Lucy's Terrace Is Born
My first Lucy's Terrace Quilt was a commission for Free Spirit Fabrics several years ago for their Quilt Market Booth. The brief was to make a 45" x 60" quilt inspired by the Patchwork of the Crosses, with each block featuring a different artist promoting their collections at the market. I was given all the fabric, a quick turnaround, and had a lot of fun rising to the challenge of bringing very different fabrics together in one quilt!
For the last year or so, the desire to remake Lucy has been growing. I wanted to make it square, and therefore a more practical 60" lap quilt. I wanted to make it scrappy, but still keep the pretty, colourful vibe of the original.
I put it off, knowing that blocks that involve both fussy cutting, and several different colours, can end up taking me a year or more to complete. Each block requires decisions and spreading out and making a mess. I actually really like quilts like this, but I already had Hexie Harvest and Ice Cream Soda on my WIP list, quilts that both require decisions to be made for each block. Did I want to add another?
Rethinking My Strategy
A couple of years ago, I remade my Mandolin Quilt, another design with multiple colours in rounds, and fun opportunities for fussy cutting. But, for that quilt, instead of making one block at a time, I chose all 20 centre hexagons first, and then the next round for every block, and then the next. It was a great way to check for balance and develop the whole quilt at once, rather than getting to the end and realising I had a habit of always choosing the same colour for the outside.
I decided to give it a go for this quilt, and see what happened. I cut and basted a whole lot of honeycombs in sets of 4, and then I sat down to make a bunch of little Xs. But, things turned out quite differently than I expected!
Instead of making all the centres first, I found myself playing with different fabric combinations. I spent many happy hours, completely lost in the process, moving honeycombs around, seeing what I liked and didn't. When I settled on 4 prints I liked together, I snapped a photo on my phone, put the pieces in a ziplock bag, and set it aside to make any extra honeycombs I needed to finish the block.
Using this method, I quickly discovered what fabrics I liked and didn't, and what worked to achieve the bright, happy feel I wanted. Any honeycombs that didn't make the cut were set aside for a different, scrappy quilt I had in mind.
‘Getting into the zone’ in this way was quite striking to me. I often use stitching to let my feelings and thoughts bubble to the surface, or to switch off with an audiobook in my headphones, or to keep my hands busy while hosting guests or chatting to the kids. But this was different. No headphones, no company, no rushing thoughts, just me and the fabric. Everything else disappeared for a while as I focused my attention on creating. It was wonderful!
A Note about Fussy Cutting
I had to dig deep through my stash for prints that suited fussy cutting because I've spent the last few years focusing on buying prints that were basics or scattered florals. After a while, though, I realised that just choosing prints that suited fussy cutting lead to a messy, haphazard colour placement. So I went through my stash for a second sweep and pulled out prints that were bright and happy and filled any colour gaps.
The result is that my blocks aren't intricate kaleidoscopes like some fussy cutting traditionally is. Instead, I've balanced busy shapes with basics to increase contrast, balanced geometric play with novelty prints for interest, and often, where there were flowers, instead of choosing the exact same motif from the print, I just made sure they were all facing the right way, and generally centered in the shape. The result is a much more ‘relaxed’ fussy cut quilt (and patchwork experience) that suited me better.
Ready to make your own Lucy's Terrace quilt?
Lucy's Terrace is now available in the shop as an updated PDF pattern, EPP kit, and acrylic template set. You can see the changes (and the similarities) above from the original release of Lucy's Terrace (on the left) to the update (on the right). I'm just so happy with how this turned out!
I hope you'll jump in and make your own version, too. It's just such a lovely quilt for developing your fussy cutting style, getting to know your fabrics, learning what secondary patterns evolve, and most importantly, experiencing that feeling of the world melting away as you play with different combinations. The perfect creative escape!
Click below to embark on your own creative escape!