October 22, 2019

Summer Sangria, an X-Plus Quilt

Let me introduce Summer Sangria. It's one of my favorite finishes from this summer and features several large scale prints and a very intense color palette. It was very hard to capture the true colors in photographs.
It's made using the X-Plus block and finishes at 60" x 72".  I added a border by repeating the plus part of the block all around the edge. I usually don't use borders but in this case I liked how it framed the quilt. It was quilted by Cara of Sew Colorado Quilting using the whisper pattern which added a nice swirly feel to the angular blocks.

My daughter and I took it on a little outing recently when we took a girls weekend away. These photos were taken on an evening hike through Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Couldn't resist the sangria bottle since it had all the right colors and name on the bottle.

I have always wanted to make an X-Plus quilt. The block was very popular several years ago and I always thought I'd make one using aquas and chartreuse. But this summer I opened a box with fabric I had set aside for a different quilt and they suddenly seemed perfect for the X-Plus block.

In the box was a fat quarter of this Kaffe Fassett fabric purchased many years ago. Reds and corals with a dull gray-green background and very bright chartreuse leaves. It paired well with another Kaffe spot print and Kona seafoam that is a close match to the print background. From my stash I pulled a rusty red/green dot print. These were all in the box.

Also in the box were three other large prints in somewhat similar colors. I had planned to use them in a modern minimal design I came up with years ago. That design no longer held much interest to me. Too simple. Too minimal. I have come to realize that more is more as far as my quilts are concerned. I like to throw in a lot of different prints and often a riot of color. Below are three of the original feature fabrics in the box.

I knew a wider range of fabrics was needed so I turned to my stash. I looked for X prints in the pink, coral, orange color range that varied in value. I looked for reds, oranges and even magentas that worked for the plus signs. Initially I planned on all chartreuse prints for the ends of the plus signs but realized it was better to broaden that color range as well so included yellows, oranges, and greens. For the background I debated on using all the same fabric but decided I preferred more variety there as well. I even used the original seafoam green to add a little more value change in the background. Below shows the lightest and darkest blocks plus one of my favorite blocks on the far right.

The end result couldn't be further from my initial idea. All sparked from a single print that caught my eye. Lots of color and value differences keeps my eye engaged. I think that's why prints appeal to me so much. Prints are my happy place.  : )

Numerous tutorials exist online on how to make the X-Plus block at different sizes. I thought I'd share some links here in case you'd like to make your own. From what I've read, the original block is attributed to Nancy Cabot in 1938.
  • For a 7.5" finished block check out this tutorial by Amy of Badskirt. 
  • For a 10" finished block check out this tutorial from My Quilt Infatuation. Kelly provides great tips for making a super scrappy X-Plus quilt.
  • For a 12.5" finished block check out this tutorial by Christine Barnes. If you're a Kaffe fan you'll love the blocks she made featuring Kaffes prints. They are gorgeous.
  • And for a giant 24" finished block check out this tutorial by Karen at CapitolaQuilter. She made a wonderful scrappy quilt that mixes block sizes.
If you'd like to draft your own X-Plus block the thing to remember is it's based on a 5 x 5 grid. Of course you can tweak the breakdown of the 5 x 5 measurements and customize your block to fit your needs.

I wanted a 12" finished block so I used the following measurements. It's not an even division of the 5 x 5 grid but it's so close you wouldn't know.
  • X:  cut (4) 5.5" x 5.5" squares. I used the same fabric for all four but you could use a different fabric for each one to make it more scrappy.
  • Background (corners of X pieces):  cut (8) 3" x 3" squares
  • Center cross:  cut (1) 2.5" x 7.5" AND  (2) 2.5" x 3" pieces
  • Outer cross:  cut (4) 2.5" x 3" pieces
You could also play with the measurements within the 5 x 5 grid to create thinner or thicker Xs. Here are some examples of how that might look. The illustration on the far left shows an uneven 5 x 5 grid with larger background corners resulting in narrow X units. The middle illustration shows the normal block with an even 5 x 5 grid. The far right shows another uneven grid but with smaller background corners resulting in wider X units.

You can see the look of the quilt changes when the grid measurements within the block are altered. Even though the X units are wider in the illustration on the right, the X itself gets lost because the background that helps define the shape is smaller. 

I really love how Summer Sangria looks in the guest room. Almost wish I had made it bigger because it looks so good on the bed. Especially with the floral pillows.

The X-Plus block offers so many possibilities I'm tempted to make another one. Maybe I'll make that aqua and chartreuse one I originally envisioned. Or perhaps a totally scrappy version where each X within the block is different. That would be a great way to use lots of scraps.

Have you ever made an X-Plus quilt? What colors did you use?

If you've never made one now might be the time. Maybe this post and my Pinterest board or the Instagram tag #xplusquilt will inspire you.

Linking up to Kelly's NTT, Wendy's Peacock Party, and Cheryl's Favorite Monthly Finish.

Hop over and be inspired.



  1. Oh, this is so juicy and wonderful!! I love that you went BIG and you went BOLD. Now I want to make my own X Plus blocks. Fabulous finish, Anne! :)

  2. Love this! The X & + block is one of my very favorites! I made one years ago when I participated in several FLickr swaps, so mine contains blocks made by many people from all over the world. Thanks for the list of tutorials. I'd gathered a few too and will compare resources. Congrats on your gorgeous finish!

  3. Another terrific Anne quilt. It seems that once you left the constraints of the "modern" look, you have found your stride and I love it. I'm a fan of the Plus-X block, too, and appreciate your clear directions. I have made a scrappy one, which my daughter absconded with, so maybe I need a new one like yours? Fabulous, Anne, so fabulous!

  4. This is such a beautiful quilt. Your choice of fabric is perfect for this design and I agree...more is more indeed! I too made one in a swap of blocks with Carla ( Lollyquiltz) and it remains one of my favourites!

  5. Stunning!! I love your colour choices here Anne and you've inspired me to follow your tutorial and make this pattern.

  6. A pretty yummy quilt! Your fabric selection was perfect!

  7. Love this one Anne. The colors are amazing. I don't think I have made this block - something I might need to try in the future.

  8. I love this, the colors are so vibrant and wonderful. I loved the pictures too!

  9. Hi Anne, what a wonderful quilt - and your photo shoot was amazing. I've never done an X-Plus quilt - maybe one day.

  10. