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Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses Block

From the time I first began quilting I experimented with ways to “fussy cut” fabrics to give interest to the blocks I was making. Unbeknownst to me during that same time, an Englishwoman named Lucy Boston (1892-1990) was doing her own experimenting with fabrics and she created many spectacular quilts, probably the most famous being her Patchwork of the Crosses.



With the renewed interest in hand piecing and working with mirror-imaged fabrics, Lucy’s Patchwork of the Crosses block has become very popular. The block is made with with a single shape–the honeycomb (elongated hexagon). The blocks are then joined with squares.



Some people stitch the blocks in the traditional manner and some use the English paper piecing technique. No matter which technique you use, the most fun part is seeing how many different ways you can cut the fabric to create different effects.



I experimented with the Patchwork of the Crosses block using just two border print fabrics. Typically a mirror-imaged motif is centered in the middle of the template, such as you see here.



But what happens if you deliberately “skew” the template so that the mirror-imaged motif is not centered?



Mark a portion of the design onto the template and then flip it and find the mirror-imaged counterpart.

That technique was used in the corners of the two blocks shown above.

As we began playing around with Lucy Boston blocks and hexagons, or “hexies,” last year, we began to carry acrylic and paper templates for these projects making the process faster and easier. We also have some tips on our website for fussy cutting border prints for these projects. We’ve been having so much fun with these. Why don’t you give it a try?


8 thoughts on “Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses Block

  1. do you have instructions anywhere that goes thru the whole English Paper Piecing process? Thanks!

    1. We do not have step-by-step instructions on our site but there are lots of great videos and tutorials on the web. The book that is being featured on our web special this week, Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses is also a great reference tool.

  2. Aside from Lucy being an accomplished quilter, she is a famous author in England who wrote children’s books , called the Green Knowe series. They are wonderful stories..

  3. As always, such a lovely use of fabric!! Just beautiful and inspiring !

  4. I purchased the acrylic templates. Is there a reason they have a 3/8″ seam allowance instead of 1/4″? Thanks

    1. For English piecing a slightly larger seam allowance is used, that is why it has the 3/8″.

  5. years ago, i had a pattern for Calico Cat ornament. Crazy Quilt Cat Ornament
    Pattern updated by Elaine Kelly
    Of course i have the first sheet, but cannot find the special place that is now hiding the second page.
    Second page has the cat pattern. i am one that cannot complete anything unless i have the pattern.
    Is it still available? Thanks

  6. What an interesting article , thank you. The examples given are lovely. I hope people also look on line to enjoy the original quilt. You can visit it in its original home in an ancient manor house near Cambridge in the UK. Hemmingfords Greys. But you have to telephone first to arrange your visit as it is still the Boston family home!

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