Vintage Modern Ruby Stars – Charm Pack Busting HST pattern #2 + tutorial

This is a story about Mojo. About abandoning a project for years and ressurecting it, with the bonus of ridding yourself of the nagging guilt that there is abandoned fabric in a box in your house.

Far, far too long ago I bought a Ruby layer cake, used half of it in a well received baby quilt… and then got stuck. Until now:


Ruby by Bonnie and Camille for Moda Fabrics was an instant hit with quilters when it came out several years ago, and I was instantly seduced by the bright fresh colours – the red and aqua mostly, which was very “in” at the time, and the retro flowers…

But you know, although I rarely say this, I wasn’t as wowed as I wanted to be by the collection. It’s such a modern classic now, and so much beloved that it feels sacrilegious to say it; in hindsight I really should have sold it on to someone who did feel the love. There just seemed to be the wrong balance of what I think of as “headlining patterns” (like the flowers) and “supporting patterns”, as in there were just too many mild geometric patterns which I wasn’t all that enamoured with; it was like there was just too much filler. Too many just-okay supporting actors and not enough Daniel Craig.

Daniel Craig.

Anyway, back in Ruby land. Eventually I chopped the equivalent of a charm pack up into HSTs as below:

Quick method to make 4 HSTs from 2 charm squares:

  1. You take two 5” charm squares, one coloured and one white (or one “cool” and one “warm” coloured)image
  2. You put a coloured charm over a white charm and sew 1/4” seam allowance all round the edgeimage
  3. Rotary cut along both diagonalsimage
  4. Open them up and you have 4 HSTs – although beware they are cut on the bias and so can stretch.image
  5. Trim off the dog ear and you’ll have four of these:image

    They measure about 3.25” square, you should probably trim them to 3” square or something at this point, but I didn’t and it was fine. And the quilt police did not appear, although it felt like I was saying “Candyman” three times in a mirror… 42 squares in a charm pack will yield 168 of these. I’m not going to lie to you it was DULL. But so satisfying to have a big pile of HSTs to play with at the end!

… And so I merrily played. And played. I had meant to do pinwheels, but was underwhelmed and less merry. So I picked out 144 of them (the equivalent of using 36 coloured and 36 white charm squares) and sewed them together into nine 4×4 star blocks. You can see from the photo that once you have HSTs putting together the stars is really easy – once I’d laid the HSTs out, I sewed them in rows, then sewed the rows together to make the block.


I was really very pleased with them and got them out at intervals to look lovingly at them, but mostly they stayed in a box, languishing. I’ve just looked at my flickr stream and it was 2 years ago I made these blocks! All because I wasn’t feeling the Ruby-love, had one Ruby charm pack left to add to it and was wishing I had just sewed them into square patchwork for a baby girl. But now and then you have to slap yourself out of your quilterwhinge and wo-man up, don’t you? So eventually I dug them out and promised to do something with them.


Firstly, I laid my blocks into a 3 x 3 grid, added white sashing and red cornerstones. The sashing is 2.5” wide and cornerstones 2.5” square (unfinished).



And added a 2.5” (unfinished) white sashing border round the edge followed by a 2” inner border of the red main floral Ruby fabric which I love so much. Finally another 2.5” white border, ready for piano keys.

…and then realised my issue was always going to be my feeling that there was a paucity of interesting prints. So I bought a Vintage Modern charm pack – now THIS one is GORGEOUS! I love it. It’s like Ruby plus. Uber Ruby. Anyway, so I mixed my remaining ruby charm pack and vintage modern, cut them in half and made a piano keys border. i used about 54 (maybe 56) charm sqaures for the piano keys border.

I mentioned how to make a piano keys border here, in case you wanted some instructions:

Now I love it. I really do. The mixture of the two collections is great and  the quilt has some “oomph” I think. I’m sure I would have loved it even more with a little Vintage Modern in the stars, but you can’t have it all.


