“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.


    My Rising Star…

    This amazingly easy star patterned quilt block was inspired by the Rising Star block.  Here is a link to the  Missouri Star Quilt Co. website, where you can watch a video on how to make the original block, or you could also go directly to YouTube and watch it there.

    I love this block.  I mean it…I really do love this block.  Its so simple and looks so fabulous in modern fabrics and colorways.  One of my PEIMQG friends (Helen)  chose this block when she was Queen Bee in July.  Here is a picture of the block segments I made for her. They are not sewn together as per her wishes.


    Essentially the block is made up of four 8.5″ squares of background fabric.  Each 8.5″ square looks like this after the wedges are sewn on and before it is joined to the others.


    This is a lovely big 16.5″ block when its sewn; with lots of negative space to show off your awesome quilting skills (if you are lucky enough to have quilting skills).

    The minute I saw the block, I knew I wanted to make the same one when my turn came around to be Queen Bee in October, but I thought I’d tweak it a bit.  So here is what I did.

    I cut:

    • four 5.5″ blocks of grey background fabric
    • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric
    • one 2″ x 5″ rectangle of bright small print fabric
    • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric
    • one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of bright small print fabric

    Step 1

    Right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of white-on-black fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric;  and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left side of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim the star overhang to the size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Step 2

    Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you added lays across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, with right sides together, place one 2″x5″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx 1.50 to 1.75 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric (same as you did before); and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Congratulations, you are half done.

    Turn your fabric background square two quarter turns, so that the blades of the star are on the right side and across the bottom of the background square.

    Step 3

    Right sides together, place one 1.5″ x 4″ rectangle of black-on-white fabric on the background square approx. 1.25 inches from the top left corner of the background fabric; and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.   Sew using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Step 4

    Turn the block one quarter turn, so the blade you just added is across the top of the background fabric square.  Then, right sides together, place one 1.5″x 4″ rectangle of colourful fabric on the background square approx. 1.25″ from the top left corner of the background fabric and on an angle so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left edge of the background fabric.  Sew using a quarter inch seam allowance. Press, turn over and trim to size of background square.  Do not cut away the fabric behind the blade of the star.

    Woo Hoo, you have finished one quarter of the block.  Now follow the above instructions and do everything all over again 3 more times.

    Sew the four segments together with the larger star in the centre.  When you are finished the block should like like this.


    The block should measure 10 1/2″ square.  PLEASE DO NOT TRIM THE BLOCK AFTER YOU SEW IT.

    For all you PEIMQG members who are sewing these blocks with me in October/November each of you received a baggy with

    • 4 – 5.5 inch background squares
    • 2 – 2 x 5″ rectangles of white on black fabric
    • 2 – 1.5 x 4″ rectangles of black on white fabric

    Please raid your stash and use:

    • two 2×5″ rectangles of bright coloured, small print or tone-on-tone fabric
    • two 1.5×4″ rectangles of contrasting bright coloured small print, or tone-on-tone fabric (use whatever you have in your stash, please stay away from fabrics with a lot of white in them if possible)

    I will trim the blocks when I get them after the November PEIMQG meeting. If you have any questions, please email me at grannycanquilt@gmail.com, or leave a comment below.

    Thanks for participating. I’m so excited to see how this quilt will look when its finished!



    Katy Lucy, the Quilt

    This post is my entry into the Large quilt section of the  Bloggers Quilt Festival – Fall 2016 being hosted by Amy Ellis of AmysCreativeSide.  I call her Katy Lucy because she is going to be gifted to my lovely niece, Katy Lucy B on her big birthday at the end of October.

    Yikes…where do I begin with this quilt…its massive (for me at least). It was inspired by Jen Kingwell’s Avatrix Medallion quilt.  Actually I purchased the pattern and made the whole quilt with some modifications, of course…and at the very end just before I sent it off to be quilted by the amazing Liz Dempsey at Blueberry Cove Quilting Studio,  I decided I didn’t like the way the centre medallion looked, so took it out and replaced it with this nested churn dash.  I also changed one of the borders because I just hate making templates (which was required for the outside border row) and since I  loooooove pinwheels, I decided to change up the pattern.  This is one of my favourite pictures of the blocks before they got sewn into that row.  If you click on the menu above, you can see the picto-toot I developed to make that process easier.  There are almost a gazillion pinwheels in that quilt.IMG_1305

    This quilt was determined not to be finished for a long time.  I posted about it once when I realized it was lost in the infamous WIP cupboard, and again here when I was found it and started working on it again.

    This quilt made an appearance at the Dundas Plowing Match in Dundas PEI in August, where it won itself a blue 2nd place ribbon.  I am quite proud of her (and of her namesake too for that matter).  I hope you like her as much as I do.

    Teal Mini Swap – I made a mini…I’m gonna get a mini

    Designed by Beth Helfter, EvaPaige Quilt Designs, the Teal Mini Swap is an annual event intended to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, provide funds for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and to give quilters and sewers a fun little swap


    This is my entry into the mini quilt category over at Amy’s Creative Side.  I wrote this post less than a week ago to say thank you for my partner in the Teal Mini Quilt 2016 swap.

    I was moved to participate this year, because my sister-in-law, Helene is currently receiving treatment for a gynaecological cancer.  Chemo was/is scheduled every 3 weeks since mid-August and continues through November, 2016. Helene is a remarkably strong and vibrant woman, but she is overwhelmed with debilitating side effects from chemotherapy.  I hoped I could raise her spirits and your awareness of this monstrous disease by taking part in a very worthy cause.  

    After signing up I was quickly paired with the lovely Ms. Tony Jean Dickerson of Kansas City, MO. As participants we each received a small piece of the specially selected teal swap fabric – this year a lovely Moda teal (its the dark teal square in the picture below!) –  which we were asked to use  when making a mini quilt or mug rug for our swap partner. We were instructed to make our Minis or mug rugs in September and get them delivered to partners no later than October 2. 

    Tony Jean and I quickly became Facebook friends and started chatting via Messenger, e-mail and on the Facebook page created for the swap.  I learned that Tony Jean works for a school system in Kansas City, that she would like a mini-quilt for her new office…and her office is in an ultra modern building with a bold blue and orange colour scheme.  I love orange and blue together, so was eager to start pulling fabric, cutting, piecing, and sewing on the mini for her.  At first I was afraid that the various teal fabrics wouldn’t play well together, but much to my pleasure, all the shades of blue, orange and teal that I pulled went together well.  Here is a photo of the colours I ended up choosing, including the teal fabric provided by the Swap Host and Moda.


    After poking around Pinterest Boards and pins for a day or two, I found my inspiration in this lovely mini quilt by Terry Aske of Terry Aske Art Quilts.  You can check out her “Mostly Teal” mini quilt in more detail by clicking here if you are so inclined.  You should go, because there are a lot of really beautiful textile and fibre art pieces on her website.  Don’t forget to come back.

    “Mostly Teal”  by Terry Aske – TerryAskeArtQuilts.com


    I knew I didn’t have the skills to make anything nearly as wonderful as this, but I did happen to have lots of fabric snippets in the colours that Tony Jean asked for, as you can see.   So I began…

    It only took one evening to piece my version…which I’m calling sTeal Magnolias. I’m happy to say there were no snags or hiccups during the piecing, and it turned out to be as cute as a button, all blue, green, orange and teal.

    FYI, the mini quilt was supposed to be no more than 18″ square (Tony Jean’s mini did end up just a smidge bigger finished).

    Also FYI, I have absolutely no machine quilting skills at all because I either hand-quilt or send all my tops out to be long-arm quilted.

    Also FYI, I didn’t think I should hand-quilt this fairly modern wonky log cabin, so after I finished piecing the mini, I resolved I would machine quilt it on my Babylock by myself.  Yikes, OMG, Holy Heck Hermione, etc., I was very nervous that after all my hard work, I would wreck it at this stage. So with my heart in my mouth and my fingers crossed, I commenced machine quilting. And HOLY MOLEY IT TURNED OUT GREAT.  See.

    I went with in-the-ditch quilting for the  log cabins and very narrow rows straight lines with some gentle curves every 4th or fifth row. I used my walking foot and a Hera marker to try to keep everything fairly linear,  Here is the back of the quilt.


    As you can see the back is pieced with scraps I had on hand and a sample block that I had drafted and discarded for the Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop (which is a whole ‘nuther story for a whole ‘nuther day).  I hand printed the label with a dark teal pigma pen (so it should last forever), glue basted it to the quilt and quilted it down, then popped it into the mail for my new friend Tony Jean Dickerson in Kansas City, MO. USA.

    I sure hope she likes it.  I am beyond excited to get mine from her  in the mail.  I’ll post  a picture as soon as it gets here.  Yay!






    Berry Fields – my first block design.

    It’s my turn to share the block I made for the Cloud Nine New Block Blog Hop.  And, of course, I wrote a picto-toot to go with it.  Holy O My Goodness.  Who’dathought I could do that.  Should you want to make this block, you will find the some handy-dandy details below.

    First let me say I am completely blown away by the blocks that yesterday’s bloggers posted. I feel so lucky to be part of this blog hop and so excited to see all these lovely blocks.

