Thursday, October 24, 2013

Giant xPlus Block with Bonus HST Tutorial

Giant xPlus Block with Bonus HST Tutorial 

 This Tutorial variation was inspired by:
 Amy/badskirt 8" 
which she credits inspiration to Setsuko Inagawa's quilt and original block attributed to Nancy Cabot. 

Me & My Mixed Scale xPlus Top

12.5" blocks Mixed with 24" blocks
A few weeks ago my picture caught a lot of attention on flickr and comments on a recent blog post so when Leanne at  She Can Quilt invited me to be part of the FAL Q3 Guest Tutorials, it was perfect timing.  I've only written a tutorial twice before;  Polaroids and Tassels and have never been a guest blogger - so if all of this seems a bit rough around the edges you'll know why!
Thanks for having me, Karen

24" Block Cut List:

Plus Center  = Two 4.5"x 4.5"and One 4.5"x12.5"
Plus End Tabs = Two 6.5"x 4.5" and Two 4.5"x6.5" (or Four 4.5"x 6.5 if non-directional)
Background = Eight 6.5"x6.5"
X = Four different fabrics, each 10.5"x10.5" (fussy and non-fussy instructions given below)
all seams 1/4. all seams ironed open.

the FABRIC Grouping

Audition and Decide on Fabric Placement
The look of the block varies greatly based on your choices, so have fun deciding what goes where!
Another Fabric Grouping Sample
Take a picture for reference later, especially if you are chain sewing several blocks at the same time. 

the PLUS

Plus Center
Cut Two 4.5"x 4.5" and One 12.5"x4.5" for the Plus from the same fabric.
Above you can see a fussy and a non-fussy version.
Plus Ends
Cut Two 4.5"x6.5" and Two 6.5"x4.5" for the Plus End Tabs of the same fabric if your fabric is directional like the sample below. Later, you'll also need to pay attention to orientation during assembly OR you can cut Four 4.5"x6.5 of non-directional fabric stacked like the picture above.

 the FUSSY X

Using a 12.5" square ruler, cut a visual guide out of tracing paper 5.5" wide. Draw a line down the center.  Place it on the mat using the 45 degree line & vertical reference (see arrows). Cut one tip. 
Cut the First Guide Tip
Reposition the ruler on the tracing paper at the 10.5" line shown below with red arrows and at the center line on the guide shown below with a green circle. Cut the second tip.  
Remember that this is not a cutting template, but rather a visual guide for the X portion of the block. 
Cut the Second Guide Tip
Mark the center of the guide and tape it to your ruler. Play around with the fabric pattern repeats until you find what you like. Because the block is Jumbo, you can highlight special larger scale prints.

Cut the two sides where your tracing paper is at the ruler edge, shown at the top of the photo above.

Reposition the ruler and cut the other two sides to get a  fussy 10.5"x 10.5" square.

the NON-Fussy X option

Cut a stack of 10.5" squares. I prefer the look of mixing fussy and non fussy x segments together.


Cut Eight 6.5"x6.5" Background.  For a high contrast, pick something that is similar to your Plus Center fabric and different from your X and Plus Ends fabric since they will touch.

Draw a line down the center of the wrong side of the background squares tip to tip and another 1/2" from it on the outer side only.   These will be your STITCH lines. 

Align the background squares with the edge of the x square and put one pin where they overlap and one pin near each outer point to help keep things in place. 
Chain piece all of the center lines on one side, then the center lines on the other side. 
Do the same for the outer lines. Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

The bonus half square triangle are well worth the second pass because they're so large. 
Cut 1/4" from the center line right between the two stitch lines.

Here are the X parts once the background bonus half square triangles have been trimmed off. 
Press seams open being careful not to stretch or distort the square because they are now on the bias.
Close Up on one fussy cut X segment 


Sew a 6.5"x4.5" Plus End to the left and right of the Plus Center 4.5"x12.5".  
Sew a 4.5"x6.5" Plus End to the Plus Center 4.5"4.5" and repeat to make two.
Refer to the numbers and picture above, pressing open seams between each step: Sew an x segment to each side of the vertical Plus,  repeat to make two. Sew the horizontal seams #3 & #4 and you're done!
During the final assembly steps I pin the ends and along the joints but I don't stress about perfect joints.


Measuring just shy of 6", these are totally usable parts for another project and you get eight from each block with little extra effort.  I will probably clean up them to 5.5" before sewing them together. 


Sample of a lower contrast background.
Sample of using all very similar X and Plus Ends
Four 12.5" blocks sewn together join nicely to the 24" blocks. 
Another shot of my Mixed Scale xPlus Top


  1. Your quilt is outstanding. I keep looking at it, and drinking it in. I'll be putting this on my to do list. Thanks for the tute, too.

  2. Love this collection of different sized x and + blocks!

  3. Karen, Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. This is one of my all time favorite blocks and I so appreciate you sharing this! You did a very good job writing this up!! Have a Merry Christmas!!

  4. Thank you for sharing! This is great, I will have to try it. :)

  5. Love it! Thanks for the tutorial! Cannot start until September unfortunately. But will start gathering my fabric bits.

  6. Thanks so much for the tutorial for this - it's wonderful and I think needs to go onto the coming year's TO DO list.

  7. Beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing the tutorial.

  8. Yeeowzer!! I love your quilt of many colors! I'm drawn to X and plus quilts and I wonder how many I'm going to make and then I see yours and think...I've got to have another!! Beautiful. It's in line somewhere after one of those Gypsy Wife quilts. You're hard work turned out a stunner. Doyle


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