“Crosses and Xs”, A Picto-Toot’…


This modern looking beauty is a VERY traditional block.  It is sometimes called Japanese Cross or Crosses and Losses.  Quilters like me have been crushing on it  since the 1930s.  This block was originally credited to Nancy Cabot in 1938 according to Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Block Patterns.  So there you go…Everything old is new again; what goes around comes around…You get the idea.

I saw this block featured on my  Pinterest feed and I absolutely love it. It looks ahhhmazing in a pastel-y palate and just as great if you are a wild woman like me when you are picking colours for quilts.

(There are more pics and links to finished projects at the end of the Toot).

So without any more chit-chat, here is the Picto Toot that will make a 10.5″ unfinished block.

    This block requires SEVEN FABRICS in any combination. Go. Wild.  I dare you. I did!


    Seriously folks, 7 fabrics–Absolutely No Exceptions.

    Now lets get out those rotary cutters and start having fun. Here is how I cut the fabrics for this Toot’.


    Yikes.  Relax you can do this.  Lets start with the 8 x 2.5″ squares.


    Use a ruler and a pencil to draw a diagonal line on the back of each of these 8 squares.  You could also fold the squares on the diagonal and press the line – or – use a Hera tool – or – if you are super confident, just wing it (I don’t have that kinda courage).

    Pick up the 4 x 4″ squares and the marked 2.5″ squares and head over to the sewing machine.


    Place a small square on each of the larger squares (just like in the pic) and sew ’em together right down that line.  Then do it all over again on the opposite corner.  You’ll use two smaller squares on each larger square.  But you knew that already didn’t you?

    After they’re sewn on, flip the smaller squares back on the sewn line, and press,press,press…before you start cutting off the ends.  I find pressing at this stage helps to square everything up, if your stitching line tends to be a bit wonky. Sigh.


    Now you can cut the undersides away like the above picture.  Flip the small corner triangle back into place. Then just sit for a minute and enjoy how pretty they look (and give yourself a pat on the back for your bold colour choices).

    Okay, moving on to the next section.  Confession time… I  didn’t take very many pictures of this stage… my iPad was perilously close to running out of battery life. Here is the only pic I took.


    Its pretty self explanatory.  Pick two of the remaining teal 2.5″  blocks  and two lavender (pink?) blocks  to sew together and and sew the last two lavender (pink?) blocks to each side of the teal 6.5″ rectangle.

    Whew…you’re almost there.  Set out your block like this….


    Sew them together in rows, matching seams if you are that kind of girl, which I’m not… but that’s a story for another day.  Then head back to the pressing station one final time.   I prefer to press the rows towards the cross because it helps to make those pretty crosses pop…but that’s your call. You could also press the seams open to reduce bulk if that’s the kinda thing that makes you crazy. 

    Prepare to be amazed and impressed with yourself.  This is what the finished block will look like.


    Yay You.  You made a beautifully modern/traditional block.

    And now for your viewing pleasure, here are a few more pics of how this could go together into a quilt and/or what some other colour choices would look like.


    My personal favourite Color combo–so far!

    The grouping of blocks below came from Flikr.  I love them too because this shows you that more low-key  colorways can also be very effective in this block.

    +&x blocks progress

    You can also go to my Pinterest Feed and find about another gazillion colour choices.  Here is the link for Granny Can Quilt – Modern Granny.  Just scroll through the Board and you will find some great colorways for this block (and lots of other fab-u-lous stuff IMHO!)

    or just click here; or here; or here; Gawjus…Gawjus…Gawjus.


    Click  here for a link to a Pinterest tutorial for a 5.5″unfinished block. 

    If by chance you want to make a 15.5 inch unfinished block, here is the cutting information you need. Then just follow along with my tutorial to make a gigantic version. 

    • cut 2 squares 3.5″ and 1 rectangle 3.5″ x 9.5 from the cross fabric
    • Cut 4 squares 3.5″
    • Cut 8 squares 3.5″ for corner triangles
    • Cut 4 squares 6.5″ for Xs

    One last thing I should say…look at all the blocks on my Pinterest Page and you’ll see that you can use the 7 fabrics wherever you want in the block.  As an example, you could make all four arms in the Xs from the same fabric, or from 2, 3 or 4 different ones.  IMHO you should probably make the crosses from the same fabric, so they don’t get lost in the mix, but you could probably get away with using different ones that were very equal in tone and value. Click here to see what I mean.

