Cross plus blocks

I caught the fever from Joan as you know and thought I’d share with you how I made my cross/plus/what have you blocks. There are many variations depending on your plans, hopes and dreams.

If you need several blocks from the same fabric, maybe Tia’s directions are for you.

If you want to cut your crosses and “backgrounds” from the same fabrics, maybe Carla’s liberated cross blocks are for you.

Kelly McCaleb also offers a pattern PDF on Etsy that is lovely and is another variation. Her sample quilt is sumptuous!

I had a specific need to conserve my Hope Valley fat quarters. And a desire to use some lovely Essex linen (in sand) acquired from Jackie.

So here’s what I did.

To make the most of my 18″ x 21″, I decided to cut approximate 6″ squares from my fat quarters. Three was the magic number. I also though, wanted to make some matching blocks with the Hope Valley fabric as the cross part, so I cut two strips approximately 2″ wide x 18″.

Should have chosen a defined fabric to show as my example:

That’s it! That’s all I’m willing to part with of these fat quarters for this project. I also had to kind of squeeze to get three 6″ blocks. Some of the blocks are more like 5 7/8″, but I figured I could work with that.

I also cut some insert strips for the crosses. Here you see the Essex linen blend. Cut approximate 2″ strips. You can cut them down as you work with each individual block…angling them and so forth:

So, take a 6″ square:

Cut it in half — angling it slightly is fine, off center is fine:

Cut an insert strip slightly longer than the cut edge:

Stitch the strip to half the block:

Press (out, open, your preference) and trim the strip even the “background” fabric before adding the other half of the block.

Add the other half of the block:


Now cut the block in half approximately perpendicular to the inserted strip:

Again, slightly angled or off center is fine.

Cut another insert strip slightly longer than the cut edge:

Sew it to half the block, press and trim the strip even with the “background” before adding the second half of the block:

Add the second half of the block and press:

Trim up your block. I’m trimming mine to 6″ square:

Depending on the width of strips you’ve inserted, you will have some flexibility in the “wonkiness” of your squaring up. Go crazy!


Fun, fast, easy! And, I will confirm, addictive.

EDITED TO ADD: Nearly forgot that I wanted to mention Karen Griska’s Asterisks quilt in the May/June 2010 Quiltmaker mag. LOVE IT!

Which then leads me to mention Busy Bee’s Victory Garden quilt pattern. I’ve been saving this one quietly for a while because I LURV it so much. I had to put it away because I start squealing every time I see it.


  1. Jenny said

    yep, add this to my list of things I want to do! Thanks for showing me how easy this block it!

  2. Jackie said

    Love how they look!! That is one block that I have done before and do it the same way that you do. Great method, great tutorial!

  3. AnnieO said

    My newbie quilter SIL made a cross quilt and loved it. She put sashing between all of her cross blocks. It is striking.

    Hope Valley is a great line to make one of these from! You’re getting me thinking of a stack of Australian themed 6″ squares I bought when I was there…dangit! Another quilt on the list. Now its 889 projects long…

  4. Great method! And since yours is a 7-patch instead of a 9-patch, there is less sewing! Tonight is Friday Night Sew-In and I plan on working on more cross blocks (though I am easily distracted to other things).

  5. Carla said

    Those 6 inch blocks are so, so cute. I am using my Hope Valley for the hexagon quilt along with BRB so enjoyed seen those sweeties in your cross blocks. Your tutorial was wonderful! Isn’t this fun?!

  6. Drooling over these wonky crosses. Putting them on The List. Excellent tutorial. Thank you!

  7. Beth said

    oh, those do look like a lot of fun to make!

  8. Stephanie said

    Dear Amy,

    I respectfully ask you to stop sharing these wonderful links and projects with us. I’m going to be poor, start looking like a hoarder, and add to my ridiculously long “I wanna make it” list! I do not have the will to stop reading your blog, nor the desire. Maybe chocolate will help.

    ~Piecefully, Stephanie :o)

  9. Anita said

    I don’t know which is better, crosses, astericks or union jacks. I think I might need one of each. 🙂

  10. Great tutorial! I am in love with cross quilts right now and have been inspired to make a ‘red cross’ one after seeing the incredible one for sale on Craft Hope for Haiti. There was also a gorgeous one featuring embroidery in the last Doll Quilt swap that inspired me as well. One day…..

  11. Lorraine said

    Thanks so much for this tutorial , it is definitely something I’ll be doing .

  12. pam said

    Hey I’ve got some victory garden blocks all cut out, some even assembled. IT IS WONDERFUL.

  13. I would really like to make the Asterics quilt someday too!

  14. kathy said

    Love those cross blocks….esp the victory garden!

  15. MichelleB said

    Thank you!

  16. Jan said

    These are very remininscent of Jan Mullen’s patterns that were so popular about 10 years ago. I made several and they were loads of fun…lots of (design) bang for your (effort) buck. Yours have a very different look with the fresh new fabrics, though. Everything old is new again…especially in quilting!

  17. Valerie in CS said

    Thank you for the PUSH to use just a smidgen of a fat quarter — I have a few I just can’t seem to make myself cut into. This will make it much less painful! *grin* Also, Karen’s Empire BOM blog has a tutorial for making the asterick block for those who are interested in learning the technique but not necessarily in making an entire quilt. Oh, and the Old Red Barn Co.’s next quilt-along is the Asterisk! Such fun!

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