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:

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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:

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/77412217918/starflowers-chain-quilt-charm-pack-busting-hst

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.

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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:

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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

*Edited*

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:

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/2015/06/04/vintage-modern-ruby-stars-quilt-finally-finished/

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.

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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…

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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!

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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:

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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:

http://u-handbag.typepad.com/uhandblog/2010/05/free-bag-purse-pattern-big-n-beautiful-betty.html

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)

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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 poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/