Lucy Boston Patchwork in The Quilt Life

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Quilt Life April 2014

Lucy Boston’s Patchworks are featured in the April 2014 issue of The Quilt Life!

We’re celebrating with a draw for a $50 Gift Certificate (below) and “the best is yet to come!”


The Quilt Life April 2014

It is a fascinating FIVE PAGE article by Diana Boston, Lucy Boston’s daughter-in-law, with beautiful photography by Julia Hedgecoe.


The Patchworks of Lucy Boston  POLB   Patchwork of the Crosses  POTC

Some of the photos in The Quilt Life are familiar from Diana’s book, The Patchworks of Lucy Boston, and from my book, Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses.

Lucy Boston gives hope and inspiration to any artist or quilter—but especially those of us in our fifties and sixties.

Lucy Boston made her most famous quilt, The Patchwork of the Crosses, when she was in her 60s. She was most prolific when she was in her 80s and continued to quilt in her 90s.


Inklingo POTC - Kathy Timmons


I cannot help but wonder how Lucy Boston’s artistic expression might have developed without three limitations that we do not face today.


Clothing Coupon

1. Limited availability of fabric

Lucy Boston’s efforts to find suitable cotton fabric in England are described in letters in The Patchworks of Lucy Boston, one of my all-time favorite books.

Did you know that even though the war ended in 1945, sugar, meat and other food was still rationed in England until 1953-1954? Cotton fabric was in limited supply in the 1960s and 1970s too, before the revival of quilting in America. In our abundant world, it is hard to imagine.

Lucy Boston had a painter’s eye and fabric was her palette but she lived at a time when only a very limited selection was available. Did it spur her creativity or limit her?

It’s a great time to be a quilter! In the whole history of the world there has never been more beautiful cotton fabric available than there is now. What would she have been able to create with it!


Dark glasses

2. Failing eyesight

The last 10 or 15 years of Lucy Boston’s life were saddened by her failing eyesight. How tragic for an artist!

She tried using a magnifier and village children threaded needles for her after school. “Damn my eyes. I could keep my spirits up if I could see,” Lucy wrote in a letter to her niece when she was in her nineties (POLB, page 5).

It’s a great time to be a quilter! There have been breakthroughs in the treatment of glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes and other age related causes of blindness in the past 50 years. If only there had been help for her! All of us have a better chance of keeping our sight even if we live to be 98, like Lucy Boston.


Inklingo POTC by Joan Cumming in Australia

3. English Paper Piecing

Lucy Boston is famous and respected as an artist for her brilliant use of the designs in the fabric, not for her sewing method.

Joan in Australia was inspired by Lucy Boston to create stunning POTC blocks by hand (more in the albums on Inklingo Yahoo) but she sewed with a running stitch, not English Paper Piecing, and was able to finish blocks in a fraction of the time.

English Paper Piecing is the slowest, most difficult, and least precise method in my book, but that was the method used in England at that time.

American quilting methods were not well-known in Britain, and Lucy Boston learned to sew by mending quilts which had been made in the early 1800s.

She cut her own templates from brochures and Basildon Bond writing paper. What if she had spent that time designing and sewing instead of basting and whip-stitching? A key to her artistic vision was matching identical motifs, but they were hidden from her when she was sewing!


Maggie Smith sewing POTC by the fire

I will always believe that she had even more exciting designs dancing in her head as she sat by the fire on long winter evenings. (That’s Maggie Smith sewing POTC in the movie From Time to Time based on one of Lucy Boston’s children’s books.)

We are grateful for the magnificent quilts, her delightful books, the impressive garden and the restored manor house, but I also think of “the lost quilts of Lucy Boston.” How many more masterpieces would we be admiring when we visit Hemingford Grey if she had had a better, faster method?

It’s a great time to be a quilter!  Even if we choose EPP instead of faster, easier methods, we can print freezer paper templates and the best of everything is readily available. (One of many EPP Tutorials)


Print shapes on fabric with Inklingo

We have many options. We can sew by machine or with a running stitch by hand to create her designs in a fraction of the time, with or without printing the shapes on fabric with Inklingo.


Inklingo POTC by Fern in Singapore

Fern in Singapore has finished a spectacular POTC quilt using Inklingo to print the shapes on fabric.

“I attempted and abandoned Lucy Boston’s quilt some 12 years ago. Inklingo makes it easy-peasy to make a complex, exquisite and magnificent quilt. I am having so much fun with mine now.”




As the article in The Quilt Life explains, music and gardening were also passions of Lucy Boston. She had a large collection of classical recordings. During the Second World War, she regularly hosted musical evenings for RAF pilots in her ancient manor house, as described in Diana’s book.

Given Lucy Boston’s passion for music, it seems appropriate that I have a favorite song running through my head while I write.

It’s not Lucy Boston’s classical music, but she makes me think the best is yet to come.

I love the duet of The Best is Yet to Come by Tony Bennett (another famous, beloved octogenarian) and Diana Krall (a very talented Canadian jazz musician).

All quilters would choose to be as creative and artistic as Lucy Boston was in her sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties. Lucy Boston showed us how. She is our heroine.

We need to believe that the best IS yet to come for us.


The Quilt Life


If ever there was a reason to subscribe to The Quilt Life, this is it!

If you do subscribe, please tell them Inklingo sent you. We want to encourage The Quilt Life and other quilting magazines to include more Inklingoable patterns, quilts and inspiration.

You can also follow The Quilt Life blog and The Quilt Life on Facebook.

Wouldn’t you love to have this issue of The Quilt Life to keep with your POTC quilt? The Quilt Life’s International Spotlight on Lucy Boston is important documentation to keep with an heirloom.


The Manor at Hemingford Grey


The All About Inklingo blog is also searchable. There are dozens of articles about Lucy Boston, her quilts, English Paper Piecing, fussy cutting, etc. (right sidebar).


Inklingo Castle Wall 4.5 inch   . . . Inklingo Castle Wall 6 inch . . . Inklingo Castle Wall 9 inch


The special intro price on Castle Wall ends Saturday night at midnight.

There is still time for your sweetie to buy it for you for Valentine’s Day—or buy it for your self and have money left over for chocolate.


Win Inklingo $50


You could win!

Leave a comment to be in the draw for a $50 Inklingo Gift Certificate. The winner will be announced on the first day of spring, March 20.

Monkey says $50 buys a lot of Inklingo!


You can subscribe (top of right sidebar) to receive an email every time we post a tutorial.

I hope you are feeling loved on Valentine’s Day. Lucy Boston is certainly well-loved by quilters all over the world every day of the year.

“Whatever she touched, whether it was literature, horticulture, topiary, needlework or simple everyday life, bore the imprint of her unerring sense of beauty and quality.” (Lucy Boston Remembered: Reminiscences Collected by Diana Boston)

What a legacy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Linda & Monkey

New to Inklingo? Order and download free shapes and start sewing in the next few minutes. Quick Start (Always FREE.) There are triangles, diamonds, and squares in the free collection—great for dozens of different blocks.

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240 thoughts on “Lucy Boston Patchwork in The Quilt Life”

  1. thanx for all your hard work, taking all the guessing out for us
    thanx to bonnie also for sharing her work with all of us
    both you nice ladies deserve a big hug

  2. Love inklingo, still working on my potc & everyone who sees them loves them too. So fast & easy. I watch those who are paper piecing and think how much more they could do with Inklingo, they claim to enjoy the paper piecing poor things….

  3. Love this pattern and really want to use the fussy cutting technique, you have explained how to fussy cut in a very easy to understand manner. Going through my stash this evening to find the perfect fabric. If not, what better excuse to go fabric shopping. Thanks Linda and Monkey for all the inspiration!

  4. Love Lucy Boston’s beautiful Patchwork of the Crosses Quilt! It is so interesting to learn about her..and I am so inspired that she quilted at such a great age! Lets all stay healthy so we can do the same!

  5. PICK ME! PICK ME! I just last night printed my first 2 pieces of fabric – it really is as intriguing as everyone says! I’ve already made notes of the patterns and I want to try first (wink…wink)!

  6. This is a project I would like to take on using the Inklingo method. I can see so many possibilities from everyone blocks I have seen so far. I will need a new hand piecing project soon. This may be it.

  7. Lucy Boston was amazing. Like a lot of us things happen that we don’t count on. Three years ago I was diagnosed with Graves’s disease which affected my eyes and so it is extremely hard for me to sew like I used to. Thanks to Inklingo’s great method of lines to cut and stitch I am still able to sew. Thank you Linda

  8. I’m commenting for the gift certificate giveaway. I love Lucy Boston POTC, but have to make the Jane Austen quilt first. POTC is on my list though.

  9. I would love to win the $50 gift certificate. I have been on your site looking for months now. I want so many collections, it is hard to decide. It would be wonderful to be able to start out with Collection 3 and buy smaller collections as I can. Thank you for the opportunity to win!

  10. I love all the ideas that come out of the blog. The photos are wonderful to view for inspiration. Thank you for sharing with us.

  11. I am winter weary this morning…but your site and this project inspired me out of my doldrums! I’m off to dig out the Visa card and order me some and have visions of crosses dancing in my head to use up some of my more difficult to use fabric in my stash…thank you, thank you! last time I had quilter’s block like this, it was your quilted diamonds that saved my day….you are so generous with your creativity and I thank you for this. I just added a stop at the book store for Quilters Life magazine

  12. I love the look of Lucy Boston patchwork of the crosses. I am going to try it this year for sure. Perfect design

  13. As always, you and Monkey have come up with a wonderful new idea and have expanded your fan base even more. Congratulations on another marvelous idea.

  14. Linda,
    I am so glad I came across Inklingo on the internet and got curious enough to find out what it was. You method has opened a new world for me in quilting. I have been making blocks I would have never even attempted with the regular way of piecing. Thank you so very much!

    Tammy in VA

  15. I really want the hexagon inklingo because I am dying to finish a quilt with hexies. I love them but it is not in the budget for me. Thanks for this chance!!

  16. I’m still working on my hexies with inklingo, but would love to start either a POTC or a castle wall quilt or a celtic solstice or…or…or……

  17. I just discovered inklingo i can’t wait to use it. i have been searching for a cowgirl and have discovered that there is not one in print allready si I’m gonna give you guys a try thank you for you ad in quilt life otherwise id never known you were out there.

  18. I am just discovering Inklingo and am really looking forward to trying it out. I just have to decide which pattern to start with

  19. I’m new to Inklingo and excited to try Storm at Sea with this method. I hope to download soon, but I’m also interested in the crosses of Lucy Boston – Beautiful!! Spring Break is fast approaching so I will decide and start printing so I have plenty to sew – at the beach, at the park, next to the pool – I can’t wait!!!

  20. Linda, I still remember the excitement of your DJ blocks that were elongated to triangles. So beautiful. I’m lucky to have won a bag you made with the DJ elongated. Then came Ink Lingo which should be 4 on your list. What would Lucy have become if she had had Ink Lingo. I don’t have to wonder. It is an astounding invention. It has made a great difference for us quilters. Can’t wait to see the article in The Quilt Life about Lucy Boston.

    PS Tony Bennett and Diana Krall are two of my favorites.

  21. I picked up your “Lucy Boston: Patchwork of the Crosses” book at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show one week ago today. In the meantime I’ve become a tiny bit . . . well . . . obsessed! Lucy’s inspiring quilt, your simplified method, and some fabric I purchased years ago are going to come together into something special. Since inklingo is so fabric conservative, I’m going to need more of your patterns to use up the leftovers. 🙂

  22. Thanks for a chance to win $50 certificate! Really enjoyed your info on Lucy Boston. I think I will subscribe to The Quilt Life, sounds like a magazine I would enjoy.


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