    Second, let me say, I tried to make sure that this block was never published before.  As you know, that in itself is a very difficult thing because there are so many quilt designer/bloggers out there.  Lets face it folks, it is not at all that outside the realm of possibility that someone thought of this block layout before me.

    Third, please know that if I did design a block that’s already out there in the world with someone’s copyright attached to it, I didn’t do it on purpose…I did a Google Image search and checked Pinterest five ways to Sunday to cover my bases.  And…if you (who own the block pattern) will contact me, I’ll definitely make sure that you, not me, get all the credit for this very cool block.

    So with no further ado, here we go.

    “Berry Fields” – A Block Picto-toot

    Cut the following pieces for one  12 1/2″ (unfinished) block. This block is put together in sections.  Just follow the instructions on the pics and before you know it, you’ll be done.


    Set out pieces for Section 1 and sew as described on the picture


    Press seams in this section to the right…


    Then lay out pieces for Section 2 and sew together as follows:



    Press seams in this section to the left…

    Use the remaining pieces to lay out Section 3 and sew together as instructed



    Press seams in this section to the right…

    All that’s left to do is lay out the 3 sections and admire your gawjeus block.


    Sew the 3 rows together as instructed on the picture and – Holy heck Hermione – you’re finished and its a beautiful block!


      “Berry Fields”



    That wasn’t hard at all was it?

    PS:  If you were so inclined, you could make a whole bunch of these blocks and create a quilt.  Give each block a quarter turn and you will get lots of excitement and motion in the quilt top and a cool secondary pattern that will appear just like magic where the coloured rectangles in the corners come together.  Try it and see…

    Now you should definitely go check out all the ahhhmazing blocks made by the others in this blog hop.

    Today’s Group (not including me)

    Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs

    Miranda @I Have Purple Hair
    Jennifer @The Inquiring Quilter
    Sarah @123 Quilt
    Leanne @Devoted Quilter
    Jen @Patterns By Jen
    Jennifer @RV Quilting
    Amanda @Quiltologie
    Sharon @Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
    Jen @A Dream and A Stitch
    Jen @Faith and Fabric
    Carole @Carole Lyles Shaw
    Stephanie @Quilt’n Party
    Susan @Sevenoaks Street Quilts
    Katrin @Now What Puppilalla
    Amista @Hilltop Custom Designs
    Nicole @Handwrought Quilts
    Marla @Penny Lane Quilts
    Silvia @A Stranger View
    Sarah @Smiles Too Loudly
    Carrie @the zen quilter
    Mary @Quilting is in My Blood

    Yesterday’s Group

    Host: Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    Abigail @Cut & Alter
    Janice @Color, Creating, and Quilting!
    Lorinda @Laurel, Poppy, and Pine
    Melva @Melva Loves Scraps
    Renee @Quilts of a Feather
    Kathryn @Upitis Quilts
    Kim @Leland Ave Studios
    Amanda @this mom quilts
    Holly @Lighthouse Lane Designs
    Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
    Jennifer @Dizzy Quilter
    Karen @Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
    Anne @Said With Love
    Suzy @Adventurous Applique and Quilting
    Sharla @Thistle Thicket Studio
    Kathleen @Smiles From Kate
    Amanda @Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.
    Sarah @Sarah Goer Quilts
    Chelsea @Patch the Giraffe
    Jinger @Trials of a Newbie Quilter
    Anja @Anja Quilts
    Daisy @Ants to Sugar

    Tomorrow’s Group

    Host: Stephanie @Late Night Quilter

    Kathy @Kathys Kwilts and More
    Paige @Quilted Blooms
    Mary @Strip Quilts Pass it On
    Allison @Woodberry Way
    Seven @The Concerned Craft
    Olusola @Alice Samuel’s Quilt Co.
    Ann @Brown Paws Quilting
    Jodie @Persimmon + Pear
    Vicki @Orchid Owl Quilts
    Kitty @Night Quilter
    Francine @Mochawildchild
    Shelley @The Carpenter’s Daughter who Quilts
    Jayne @Twiggy and Opal
    Geraldine @Living Water Quilter
    Shannon @Shannon Fraser Designs
    Lisa @Sunlight In Winter Quilts
    Jessica @Quilty Habit
    Cassandra @The (not so) Dramatic Life
    Deanna @Stitches Quilting
    Denise @Craft Traditions

    Trust me, you will be blown away by the ahhhmazing blocks this group has dreamed…and drafted…up.

    Thank you so much to Cloud Nine fabrics for providing this beautiful fabric.  Thanks to our hosts and to everyone who supported me while I was putting the idea for this block together.


    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.

    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