autumn weight by Bosal , and quilted it on my domestic machine with loops, leaves and flowers.

Grey chevron on the back:

It’s not been washed yet but it’s all drapey and snuggly already – I do love it! I did use some charm squares left over from other projects, mostly Little Miss Sunshine and Tuppence by Moda, but there are several other fabrics from my stash and scraps in here, some Bobbie and Camille, some Art Gallery fabric, Tilda border, even a Heather Ross print – this one was truly scrappy and for that reason has my heart. I really hope my son’s teacher loves it as much as I do. She deserves it.

Oh, I should have said, it’s 59″ square. Good throw size or picnic size. ❀

I hope you enjoy making this, if you decide to! Let me know if you do. You can find me on Instagram at @cuckooblue or comment here if you’d like.

Have a great summer, you lovely creative people.

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Quilted to life: Tilda Stems Quilt

I have never done so much “custom” quilting on a quilt before – and never been so proud of a quilt! I’m amazed at the difference it’s made to what was originally an “it’s quite nice” quilt top. And I’m amazed at what our domestic quilting machines can do!

This started life 8 months ago, having spent a sweet but somewhat tedious few weeks sewing up zillions of cushions for kiddo’s school library, I had that sudden urge to make something more complex. You know the way that you find yourself suddenly making something unplanned just for the joy of it? Totally normal right? I really don’t care what the bank manager says. 😜

I had had the “Stems” quilt pattern from Fig Tree and co on my to-make list for a long time, and a Tilda fat quarter bundle of both Memory Lane and Cabbage Rose lines. I still absolutely love these fabrics, rich but so pretty. So without thinking too hard, I just started… And immediately turned to Instagram for help!

Most folk chose the green dotty (would you have?). I wonder how different it would have been with the charcoal!The pattern is great, very easy and lends itself well to chain piecing, so it came together quickly.

You know… I quite like this, but I still wish I had put a wider inner white border. If I do this again, I definitely will. As a result I didn’t love it immediately. Good size though – 53″ x 68″ and since it was such a spontaneous project, there was something freeing about not having invested hopes and planning into it.

Anyway I had other projects to do, so I put it aside for a few months until a few months later…

When I decided to quilt it – with feathers! The first feathers I’ve done on an actual quilt! Not actually that difficult and to be honest I thought they were ugly whilst I was doing them! I love them now, it goes to show that you can be too close whilst you’re quilting, give yourself a break πŸ˜„ Quilting always looks better when it’s done.

See? Not perfect, but overall 😍 I used Wonderfil Konfetti 50wt cotton thread in white.Then it hung around for some more months, until I worked out what to do in the petal sections. A stipple? Loopy meander? In the end I decided I needed a hand project and went for some big stitch hand quilting.

I tried pink and white thread but the black won, as it stands out strongly up close, and gently from any distance. I used Spagetti thread, a lovely silky 12 weight double gassed for low lint, non glazed, non twisted thread. Good value too!

Some folk find quilting through the the layers of quilt top, batting and backing difficult, and many resort to doing one stitch at a time or giving up. The technique of hand quilting is different from the running stitch action if you want to go quickly and load several stitches at once. There are a number of ways to do it, including using a hoop which I sometimes do. I put some videos on my Instagram , @cuckooblue :

It’s easier at the edge as you can put your supporting thumb on the top of the quilt. The quilting videos on my Instagram have explanations of how to quilt like this through the layers.The needle “rocking” is key to getting stitches forming at the back (ie going through all the layers). Rock your needle! πŸ™Œ 😎

Finished! Except for the borders, which again waited a few months whilst I pondered. I decided to quilt a leafy vine on the inner border and a flower and petal design in the dark blue border. The latter doesn’t show up in photos but it’s a lovely surprise up close!

Can you see? There are quilting videos on my Instagram page (@cuckooblue) but I took a video of me explaining how to do the border quilting if you’re interested:

Finally finished the binding last night and I’m so thrilled and, I don’t mind admitting, quite proud! Let’s allow ourselves to be proud of ourselves now and then, although I know being humble comes more naturally to most of us β€πŸ™‚

Stats: 53″x 68″

Pattern: Stems by Fig Tree and co, plus an added 4.5″ border.

Fabric Memory Lane and Cabbage Rose by TildaQuilters Dream Orient batting

Quilted on domestic (but fancy) machine Janome 8200mcp with Wonderfil Konfetti cotton thread

Hand quilted with Spagetti 12wt cotton thread in black.

The transforming effect of quilting! Up close it’s so much more noticeable. Sewing really is our superpower!

Hope you’re all having a lovely Spring! As you can see from the picture above, Scotland is blessing our Easter Sunday with sunshine, for which we’re most grateful! Till the next time,Poppy xx

Rhombus Stars from Nowhere

It’s like this little quilt just magically appeared in my hands:

Isn’t it pretty? I say it magically appeared because it wasn’t on the list of things I’m either making (you can see those @cuckooblue on Instagram) or things I’ve been planning to make; it wasn’t on the radar at all. I haven’t even seen a quilt like it that I had in my head. Well I kind of had. Have you seen the Missouri Star Quilt Company Rhombus Star Quilt Tutorial? You can find it here:


They use a 10″ rhombus (diamond) template that they make themselves, and they end up with fewer, much bigger, stars which are all one colour. This is a picture of their lovely quilt.

It’s the same method, but it looks quite different!

Anyway I watched the tutorial and on a total whim looked online and found both the 10″ template and the 5″ template online at http://www.thequiltshop.co.uk, and, hoping that 5″ meant it would fit charm packs (it does), I bought that one. You guys know my weakness for charm packs don’t you? Well, anything that fits those babies is a winner in my mind.

So the next day it came, and without any real idea of how it would look or how many diamonds I needed to cut or if I was making a quilt or what size it would be or really anything, I picked out charm packs of Tuppence and Acreage by Shannon Gillman Orr (I only just realised they were by the same designer! Talented lady), Little Miss Sunshine by Lella Boutique and Bread & Butter by American Jane all for Moda – and cut a whole heap of diamonds. Followed by a bunch of white triangles. I know, vague. Then I made half-stars as directed by the video until I got bored. So I had a load of diamonds left over and three half star blocks, because yes, I totally cut with joyous abandon and no plan. I’ll tell you what you need to cut later so you don’t make that mistake!

This is it in the process of laying out the half stars. Can you see what I mean by half stars? You sew each diamond to 2 white triangles, then sew three of those units together to make one “half star hexagon” shape. Then you sew them in rows, alternating whether they are up or down.

Seriously, I maybe was distracted and didn’t notice I was sewing hard, but it all seemed to go together really fast. From zero to the above picture in a few hours, from that to the picture below in a few more the next day.

Of course you’re left with funky edges in reality. This is what that really looked like:

If you look at the edges you’ll see I added 8″ equilateral (60 degree) triangles to the end of each row. I then trimmed the sides down to make them straight and added 5″ white borders. Et voila:

Of course in these pictures it’s been quilted too! I used Bosal Katahdin 100% scrimless batting in Autumn weight which I bought a roll of and I’m playing with. I like it a lot, great quality, can quilt up to 8″ apart. I’m going to say I still prefer Quilters Dream, but it is cheaper, so there’s a very good reason to keep some of this on hand too!

Quilting pics! I quilted a loopy meander punctuated by little stars. I love those stars; they’re sweet, they’re fun, they reflect the quilt and they give you a great place to stop and turn around in your quilting!

And that’s the back. Almost my last piece of IKEA’s nummer fabric. It’s now discontinued, and that’s a tragedy for modern quilters as it’s a brilliant backing! Β£3 a metre, 60″ wide, great quality, goes with everything. We should run a campaign to bring it back!

Oh yes, I said I’d tell you how to make the quilt with a 5″ rhombus template. I’m sorry I didn’t think to take process pictures at the time, I was just idly sewing. It’s not a real tutorial; perhaps I’ll do it properly if I make another of these quilts:

Brief instructions on making my scrappy rhombus star quilt (size 55″ x 58″”):

1. Get the Missouri star quilt company 5″ rhombus template.

2. Choose 96 5″ printed charm squares. Lay your rhombus template diagonally across the charm square and rotary cut out the rhombus shape. You can stack 4 or 5 charm squares at a time for faster cutting.

3. Cut 192 white triangles from white cotton yardage.

I think I used 4″ strips for these, but you could make the strips smaller and conserve fabric (the right height of the triangle whatever that is, 3.5″ maybe, I’d measure it if I was close by!)

*Make sure you cut out the bigger triangle shape on the template and not the smaller one like Jenny does in the video tutorial – she makes a mistake!*

4. Cut sixteen 8″ equilateral triangles.

5. Sew each diamond to two white triangles as shown in the Missouri star quilt company tutorial above, to make a triangle unit. Use up all the diamonds and triangles to make 96 triangle units.

6. Sew three triangle units together to make a “half star hexagon” shape. Repeat to use up all the triangle unit until you have 32 “half star hexagon” unit shapes.

7. Lay these units out in 8 rows, 4 in each row. You’ll need to lay them one facing up then one facing down, alternately to make them for together. Place an 8″ equilateral triangle at the beginning and end of each row.

8. Sew these units together in rows. Then sew the rows together.

9. Trim the end equilateral triangles about 3/8ths inch away from the star unit seams to make the left and right edges straight.

10. Cut 5″ strips of white fabric, join until they’re long enough and add as borders. And you’ve finished your top!

Here is a picture of my scrappy notes that I made to remind myself how I did it. Working this out beforehand would have saved a lot of time and fabric!

No, it’s not pretty. But it works. And yes I made mistakes. Ugh. Feel privileged that I let you see this. It’s like letting your friends come over without tidying up. Now they’re real friends.

Quick back to another pretty picture of the quilt that just magically appeared in a few hours from nothing! I’m actually considering giving this to my son’s teacher. I only once gave quilts because those teachers literally turned out lives around ( https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/cuckooblue.co.uk/2014/07/07/quilts-of-gratitude/amp/) . But he’s had the same teacher for 2 years, I like her, she’s been great, and this quilt has appeared just at the right time. Maybe it’s meant to be.

Let me know if you have questions about making this quilt if you want to, I’m aware the tutorial isn’t as comprehensive as normal!

Till the next time,


A finally finished postage stamp quilt!

This quilt has been a LONG time in the making!

64″ x 80″ of 2″ scrappy fabric goodness. Worth the wait?

I started it as a Leaders and Enders project. You know, when you have a big box of small pieces next to your sewing machine and you start and end long seams and chain piecing by sewing them together and always leaving a piece under the needle?

Like this above. It stops your machine eating the fabric when you start sewing something together, especially like an HST or corner. And then at some point you realise you have a heap of blocks sewn together – a quilt with hardly any effort!

That was my box of squares – those pictures came from my original blog post when I was making the quilt top and I described that process and Leaders and Enders in more detail. The post is here if you want to see it.


Hee hee, patchwork craziness! It’s not staying on this bed… But it is the first quilt I’ve made that actually covers my king sized bed! The top anyway.

Anyway, 2 years ago I found I had all these 8 patches and I spent a happy relaxing weekend sewing them all together. There’s something so restorative about mindless sewing, especially when vast quantities of interesting fabrics are involved!

But then, gosh, I dunno. 64″ x 80″ is a big quilt and I got put off by the basting. I’m a terrible basting procrastinator. Anyway, I finally plucked up the courage, and guess what? Yep, totally fine. I never learn!

This time I used a new batting by Bosal – called Katahdin Autumn weight. It’s needlepunched 100 % cotton batting, crucially with no scrim. I say crucially because I dislike the polypropylene scrim binder that you get in many battings. It can range from 5% (eg Sew Simple cotton) to 12.5% (Warm & Natural “cotton”). This is a conversation for another day, but suffice to say I almost exclusively now use Quilters Dream battings for this reason, although it’s very expensive in the UK. However this new Katahdin batting came on the market, and I’m impressed! It’s maybe a smidge heavier and less silky than Quilters Dream Cotton (Select weight) but really very good. I will definitely keep using it. Although Quilters Dream Orient will be reserved for my special quilts obviously!

How sweet is this backing? I got it from The Fabric Guild UK at an amazing price. I wish I’d bought the whole roll. I love it. Oh and I did some loopy free motion quilting to soften all those lines of course.

I’ll leave you with my “quilt in the wild” shot – not really so wild; it’s the entrance to the forest next to our house; we were literally opposite our house! But I love the way that firstly my husband looks like he’s been pixelated, and secondly how those majestically tall trees can make an 80″ quilt look like a handkerchief! ❀

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

I think I’m a Scrappy Bag Lady.

How much do I love my new bag? THIS much! (You’ll have to use your imagination a little, but I’m stretching till it hurts over here).

I have to tell you it is extremely heavily influenced by the Happy Scrappy Purse Pattern by Crazy Mom Quilts. Crazy mom? Crazy talented I say. She’s the absolute queen of scrappy projects, having written a couple of great books on organising and using your scraps. So I was doing just that:

And I was amazed and touched when she saw the middle picture on Instagram and sent me the pattern for her Happy Scrappy Purse. Just like that! What a lovely lady. Here’s a picture of her pattern.

Gorgeous huh? You can read her blog post about it here, with a link to buy the pattern. http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/scrap-happy-purse-pattern.html?m=1

It’s a great pattern as you’d expect from her, clear and straightforward. The only thing is that I really needed a GIGANTONORMOUS bag. I had struggled to contain all my guitar equipment at the last wee gig I did (a pickup and lead, music stand, guitar stand and A4 size music, water bottle etc) and I ended up taking a giant shopping bag – fine but disappointing for a sewist whose first love is bag making!

So to rectify my lack-of-giant-bag-ness, I changed the dimensions to 19″ wide, 5″ deep, and added some sparkly linen at the bottom just to stretch the scraps out. Speaking of sparkly linen…

Look at this! This is metallic Essex linen by Robert Kaufmann. It really does sparkle, and added a fun element to my already fun bag. I can’t believe that it’s so smooth and comfortable, not prickly or stiff like I thought it might be. I used fusible bosal-in-r-form interfacing for firm structure, and had no problems ironing the linen with a high heat and plenty of steam/ water. I rather love this stuff. Ha, both the Bosal and the sparkly linen – modern fabrics are remarkable!

The back – more scrappy goodness!

I was extremely indulgent; being a woman in a male dominant household, I went pink. Pink for the lining (Heather Ross’ Swim Sisters from Mendocino) and pink floss with which to sew on the handles. I think of pink as a secret and delicious bit of self-indulgence; not that my family mind pink, but I tend to limit it in our family makes. This one is mine!

Leather-like handles were suggested by Crazy Mom Quilts, and I’m glad I took that suggestion, although of course you can make them or buy strapping. I definitely love my bag even more because of them! It seems… more substantial.

You know the best thing about scraps? You throw them all together and they look great. No wait, it’s because they bring back memories of old projects. Hang on, no, actually, it’s that they’re free. Um, or maybe because they’re so interesting to look at? Sheesh. Just use your scraps people. πŸ˜πŸ˜œπŸ˜šπŸ’•

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Toutes Les Γ‰toiles/ All the Stars; a French-Inspired Quilt and tutorial

So my dad informed me I hadn’t written a blog post in 6 months. My dad! Who knew. So to appease his apparent need for some sewing chat and to kickstart my blogging this year, here’s Toutes Les Γ‰toiles, the only quilt I ever named:

My friend got married in a beautiful chΓ’teau in France 2 years ago and invited us, starting us off on the most wonderful holiday near Bordeaux. When we got to the chΓ’teau, this was my room:

Isn’t it gorgeous? Authentic antique furniture – and check out that quilt! I examined it carefully and it’s certainly seemed to be a handmade quilt, just the right amount of wobbles and mistakes to feel authentic. Ahhhh. The wedding party had the chΓ’teau to ourselves for 4 days and it was truly heavenly; we all got on well in idyllic romantic surroundings with beautiful weather and the happy couple were truly happy. Great memories.

Anyway, a few months ago they bought a house in the country together (fairly near us) and since this year is their 2 year and aptly-named “cotton” anniversary, I thought a quilt reminiscent of their French wedding might be a good housewarming present.

I used a Moda layer cake of French General’s Rural Jardin which I’ve been hoarding for far too many years and is now out of print, but they bring out beautiful, authentic-looking French inspired fabric collections regularly if you like the look of this one. Check out the back:

Do you like it? I do. It’s some Toile de Jouy quilting weight fabric I bought years ago from a French importing shop, which sadly didn’t survive the recession. I pieced it together with some leftover charm squares cut in half.

It’s not difficult to see how you make this quilt top, but here are instructions if you need; at least the maths is all done!