    Leave me a comment if you like this tutorial; and post some pics if you make the block.  I’d love to link them up here.

    Have an amazingly creative day.


    In my humble opinion….

    Our PEIMQG is attempting to build a library for members use and part of the responsibility that goes along with that, is to offer insight into the books available for loan.  Naturally this is a huge job and we are a very new Guild, so the other night our blog author, *Cathy* asked for volunteers to write a book review on one of the books in our library.  Since I have no personal self control at all, I took the plunge and agreed to give a report/review on one book on the list.

    So here goes.

    It was long long ago, and far far away in my Grade 12 literature class, when I last wrote a book review so it goes without saying that I completely forgot how to do it and a reminder was in order.   It turns out I am not the first to wonder about writing interesting and informative book reviews.  There are approximately 1.2 gazillion sites that will tell you how to go about it.  But for the most part, all agree with step one.

    Introduce the Book… so with no further ado, please meet

    ModBlock – Missouri Star Quilt Co.  – The Color Issue.  

    Click here to go to the Missouri Star Quilt Co. (MSQC) website to get all details such as: place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features, price etc.

    I have to say right here at the get-go, this is not an old-fashioned beginning to end book written by one author, explaining the one technique that made him/her famous and then giving examples of his/her work; this is the first edition in a series of books by MSQC to feature some really well known and respected quilters/bloggers, talking about what they do best.

    Are you a “new-ish” quilter? or perhaps you are new to the whole idea of “modern” quilting. Then, you, my friend, are the person who this book is written for.  Let me quote what ModBlock has to say,

    “There is a new found freedom that you feel when making a modern quilt.  You can follow the pattern or break free and choose you own design path.  There are no rules, just great ideas to help you get started….”

    So, there are no quilt police, no rigid rules to follow, no right or wrong, no matchy-match match monkey business.  Anything goes.  Sounds like a great place to start doesn’t it? (or alternatively, absolutely terrifying and the stuff of your worst nightmares…. but that’s a subject for another day and another book review)

    The contributors in this edition are Molli Sparkles, Shea Henderson, Amy Ellis, Natalie Earnheart, Lisa Hirsch, Alexia Abegg, Vanessa Vargas Wilson and of course, Jennny Doan, founder of MSQC.  Each of them tackles a part of the quilt making process and explains what they think about and how they approach building a cohesive, modern block/quilt.

    Themes discussed are tone/color play, colour placement,  improv piecing, twists on old-fashioned/traditional blocks, use of negative space and new and exciting tools of the trade.  There is even a section for someone who wants to really break out of their box and make a tote bag! Holy Heck Hermione!

    Each chapter is presented by a contributor in his/her own words so you can get a really clear picture of how they interpret a particular aspect of quilt making and IMHO should make sense to even the newest newbie who ever picked up a rotary cutter. And bonus, there are tons of photos in every section.  Naturally each presenter provides great examples of projects and provides a pattern for you, should you be inclined to try out the technique.  All told, there are 10 great projects included in this book.

    In terms of which author provided content that was most meaningful to me AND which project I want to try, there was absolutely no contest,  my favourite contributor was Natalie Earnheart.  I absolutely fell in love with her “Dapper Dan” quilt.  The section discusses “negative space” and how to make it interesting (which is something that I always struggle with).  It also touches on composition and making opportunities for interesting movement in quilt design (another thing which I grapple with every times I pick up my rotary cutter).  O yeah,  there are also templates involved in this pattern….Yikes.  So am I going to make this quilt…You betcha, but I’m gonna need help from my friends at PEIMQG to make it happen.

    If you are a somewhat cautious or new “modern” quilt artisan, you will enjoy this book because it is simply written, with tons of great features such as supply lists for projects and tips to help guide you through construction 0f each project while making it as easy peasy as it naturally should be. The frosting on the cake are the great pictures (sorry folks, there no cake pics).

    If you are a well established modern quilter, you will identify with the ideas presented and enjoy the opportunity to get a better perspective of what some of your favourite quilt designers/bloggers are doing and how they go about doing it. In my opinion thats a win/win. 

    All told this is a very good book, with information that both new and more experienced modern quilters will appreciate.   It’s well worth a read! 