So, from what I had left over, I seem to have made this quilt with 92 coloured charm squares (and 36 white charm squares plus sashing and borders etc); 36 of them were for the HST star blocks. The quilt top measures about 60” square. I was quite glad that I needed to get some more fabric to make the piano keys border as with the addition of the Vintage Modern I think it ended up being something rather yummy, even against a honeycomb grey house in a weak February Scottish sun:


Here’s to abandoned WIPs – sometimes they can surprise and delight you. And here’s hoping your WIPs, whatever they may be, are bringing you much pleasure.

Till the next time,

Poppy xx


p.s. My friend saw this post and sent me a photo of the baby quilt I made for her daughter 2 years ago in Ruby – am now thinking I was a bit harsh on Ruby! Pattern is “flowers in the attic” by Sweetjane on etsy, batting is high loft fire retardant polyester. image

p.p.s. Edited in 2015 – you can see the finished quilt here if you like:

bags, bags, bags of bags!

I had a bit of a bag hiatus for quite a while whilst the quilting bug took over my life, but recently became inspired again. Lisa Lam of U-Handbag being the inspiration with her lovely pattern for the “Big and Beautiful Betty” shoulderbag. Well, I saw. I coveted. I coveted some more. I decided I didn’t need any more handbags. I slept dreaming of it. I awoke coveting.

So I ordered some supplies and my 3 year old and I thumbed through all my fabric until we chose a lovely floral red from Ruby by Bonnie and Camille for Moda. I could have guessed it would have been – I wanted florals and a slightly retro feel, kiddo will always choose red, as reed is his favourite colour. Because Lightning McQueen is red. And Lightning McQueen is his best friend. There is a lot of red entering our lives these days.

Anyway, the pattern was great, straightforward. The metal frame is sturdy and feels like a quality item, and it arrived beautifully shiny and new, in fact all the supplies were great – what a wonderful shop U-Handbag is! And this is what I ended up with. I fell in love a little bit.



The bag is good and strong and holds all the everyday things I need, including kiddo’s water cup and wipes, even a little umbrella – and yet is lightweight with a comfy strap which stays on my shoulder. In fact I loved it so much, I started dreaming of making another one… this time in Melody Miller’s “Love Typewriters” in teal. Well, once you think the thought, it would be a crime against the Gods of Creative Loveliness to ignore it, so I made myself another one, which I love equally, or even a little bit more…



A small interior pocket with magnetic snap closure is perfect for purse, mobile and and lip balm. I chose a beautiful print for my interior fabric by Blend – Songbird in white from the Vintage Summer collection. I adore it, though I have a weakness for birds of course. I have some fat eigths of this beautiful collection, ready for quilting, i can’t wait!


And then my neighbour saw it and asked for one for her daughter, following which her friend did the same, so I made 4 bags in quick succession. I have no idea how handmade businesses continue to make the same item over and over, because even with a straightforward pattern which I didn’t have to draft myself, and lovely fabrics, I was bored bored bored by number 4 – although I did love the final bag too:




The fabric is Alexander Henry’s La Strada in Black and White, with a print from the Curio collection by Basic Grey for the lining to provide contrast. Both of the bags as gifts were very well received apparently, which says a lot for the mothers who chose their daughters’ fabrics from my stash, happiness all round 🙂

But I think I’ll take a break from sewing any more Big and Beautiful Betties for a while, and just enjoy using mine!

You can get the pattern here:

So. Many. Bags. And now I want a new holiday bag, for days out and all the stuff you need in the summer, suncream, water, snacks, childstuff – eeek. It’s not really need, but I want. And I want it in this (freebird by Momo, garden in geranium, I’m such a freebird geek, you can spot it in my flickr stream quilts)


And with no help from my boy. I think Lightning McQueen is influencing my colour choices too 😉

Till next time,

Poppy x

ps you can email me at

or visit my flickrstream at