The Making of the Cross Quilt

My home has always been filled with crosses. They are ancient and holy symbols throughout the world and in many religions and forms of spirituality.


The cross is a holy and sacred sign. It finds the center, it grounds the unruly and unstable energies, and it points the way, albeit in four directions to the truth.

The Latin Cross, 'Crux Ordinaria', was called in early time's "God's March". As the most exalted sign of the Christian faith, is is considered the sign of all signs. But by far the greater number of signs in the Western world are based on the shape of the cross, whether it be imperial monograms, masonic signs, family signs or crests, dyemical symbols, or trademarks.

In world religions, we have St. Peters, St. Andrews, St. Anthonys or Egyptian, the Greek cross (Crux Imissa Quadrata) and all of its variations.

There is the Cross Patee, the Maltese Cross, the Cross Botonnee Treflee, the Cross Fleury or Cross of Cleves, tge Cross Pommee with little rounded ends,.

Add to that the Patriarchal Cross of Lorraine with two bars, the Papal Cross with three, there is even an eight ended cross of the Russian Orthodox Church!

The Holy Cross of the German Cross of Gnostics also called the Jerusalem Cross, the Svastica of Sylfot Cross derived from the Sun wheel which was grievioiuly misused and appropriated by Hitler as his spinning in the opposite direction Nazi swastika.

Alast but definitely not least, there is the Crux Dissimulaa, which was used in disguise during the persecution of Christians..

It goes on and on and on. I love knowing all of this, researching it, owning books about crosses.

The cross  symbol was one of the earliest things I drew, my children drew, and most children draw.

For the Native Americans, for the Buddhists, Hindus, Zen practitioners, it has different but the same meanings. It is simply a sign of the belief, of faith, and often of protection.  All representatives in varing ways of the Tao/Dao, the way, the path, the journey., the Four Directions.

Hence, it lies at the very basis of my own multi-cultural and accepting of all belief systems as long as they are for the good of all with respect for the divine power


Even very small children will make a cross before they make an 'x'. They will make a cross before they draw a circle. And they will make a cross as a mark of themselves. We teach children to make 'x's to represent their signatures in some cultures or societal pre-lingually.

But it is the innate holiness of understanding of the cross symbol in all cultures and in all styles that marks the point of grace, along with symbols like the dove, and the sacred heart, and the flames of the burning fire of metaphysical transformation.

And if you are familiar with the Egyptian staff of life, then you have already recognized its basis in the cross shape, as well. It is known as a looped or Tau Cross. Tau, the Greek letter, and Tau the Tao..the way, the path, the journey.

As someone who has been doubly blessed with a double baptism (both Catholic and Protestant), someone who has studied most world religions, I have always found and innately known it to be the perfect symbol of finding one's way to grace and to healing.

Therefore, when a dear quilter, Mary Lou Weidman, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, I was suddenly thrust into the forefront of the healing energies of quilting when combined with my own intrinsic gifts and blessings of heart and hands in service.

Mary Lou had asked quilters on facebook for a cross quilt and as ideas were tossed about, she suggested and posted photos off of the web of very artsy and liberal quilts and requesting red as the central color.

Traditional quilters asked how to make a block and I replied by creating a post with how to photos of my own as well as Mary Lou's request for specic bars sizing fit her personal likes as well as Christian faith.

We all made them and were ready to send them to her and her quilting friend/informal assistant to do with as she chose, when the nature of that task became evident to overwheming traditioal quilters who loved Mary's fabulous story quilts style of hand applique asxwell as avtask she was personally not ready to undertake.

Putting odds shapes of wonky blocks was my forte and i felt like i pretty much had to offer to receive all the blocks at my Oregon home, resize those that didn't understand or missed our very active facebook thread under mynown name, and still somehow get a variety of really interesting and varying sized blocks to fit into a creative and cohesive whole.

It was a far more daunting task that I'd imagined based on the huge suze differences in blocks.. I ended up making a dozen myself due to necessity and put resizing the extra large oversized blocks and extras into a double sided quilt storage pillowcase. It all eventually came together hut took me quite a while to figure out with my personal spatial dyslexia that often sees thibgs backwards

I barely slept or ate much less did  laundry  or cleaning for several intense weeks. I was having great fun hut worried that I might pull it off as quickly as needed etc

Our goal, in Mary Lou's 'wonky' style, and my own 'liberated quilting' one, was to make and use primarily liberated or wonky blocks. A wonky cross would be fun and improvisationally free pieced style and give a more modern and artistic look to the quilt.

In the end, 32 quilters responded with anywhere from one large to five or six tiny blocks each. I added in my blocks and additional spacing  pieces of my own to fit them all in,

I then designed the layouts, cut all of the blocks down to sizes needed to transform them into a manageable quilt size for quilting on my domestic sewing machine.

With blocks that began as big as 12" to as small as 4.5" that would have created a double sided California King sized quilt in basic appearance and simplicity, into (if I do say so myself ) a lovely and very liberated and wonky version that ended up as a useable comfort quilt at 4' x 6'.

I loved it and only wish I didn't have to give it away!

The perfect 'throw' size to cuddle up under without being too large or too heavy ..especially for someone recuperating from surgery!

I used another 32 blocks, also cut down as needed, to create a double sided pillow side in mostly reds, another side in mostly oranges. Powerful and healing and beautiful blocks and energies to aid in the healing journey.

And in 30 days from start to finish, plus another 3 days where the package took a bit of a nap in the Spokane Post Office ;-) it was done and our own sweet (most of the time?) 

Mary, filled and surrounded by love and grace was doubly blessed with several quilts from others and a final diagnosis of only requiring a small surgery. Blessings abound. 

Materials  I used: 

The Cross Quilt: a wide assortment of fabrics, from scraps to yardage of mostly brights, many prints, many shades and layers of complexity.

Its Backing:

Timeless Treasures "Quest for the Cure" (lovely floral) and "Faith" word fabric, combined with addtional cross blocks, these deliberately raw edge applique to symbolize the raw edge to the journey with cancer.

Quilting: with my own domestic sewing machine, organic vertical lines to symbolize the flow..both of the holy waters and spirit of grace.

And in the end it turned into my favorite quilt of all time and nicer than anything i even have in my limited possession now.

As a charitable quilter, my nicest quilts have all been given away. And often as in MLs case to quilters far more talented  than I am,or ever could be.

And most sadly of all for me, my own beautiful daughter was diagnosed with anvery advanced cancer and is undergoing extremely intense multifaceted treatment for Stage 3 breast cancer HER2+++. A complex cancer to treat and a challenging long term set of  treatments.