    Pin More not Less

    I always use safety pins to baste my quilts – and always think there must be a better way.  Even with this nifty tool for closing those darn pins, its realllllly realllllly hard on my fingers.  Okay I know I’m a bit of a princess, but seriously if you have ever closed approximately 1.2 gazillion safety pins on a queen sized quilt, you are feeling my pain.

    There IS a better way…Its a straight pin anchor called Pinmoors.  You can buy them on line at this website.  They are so pretty and such a dang good idea.  My only issue with these is how much they cost.  Unfortunately they are just a bit too expensive for my budget.

    They say necessity is the mother of invention and Google is a close runner-up (well I said the last part, but it’s so true).  I searched Pinterest to see if anyone had come up with a work-around invention — and of course someone had.  I found a pin from the Closet Crafter and followed it to her blog to find out that she was not the originator of the idea, which is really really too bad as I would love to give that person credit for this amazing DIY solution to my o-so-painful pin problem.  But for the sake of fairness, you should go check out her blog, it looks amazing. Closet Crafter is here.

    With no further ado, and almost no more words, here is my plan for making my own pin moor wannabes and how to baste a little quilt with them.


    So there you have it.  The pins stick into the foam bits and don’t move at all. However a word of caution…if you are one of those folks whose ears are sensitive to noises…when you take the pins out, they squeak…just a tiny bit like fingernails on a chalkboard…nothing in this world is perfect my friends.  Fortunately I am not bothered by such trivialities.

    Now all I have to do is quilt this little beauty and turn it into a pillow form.  When I do, I’ll add a photo here.

    GRANNYcanQUILT…that’s me!

    Hello, and welcome to my tiny piece of cyberspace.

    Lucky me, along with about 55 others, I’m part of the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. We are hosted by Cheryl at Meadowmist Designs, Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, and Stephanie at Late Night Quilter. Way back in the spring,  our hosts divided us into smaller hives and I found myself part of Chery’s tribe.  We call ourselves “Mis-Bee-Hivin’. This is our button.

    The awesome Amista from Hilltop Custom Designs created it. You should check out her blog, you’ll love it.  You should also come back so you can click on the links to check out these great blogs.

    Kate @ Smiles from Kate

    Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter

    Abigail @ Cut and Alter

    Jen @ Faith and Fabric

    Emily @ The Darling Dogwood

    Susan @ Sevenoaks Street Quilts

    Heide @ Heide’s Quilty Hugs

    Hannah @ Unsophisticated and Jejune

    Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting

    Jamie @ Small Town Stitchin

    Irene @ Patchwork and Pastry

    Jen @ Patterns by Jen

    Velda @ GRANNYcanQUILT (that’s me)

    Janice @ Color, Creating and Quilting

    Miranda @ I have purple hair

    Laurel @ Laurel, Poppy and Pine

    I gotta say it makes me flinch to talk about myself, so I decided to re-work a  list of “oh-so-sad-but-true” things about me that I posted on another site a while back.  None of this of  has anything to do with quilting;  but I am however confident it will give you a clearer picture of who I am and what I’m all about.

    1. I am writing this post at 1:30 p.m. and I am still wearing my pyjamas…not such a terrible confession, unless you know as I do, that I did not bother to change out of my pyjamas when I took my dogs for a walk this morning.
    2. I am planning to cook dinner and serve it at no later than 4:45 p.m.
    3. Three times already today, I walked into the kitchen and three times I could not remember why, so three times today, so far, I have opened the cupboard and eaten a cookie while standing there, pondering the contents of the pantry.  In my defence, this behaviour is very similar to that of a teenaged boy.
    4. I had the bed made and  the bathrooms by 10:00 a.m. It was the most exciting part of the morning.  ‘Nuff said about how quiet my life is.
    5. I am supposed to take a cholesterol pill daily.  In order to remember if I took it,  I have to say to my husband, as I am taking my pill…”Honey, I took my pill.” Sigh…Is that not the saddest thing you ever read?

    Lets just say I am recently retired and enjoy a very laid-back lifestyle. Somedays I think I may actually be getting OLD.  Holy O My Goodness.  How did that happen?

    Now on to some other things about me that are actually relevant to the reason for this post.

    • I am a quilter/maker /lover of all things built by a person’s own hand.
    • I have a mother’s pride in every single quilt I have ever made.  Even the wonky weird ones like these. They really are almost like children to me.  If you want to see more, check out this post about my quilty family.
      Why didn’t I see that line of dark blocks before I sewed this quilt together?
      Holy Cow…Way too much yellow here
      These dogs all look like they need a rabies shot.  And where did that blue cat come from?

      This was supposed to be a “Maple Leaf Quilt”.
    • I have more ideas for quilts percolating in my mind than I can ever make.
    • I blog about quilts and quilting because I cannot, not do so.  Does that make sense?

    At the end of the day and every morning, I am Velda, a person who is

    • old enough to have escaped from the workaday  rat-race;
    • young enough to dream about new possibilities, (perhaps a flower farm? or a goat ranch?)
    • o-so-glad to be enjoying a simple fulfilling lifestyle;
    • married to the love of my life;  and
    • comfortable with the person I’m becoming.  I still have a long way to go,  but I really do try to improve myself or make my world a better place in some small way every day.

    If you are in the mood to continue reading, I’m pleased to share

    A Blogging Tip

    Keep a list  of “someday” posts on your Drafts blog page. Lets face it, getting a post started is always the hardest part of the whole process.  I learned that if I have several drafts stored, I can often turn one into a coherent post.  It doesn’t have to be words, it just needs to be something to tweak a memory, or an idea…And you’d be amazed how helpful a photo, or a quote,  or even a random thought an be in getting your fingers flying across the page.

    A Quilting Tip

    I wrote a post about tips a while back. You can read it if you like. Its called I’m feeling a little bit tipsy this morning! .  Here is an excerpt. Follow the link on the post.  It leads you to a fabulous video that will seriously make your life better on those terrible days when nothing goes together right.

    How to use my seam ripper properly (not that I have ever, in my whole life, ever, made a mistake and had to un-sew a block).  This tip is from Sew Kind of Wonderful, which is one of my favourite modern quilt blogs.  Honestly, we all make mistakes sometimes;  and this little video on how to use a seam ripper ROCKS.  Check it out, then do what I did, go rip out a whole seam just for fun in less than 10 seconds.  The adrenaline rush is amazing and you will feel like SuperQuilter…. Seriously, I dare you.

    A Question for My Fellow Quilters…

    Do you sew?

    My answer is always the same…No, I wish I could, but I cannot sew.  I am a Quilter, I can Quilt.  I cannot wrap my head around the idea of pinning a bunch of fragile, virtually transparent pattern sheets on a large piece of expensive yardage, cutting around them (with scissors, not a rotary cutter OMG)  and expecting that something wearable will be the end product.  The whole notion  of notches, darts and zippers gives me the heebee  jeebies. Don’t even get me started on buttonholes or blind hems. I am terrified of the whole process.  I confess to feeling some shame for this obvious failing of of mine, because I know that many of us came to be quilters out of a love of sewing and that there are amazing seamstresses who also quilt, but not me… I’d really like to know am I the only person who feels like this? And could you tell me how to hem my jeans so they don’t look like they were done by my poodle Tigg and his sidekick Odie.

     My Dream Vacation Spot is right where I’m sitting right now.  I am so lucky to be living here on beautiful PEI Canada, about .5 of a kilometre from one of the top 15 beaches in North America, with a backyard that is like a park (no thanks to me,  I am not a gardener, but my hubby is.

    IMG_2073 IMG_0654 IMG_0653

    img_1954 IMG_0460 IMG_0435 IMG_1249 IMG_0854 IMG_1136

    And, finally one random thing about me that you might not have guessed.
    I ran a full marathon when I was fifty years old…thats 42.2 kilometres (26.2 miles) of non-stop running for 4 hours and 17 minutes. Yikes.  Even now 10 years later, I smile when I remember how I felt when I crossed that finish line.  I kinda feel the same way now that I’ve finished this post…not really, but a bit anyway!  Thanks for dropping by.  Come back any time.

    3rd Quarter Finish-Along Link-up

    Holy Cow. I don’t really have very many unfinished projects hanging around to link up for the 3rd quarter because I cleaned out my cupboards when I sent  a whole schwack  of tops off to “Quilts for Fort MacMurray” in late spring.

    But…I do have a couple of tops just barely started and one left over from the 2nd Quarter.

    So here we go.  These pictures are possible layouts for my Gene Pool Quilt by Jen Kingwell.  I blogged about it here while I was trying to figure out layouts.

