Tutorial: 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. Valerie in CS said

    Neat, neat! I’ve seen LOTS of cross quilts all over Flickr —- thank you for the show-how of using the concept with fat quarters. I have an abundance of those!

  2. Ellen Ban said

    Can’t wait to try these! Thanks for the tutorial!

  3. Elaine said

    Like Valerie, I have a lot of fat quarters I just had to have, now I have something to do with them. Thank you.

  4. Lucia said

    Thanks for a great tutorial. I am making a collaborative quilt using cross blocks and linked to your tutorial. I hope that’s ok.

  5. Kate said

    Thank you for this tutorial! All the other wonky cross block tutorials I’ve seen have been for such large blocks – 12″. I’m using Chicopee and, like you with Hope Valley, I’m reluctant to use large cuts.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: