Apr 9, 2015

Cross, Plus, or "Arithmetic" Quilt: Ideas, Links and Patterns

These wonderful cross or plus sign quilts were actually once known as"Arithmetic Quilts". A catchy names for those quilters seeing the cross blocks as plus signs.

 Creating one, is as simple as doing the match with simple squares to create a block and then adding in other squares/and or rectangles to make the finished block and quilt size you might want!

Cross quilt blocks can be square, rectangular or improvisationally pieced. But if you want your blocks to be a variety of sizes, they also need to be divisible by smaller block sizes and so they can be as easy or as complicated as you want and need them to be!

Mary Lou Weidman and other quilters were recently sharing their interest in making 'cross' quilts' and checking out google images or pinterest.  Now, Mary fell in love with a really, really artsy quilt that was created by a super talented art quilter. And that is not something all of us are capable of creating. So, if you need ideas, or a tutorial for any kind of a quilt, it's not always as easy as it should be figuring out the 'how to's' without a little help!

Unfortunately, search engines doesn't always show free images even if you type in the word 'free' and pinterest, frankly..is filled with just images now of  people wanting ' hits ' and not caring that they are taking you on wild goose chase! 

So, just for Mary Lou Weidman, who we all know and love, who was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and is sharing it opening on her blog and on facebook. So, send Mary your very best wishes, positive thoughts or prayers..or all of those..and drop her a line on her blog at:
 Mary Lou and Whimsy Too   

  Her favorite inspirational quilt!


And here is one that might be a bit more do-able!

And here's the one, I'm actually doing! 
Liberated, improvisationally free pieced cross quilt! Directions for making blocks, ideas, inspiration and the finished quilt at my links! From Michele Bilyeu: With Heart and Hands!

 All of my links on the making of these blocks : updated regularly!

 Cross or Plus Quilts: Free Patterns

 Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt

Making Mary Lou Weidman's Cross Quilt

 Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt:
And at the bottom of this post is a sampling of the style that Mary Lou loves and that friends are thinking about creating for her. (depending on who offers to help and who actually creates some 'hootchy mama' blocks for Mary!

But for everyone else, especially those who are not wonky, liberated or improvisationally inclined due to sanity and time constraints.........Here are some simple ideas and directions, for easier yet still awesome, cross quilts!

And everyone else, think about making one of these for someone you know who might be facing a similar challenge. These are absolutely perfect for a lap quilt during chemo, for someone in a wheelchair or even in bed, if you make one a bit larger.

Let's start with easiest of all...the simple nine patch. Makes a recognizable cross quilt and can still make a wonderful and quick gift!

My Linking Posts:

Making Prayer Quilts

Awareness Ribbons: Cancers/Other Diseases

*Free Breast Cancer Awareness Quilt Patterns

The prayer quilts that I have made in the past, were simple nine patch quilts. They are the easist of all to make, of course. I choose pink and purple for this quilt titled "Hope and Remembrance". It was made in honor of my mother who battled Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer and survived her 5 year milestone to then get Alzheimer's Disease, which she lived with until her death almost 9 years later. In honor of what would have been their 66th anniversary today, I am thinking of both my mom and my dad and sending love and gratitude by working on this project of cross quilts in their honor.

If you are a Liberated Quilter, as I am, think 'outside of the box' and create your own wonky or
A wonky square ..cross or plus...is this easy!
How easy it would then be to create a quilt from an assortment of wonky cross blocks!
Use my cutting diagram above but cross cut that solid vertical piece!

And now, we have an entire group..... modern and art quilters who are looking for more diverse arrangements with value and layouts and an entire generation of cross quilts have morphed into 'plus' quilts....some carefully pieced, others improvisationally created. So much fun, no matter what you choose to create!

                How about Skinny Crosses or Pluses if you're mathematically inclined?

Here is how Ashley of Film in the Frig made hers : Glimma
( with Windham Hill Fabric and pdf download of basic directions at
So, for cross, plus, or mathematical quilts as any design may be called,I share a small one and a medium sized one.  This is what I consider a 'do able' easy version just using the basic square and turning into larger units by the use of color. Want something more challenging...go for the improv and you do that on your own as that is the very definition of free piecing and improv, quilters ;-)

 But you can simply do the 'arithmetic' as I did by counting squares and make one any size you wish!

Basics for Making a Cross, Plus, or "Arithmetic" Quilt:

Color Selection and Value: See how differently one quilt can be depending on your own personal choices and selection of fabrics.

This layout is for a quilt that is about 54" x 75"when finished and larger if you add borders. This is considered a nice lap, nap,  or cot size.


20 fat quarters of the equivalent in scrap fabrics, your choices solids or prints, or combine both

2 yards of 90" wide batting

4 yards of backing fabric or pieced backings of choice

1/2 yard of binding fabric

Block #1: 72 pieces 4"x4" cut size (3.5" square finished)

Block #2: 27 pieces, 11"x4" cut size (10.5" x 3.5" finished)

Block #3: 6 pieces 7.5" x 4" cut size (7"x 4" finished)


From 20 fat quarters or the equivalent in scrap fabrics:

Cut (4) 4.5"x21" strips

Subcut each strip into (4) 4.5" squares for a grand total of 320 squares.


19 rows of
16 square each

You will need:

(48) - Full 5 square cross/pluses

(11) - 4 square parts

(2) - 3 square parts

(14) - Single squares


If you cant wing it from here, check out the 'By George' diagram. Note that other sites are linked at bottom of this post for other ideas!

Free X Quilt Tutorial and Pattern

Smaller and simpler version:

Cross or Plus quilt finishes at 38" x 52"


 15 different fabrics if you want real variety and subtle background tones or fewer if not.

Start with approximate scraps that are at least 4.5" strips of each to create blocks that will be cut at 4"x 4"

1/2 yard or 24 squares of  dark

1/3 yard or 20 squares of

1/4 yard or 15 squares of a medium or bright

1/2 yard or 24 squares of a light

1/4 yard or 18 squares of another light

1/4 yard or 16 squares of a print

1/4 yard or 11 squares of a background neutral

1/4 yard or 14 squares of a second background neutral

12” of fabric for 2 1/4” cut binding

1 2/3 yards of fabric for backing

1. To cut the squares, align the selvedges of each fabric and cut a four-inch strip, then sub cut the strips into 4” squares.

2. Follow the diagram or quilt photo to layout your squares.

Note:If you can't wing it from the above or want another option, 
click on one of the pictured links below and go directly to others sites for tutorials!


Cross Quilt Tutorial by Sew Katie Did



Note: All of these arithmetic, plus, or cross quilt patterns and tutorials are available for free, don't be fooled by going into a cart and paying for one.

Come here and I will almost always have what you need, if not..I will soon be adding it in!


Uneven nine patch and star quilt by Laura Boehnke at All People Quilt

Hot Pink Cross quilt tutorial at Betty Ninja

Plus Quilt Tutorial by Jeni at In Color Order

The Crossing Quilt in Ann Kelle Fabrics

Happy Camper Wonky Cross Quilt

Happy Camper Wonky Cross Quilt with a free tutorial from Sew, Mama Sew!

 Criss-Cross Cushions

Low Volume Plus Blocks Tutorial

Low volume plus quilt

Ideas from Pinterest and google images!



With Heart and Hands:

Michele Bilyeu and her "Healing Cross Quilt" complied of blocks made by a multitude of quilters from around the United and States and Canada for Mary Lou Weidman 

Michele Bilyeu :www.with-heart-and-hands.com 

Photos of my Healing Cross Quilt in Progress
Michele Savikko Bilyeu

My Links for the making of my cross quilt:

 Cross or Plus Quilts: Free Patterns

 Designing a Liberated Cross Block and Quilt

Making Mary Lou Weidman's Cross Quilt

The Mary Lou Weidman Healing Power of Love Cross Quilt

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!


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Timely and well done ... As always! Thanks ...

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