*Stitch everything right sides together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, the more accurate the better! *

Quilt top measures 56″ x 64″

Fabric Requirements:

  • 3 – 4 charm packs* (or 1 layer cake cut into 5″ squares)
  • 1 yard of printed fabric for outer border and binding
  • 2.5 yards of white background fabric 44″ wide

*Note: you can make this quilt with 3 charm packs but 4 gives more options for removing fabrics with low contrast with the background fabric. You can cut 42 5″ squares from stash instead of a charm pack if you prefer. Leftovers can be used in the pieced backing.


Cutting the Printed Charm Squares:

1. You will need 100 printed fabric charm squares, for the patchwork and the inner border.

Remove any charm squares which have poor contrast with the white background, although one or two could be used for the star centres.

2.Choose 15 printed charms for the star centres. Cut these down to 4.5″ squares.

3. Take 60 printed charm squares and cut into quarters, yielding 240 2.5″ squares. Keep them in sets of 60.

4. The remaining 25 charm squares are for the inner border. Cut these in half yielding 50 5″x2.5″ rectangles. set these aside for the inner border.

Cutting the White Fabric:

1. Cut four 2.5″ x Width of fabric (WOF) strips. Subcut these into 60 2.5″ squares.

2. Cut 14 more 2.5″ x WOF white strips and subcut these into 120 2.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.

3. For the two borders, cut 11 more 2.5″ x WOF strips. Join these together end to end to make one long strip and then leave aside until you are ready for the borders.

Making the Star blocks:

1. Take 120 2.5″ printed squares and on the back of each one draw a diagonal line in pencil from one point to the opposite point.

2. Now make your first flying geese unit. Lay one of your squares, right sides together (RST) onto on of the white 4.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle so that the pencil diagonal line goes from the top right corner of the rectangle into the bottom middle.

3. Sew along that pencil line

4. Cut off the triangle (both the printed and white bits) below the pencil line, cutting about 1/4″ away from the sewn diagonal line. Discard the cut off triangle.

5. Fold back the printed fabric to reveal your flying, um, goose.

6. Take another 2.5″ square, lay it onto the white rectangle with the pencil line going from top left to the bottom middle then sew along that pencil line.

7. Again cut off and discard the excess triangle fabric.

8. Fold back the printed triangle and press – you now have one flying geese unit, which will be one side of your star.

9. Make some more of these flying geese units. You will need 60 all together.

10. To assemble one star block, you need one 4.5″ square centre, 4 flying geese units and 4 white 2.5″ squares. Lay these out as below.

11. Sew a flying geese unit to each side of the centre square.

12. Next sew the 2.5″ white squares to the ends of the top and bottom flying geese units as shown below,

13. Sew all the rows together to make a sawtooth star block. It should measure 8.5″ (if your 1/4″ seam allowance is accurate).

14. Make 15 of these star blocks and press.

Making the Chain blocks:

Okay, this is where I confess that I lost some photos and can’t show you quite as step by step, but they are really easy. I’ve done a mock-up with some other fabrics below.

1. Take 60 of your remaining printed 2.5″ squares, sew them into pairs and then sew the pairs into little 4 patches, like the middle of the above picture. You will need 15 4-patches.

2. Next sew a white 2.5″x4.5″rectangle to either side of each 4 patch.

3. Now take the remaining 60 4.5×2.5″ white rectangles and sew a printed 2.5″ square to each side of each white rectangle.

4. Finally sew the rows all together. you should end up with a block that looks like this below! (excuse the blurriness, it’s cut from a bigger picture!) It should also measure 8.5″ square, if your 1/4″ seam allowance is accurate). You need 15 of these blocks. Press.

Assembling the Quilt:

Lay out your star blocks and chain blocks in an alternating pattern, starting with a chain block. Make a 5 by 6 grid as shown below….

2. …and sew it all together.

Adding the Borders

1. Measure the sides of your quilt. If seam allowances were entirely accurate the sides should measure 48.5″, but they never are totally accurate. Measure the sides and then cut white border strips to that length – this helps prevent warping of your borders that can happen if you over stretch the borders as you sew. Pin on the border at both ends and in the middle and then sew on the side borders.

2. Next measure the top and bottom borders (theoretically 44.5″), cut a length of white 2.5″ strip to that measurement. Pin and sew on your top and bottom white inner borders.

3. To make the scrappy inner border, sew together twelve 2.5″x5″ printed rectangles that you made at the beginning by halving the charm squares. Sew this to one of the sides of the quilt and trim off the excess. I figure it’s scrappy so it really doesn”t matter if it’s perfectly symmetrical.