    Stay tuned for further posts, or check back with 3rd quarter finishes to see which layout I chose–and if I managed to finish it.

    This churn dash beauty is definitely on my list and first up for finishes in this 3rd quarter.  I truly love this little quilt.  I pieced it several years ago based on a pattern in “Quilts for Chocolate Lovers” by Janet Jones Worley.  I thought I’d sent it off in the package of quilt tops for “Quilts for Fort MacMurray”, so imagine my delight when I realized the other day that it is still here in my cupboard.  I hope to put the quilt sandwich together this week and get it into the hoop for some hand quilting love. Stay tuned for a post because I’m going to try something completely different when basting this little lady.  Instead of safety pins, I’m going to use Straight Pins and homemade “pinmores”.  Pictures, etc to follow (and possibly a tutorial, if all goes well)

    This quilt is quite small and will look great with simple quilting in the centre and in the churn dashes.  We’ll see about the blue outer border.  Probably I will go with some kind of freehand vines, as that is my go-to border treatment…especially when the quilt is quite linear.

    Churndashes and Checkers


    How to make Magic 8 HST

    In picto-toot format, here is a very very simple tutorial on how to make 8 HST at a time!  I know, I know, its not new, its not different,  but it is still very exciting for those of us who are needing a nudge to do things differently from time to time.

    I love HSTs.  IMHO, these little beauties are the cornerstones  of patchwork.   Especially when they turn out perfectly like they always do when I make them this way. Follow along with the pictures.  I really really hope my photography and photo-editing skills will improve.

    The first thing you need to know is how big to cut your squares. Here is the math chart for commonly used HSTs.


    Okeydokey, once you have that organized, proceed as follows. FYI, in this toot, I wanted 2 1/2 unfinished HSTs, so I cut 5 3/4″ squares.


    I’m feeling a little bit tipsy this morning!

    Yikes, that sounds like I’ve been doing shots of tequila and its only 7:22 in the morning here on PEI. (Although in my defence, this is the first day of daylight-savings-time, so it really feels like 6:22, but I digress).

    I’m not drinking, what I am doing is thinking about the gazillions of  brilliant ideas that creative folks do to make  unhappy quilting situations better.

    So with no further ado, here are five of my besties.

    1.  How to use my seam ripper properly (not that I have ever, in my whole life, ever, made a mistake and had to un-sew a block).  This tip is from Sew Kind of Wonderful, which is one of my favourite modern quilt blogs.  Honestly, we all make mistakes sometimes;  and this little video on how to use a seam ripper ROCKS.  Check it out, then do what I did, go rip out a whole seam just for fun in less than 10 seconds.  You will feel like SuperQuilter…. Seriously, I dare you.  Then come back here for tip 2.
    2. Pressing pinwheel and other bulky block intersections.  I don’t know about you, but I suffer from severe block envy when I see all those perfectly flat blocks that many quilters are posting daily on The Splendid Sampler  Facebook site. So naturally I went looking to see if I could learn the secret to their success.  Joan from Winging It! has one answer and its brilliant. Try it next time you are in the mood to make this versatile block.    I am also sewing along on the The Gypsy Wife 2016 Quilt-Along over at SplishSplashStash  and very soon, I will need to make 23 trillion of these pin-wheel cutie pies.  This tip will make everything much happier for me.
    3. OMG my rotary cutter blade is dull as a stump and I don’t have a spare on hand.  Relax, chill, and read this post from Penny’s Hands.  Now take yourself into the kitchen, grab that tinfoil (that’s what we call it here on PEI), follow Penny’s instructions carefully, then continue gleefully cutting those strips.  Be aware though this tip won’t work if your blade was nicked because you accidentally dropped it on the floor a thousand times without the safety cover on…which I would never ever do.  Nosiree Bob, not me.
    4. Measure Twice, Cut Once…My husband is a killer wood worker and his best advice (which I’m sharing here, completely without his permission)  is Measure Twice, Cut Once.  WELL, that sounds so simple doesn’t it.  Why don’t I just do it!
    5. Help Mom, how do I do this?  When you are looking for advice and your momma is not close by, (or like me, she is close by, but not a quilter) you should go here for the  Best advice ever for quilters. I found 67 great tips right there and now they are all at your fingertips too.  You are so welcome!

    Have an insanely creative and beautiful day.

    Quilt Granny (aka Velda from PEI)