Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hot Cross

These little cross blocks are so cute!  My son is always ribbing me about calling little things "cute", but these blocks really are cute!  Thankfully, they are really quick to put together, because it took forever to cut all the pieces out.  Okay, part of the reason it took foreer is that I obsessed over fabric placement.  I spent at least an hour just sorting the charm squares into pieces to use for the background and complementary pieces to use as the crosses.  I wanted to maker sure I didn't use any square twice as a background (duplicates are going in the border).  I alos changed up the cutting directions and only used solids for the tiny center squre (I do mean tiny - they finish at only 5/8").

I am using two "Fellowship" charm packs (Howard Marcus for Moda fabrics).  These charm packs have 5 colors - brown, tan, cream, red and blue.  Since the small version of Hot Cross has 25 blocks in the center, I wanted to have 5 blocks of each color.  Then I wanted to balance the busy backgrounds with calmer crosses and vice versa.  That involved a lot of arranging and rearranging.

I've read some blog posts in which quilters seem to complain that they had to buy 3 charm packs in order to get the same color feel as the original in the pattern (lights to darks, etc.) I agree that could be a problem, but I think you can solve that issue if you pick the pattern first, then the charm pack.  Pay attention to the number of light vs. dark and busy vs. calm fabrics.  If you want your version to have the same feel, try to find a fabric line that has most of the same quantities as the pattern sample.  You can gauge this a bit by checking out the fabric line on the manufacturer's Web site, or on the Fat Quarter Shop's Web site where they usually show a little collage of all the fabrics in a collection.  The best way to check out your charm pack, though, is in person at your LQS.  You can flip through the charm pack and count the lights/darks, busy/calm fabrics.

Once I got my combinations all set, I cut the pieces for each block one at a time so I could keep my chosen backgrounds and crosses together.  Then I neatly stacked all the matching sets in little bins from my local dollar store. 

It would probably be faster to chain piece thse blocks, but I really want to make sure I keep the sets together (since it took so long to get them just right), so I am sewing one block at a time.  Even so, these little cuties only take me 10 minutes each to put together.  Wow - almost instant gratification!

I used the Fit to be Quarter 6.5 ruler from Open Gate Quilts to square up the blocks.  It was so easy to get the little center square exactly centered at 2 1/2" and to line up the diagonal using this ruler.  I think this is going to be a favorite tool for me.

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