4. With the remaining white strips, make a second white border in the same way as described above.

5. Finally, cut and join 2.5″ strips from your printed yardage fabric and add as the final outer border. I used the same fabric as my binding too.

…and you’re done!

I used Quilters Dream Orient, my all-time-favourite batting and free motion quilted it with a loop and leaf design. It’s my favourite quilting, it looks classy but somehow fairly modern and leaves enough areas unquilted to keep the quilt snuggly. Quilters Dream Orient can be quilted up to 8″ apart despite having no scrim, which is a real bonus for snuggly quilts!

Oh and I forgot to say, you can use halved leftover charm squares sewn together and bordered with 2.5″ white strips to piece the backing if you like!

Well, I’m pooped after writing all that. seriously, no wonder it takes me 6 months to get to a computer! I’ll resolve to do this a bit more often, hear that Dad? After all I’m on Instagram (as Cuckooblue) most weeks, even every few days… hmmm I think I might see a connection!

Off to admire my, I mean, my friend’s, new quilt.

If you make it, I hope you like yours too!

Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Disappearing 9 patches reappear!Β 

Reappear in my life anyway, however briefly.

It’s such a simple pattern but I think it’s so pretty! Of course you can mix up a disappearing 9 patch block (D9P) to look haphazard and interesting, but I think my eyes like order.

The last time I made one of these (2014!) I did a tutorial on how to make it using 2 charm packs, and also showed different layouts that you could do. Here is the link to the tutorial:


I used Fig Tree fabrics for that too, slightly less “summery” ones maybe. Here’s a picture of that one if you’re interested:

Can you see the difference? Apart from the colours, I literally used eighty 5″ squares (2 charm packs) and had none left to make a couple of borders to make it symmetrical. This time I did, as I used leftovers from various recent projects, including my Fig Tree Twirl quilt.

It makes a difference doesn’t it? You can see I just made a strip of 2.5″ print squares joined alternately to 2.5″ x 5″ white rectanglesand joined it to the side of the quilt top I’d made (from the tutorial). And then made another and joined it to the bottom. You need 15 2.5″ print squares and 16 2.5″x 5″ white rectangles. And then I put a 2.5″ wide wide border round the outside. The quilt then finished at 58.5″ rather than 52″ which is a nice size. When I was putting the binding on I reflected that adding another 2.5″ print border next to the white border would be lovely – if I make another that’s what I’ll do!

I used a charm pack of Coney Island by Fig Tree & Co for Moda, and leftover charm squares, mainly from Strawberry Fields Revisited and “Fig and Plum” – now a very old line. It all works though.

Oops, I nearly forgot about the back. It’s a charity quilt, and I wanted to keep it simple, and not too expensive. It’s brighter and less “classic” than the front, but I thought the recipients might appreciate a change, depending on their tastes and decor:

I don’t know if you can see the quilting well, but I did loops, leaves and flowers, fairly loosely (because my batting lets me and I’m on a deadline, so needed to be quick). I’ve been waiting for 3 months for a batting roll – I knew it would take that long as it’s quilters dream orient which needs ordering – I think it’s so expensive that it’s not that popular here. But it is glorious stuff and my favourite. Anyway it arrived – yay! And I’m ready to quilt ALL the things!

This quilt is destined for one of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London a few weeks ago. I’m going to try not to write about it here (as I get so angry about how politics and cost-cutting is costing lives, you can read about the tragedy online if you like) but most people in the UK have been in deep shock about it. Quilters, being generally kind people, being no exception. Mx Ruby Rouge on Instagram started a quilt drive to try and provide quilts for people who have lost everything – sending a physical hug, telling people that we care. There is now a hard working team of people who have organised drop off points, couriers, wadding and fabric donations, long arm quilters working for free, all kinds of things across the country. The number of shops who have donated is amazing. It makes my head explode at the logistics and the kindness, but it looks as though 1000 quilts have been donated or pledged. Including my small offering. You can see more on Instagram under the hashtag #quiltsforgrenfell but the whole thing has been organised through a closed Facebook group. It’s heartwarming. And devastatingly tragic.

Anyway enough! It’s the school summer holidays so I must leave my online hideaway of creative folk and prettiness.

Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Magic Paintbox Quilt – Curved Piecing (and Drunkard’s Path tutorial)

Omigosh. I’ve wanted to make this quilt for years. Then I started and had doubts. Then I continued and had doubts. Then I sewed it together and I LOOOOVE it!

It’s a drunkards path quilt. I’ve loved these pieced circles for so long, but I firstly I was concerned about cutting all those curves and secondly about sewing all those curves! Turns out there was really no need to worry.

This was the first set of blocks I sewed. The template is great; I got it from Amazon but it’s made by Silesian Quilt and fits 5″ charm squares. You can get both pieces out of one charm square, or two of the convex pieces, which is very useful if you only want circles from your printed charm squares like I did! The individual block is 4.5″ when made up (4″ when sewn into the quilt). I got myself a 28″ rotary cutter to cut the curves – really easy. A normal 45″ wouldn’t fit into the curves and I didn’t want to use scissors (although you can of course!).

I got lots of advice on Instagram about how to sew these without pins but having tried I personally prefer using 2-3 pins. A lot better than the 5 pins I started with! It’s not as difficult or as slow as you’d think. These are the few tips I have:

1. Mark the centres of the convex and concave curves by folding the shapes in half and finger pressing to make a mark.

2. Like this:

3. Line up the marks, wrong sides together and put a pin in the centre:

4. Line up the top edge of the curve. Unlike any of the tutorials I’ve seen, I found my curves fitted better and lay flat when I matched the first part of the curve and not the top straight edges. This means there is a little triangle of background fabric showing as below. It looks weird, but works for me – the two edges look straight in the end.

5. Pin the top and bottom. You might not need to bother with three (or any) pins, I just like it better this way.

6. Sew curve, matching edges and sweeping any bunched-up fabric out of the way. I made a video of me doing one, it’s not brilliant, I know you’ll find better on the web, but it might help reassure you that these curves are not a problem. You might think it’s slow going, but this video is 36 seconds. That means, including pinning, you can do each block in about a minute, once you get into your stride. Not bad for a “difficult” block!

These were my first nine and I wasn’t sure. They seemed garish, too low contrast… Just not as beautiful as I’d envisaged. The ever-supportive Instagram crowd, however, said they were the bees knees, so I persisted. I tried to create better contrast thereafter – at the time I was a lot happier with them, although now I think I was probably fussing over nothing!

That’s my box of “uncut scraps” – i.e. not cut into strips or squares, which I do with some of my scraps. I used scraps because I wanted to test out whether I liked sewing curves and didn’t want to cut up fat quarters in case I abandoned it. I adore the scrappiness though… I wasn’t sure at first – but I think all the low volume fabrics calm down the crazy brights.

Well a bit.

I didn’t need to use any pattern, I made the blocks with the templates, sewed them together and trimmed them to 7.5″ square.

After that I just joined them together, made an inner and outer border of 2.5″ wide low volume scraps and middle border of 2.5″ wide bright prints and that was really that. The quilt finished at 58″ square.

I used my favourite Quilters Dream Orient batting. I’ve been using Sew Simple light 100% cotton for a while, as I’d bought a half board of it, and whilst I liked it, I’d forgotten how soft and silky Dream Orient is, and how lovely it is to quilt with. And Quilters Dream Select cotton is not far behind the Orient. It is heavier than the Sew Simple light though and is heavier than my leaves quilt which is bigger. That suits me, but it pays to pick your batting to match your needs. The quilting shows up nicely too and it’s a huge bonus that you can quilt 8″ apart.

See that middle block? With the glasses and dresses? That’s my favourite of the whole quilt. It’s somehow really delicious. I quilted it with loops/”bubbles” to mimic the circles theme.

Ahhh. I’ve no idea what to do with this quilt as I kind of accidentally fell into making it, but I do really like it. Thanks to the cheerleaders on Instagram for making me stick with it when I was ready to make it into a cushion! I need to remember that the final quilt is always much nicer than the individual blocks.

And on that note I’ll love you and leave you.

Till the next time,




P.s. If you fancy making your own or even a few blocks for a pillow and didn’t want to buy an acrylic template, this Moda Bakeshop tutorial has a template for 5″ charm squares that you can cut it in cardboard or template plastic! The pictures are not working for me on the site, but at the bottom it says “printer friendly version” – click it and it opens a PDF showing all the pictures and the template. Have fun!