Today's block is the Criss Cross, an absolutely gorgeous block when set on a strait layout or on point. Although it might look impressive, it's pretty simple to piece together. It will also be an introduction to blocks that incorporate half-square triangles.
The Criss Cross has become on of my favorite blocks, and although I haven't done much with it yet I have plans to make a full sized quilt out of blocks set on point. My first plan was to do the quilt in red and white, but lately I've been thinking yellow would be nice too. I'll have to keep you updated on that if I get other projects done first.
Speaking of other projects, I tallied my WIPs the other day and I have 22! Not too bad I guess, but I also have several baby quilts that need to be started and finished within the next couple of weeks. After last weekend's Quilt-A-Fair in Longmont, I now have plenty of fabric to start sewing more WIPS.
I went a bit crazy at this years Quilt-A-Fair but it was my birthday and stashes can never be too big. I bought a new ruler, a jelly roll of Jelly Bean fabrics by Laundry Day Fabrics for Moda, a layer cake of 30's Playtime Favorites by Chloe's Closet for Moda, 6 yards of different prints, 6 1/8 yard bundles, and 83 fat quarters for the grand total of (drum roll please) $108!
A lot of the fat quarters that I chose are reminiscent of civil war fabrics, perfect for an EPP project I've been working on. But most of the fabrics I bought simply because they were pretty and only made plans for them once I got home and actually looked at them. But enough of my bragging, let's get back to the Criss Cross block.
Before we jump into the instructions for the block, I will say that it does require a little more attention to accurate piecing than some other blocks in order for the point to come out clean. While piecing the fabrics, don't feel discouraged or disappointed if you need to rip some seams and resew a seam. Practice makes perfect is a rule that we all follow .
To make the Criss Cross block you will need the following:
- cutting mat
- rotary cutter
- quilting ruler
- sewing machine and thread
- strait pins
- fabric bundle (I chose Persimmon by BasicGrey for Moda)
- Iron and ironing board
To start, select two fabrics from your stash. To make the design pop, select fabrics that highly contrast one another. Cut the following pieces:
- five 2-1/4 x 5-3/4" rectangles
- six 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" squares
- four 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" squares
- four 2-1/4 x 2-1/4" triangles
- eight 2-1/2 x 2-1/2" squares
The eight white 2-1/2 x 2-1/2" squares will have to be cut in half to create the triangles that form the edge of the block.
To do this, simply line your ruler up with two points of the square and cute a strait line. Try to make the cut right on the corners and keep the sides of the triangle 2-1/4" in length. I've used a different fabric in the example on the left so you can better see how to line up your ruler and fabric.
Once all of the eight triangles are cut, lay out the fabric pieces according to the picture.
I always lay out the fabrics in the pattern of the block. It is time consuming, but this gives you a preview of what the finished block will look like and allows you to make changes and adjustments to the arrangement of the block.
To star piecing the block, begin by sewing together the three blocks on either side of the center blue rectangle. Press the seams open.
The pieced squares should be 5-3/4" long, the same length as the blue rectangle.
Sew together the square strips and the blue rectangle. Take care to line up the ends of the fabric so that they are even and strait when the seams are pressed open.
Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible. The square should measure 5-3/4 x 5-3/4"
Next we'll start piecing the corners of the block. Line up the 45° angle of the white triangles with the bottom corners of the blue square and sew together.
When the seams are pressed open, there should be small dog ears that overlap the edge of the blue square. Trim these off to make a clean seam.
Repeat this process for all four corners.
Now sew on the triangles that will create the actual corners of the blocks. Line up the long side of the triangle (the side that creates the 45° angles) with the short edge of the blue square strip and sew together.
Press the seams away from the center of the block. Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.
There should still be four unsewn blue rectangles and four unsewn white triangles remaining.
Sew together the blue rectangles and corner pieces. The 45° angle corners of the blue square strips will overlap the edges of the blue rectangle. Make sure they overlap evenly before sewing together. Press open the seams.
Choose two opposing corners of the block to sew on the remaining four white triangles. In the picture they are the upper right and lower left corners. Line up the 45° angle of the white triangles with the bottom corners of the blue rectangles and sew together.
When the seams are pressed open, there should be small dog ears that overlap the edge of the blue square. Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.
Now we will begin assembling the corners and center of the block together. Set aside the two corners that you pieced in Step 7.
One at a time sew the remaining two corner pieces to the center square you created in Step 4. Press the seams open.
Use your ruler to check the sizes of the squares. They should each measure 1-3/4" wide. If they do not, double check the size of your seam allowance and sew then again if necessary.
Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible.
Now sew on the two corner pieces you created in Step 7. Line up the long side of the corner pieces with the edge of the center of the block. The corners of the white triangles should overlap the edge of the other fabric. Make sure the corners overlap evenly before sewing.
When the seams are pressed open, there should be small dog ears that overlap the edge of the blue square. Press the right side of the fabric and make the fabric lay as flat as possible. Use your ruler to trim off all of the dog ears.
The finished block should measure 10-1/4 x 10-1/4"
Just to give you an idea, here's what the block would look like when set on point. Sometimes a simple alteration can really alter the look of a block. Imagine the possibilities when you start to add sashing and sashing elements like stars or squares, or if instead of contrasting colors you used related colors such as pink and red.
I hope you like this block as much as I do, I'm thinking about creating another tutorial for creating this block en mass, so I'll let you know if that's going to be a project I'm going to under anytime soon.
Join me next week as we continue our journey through the Simple Sampler Quilt!
Happy Quilting! - Rita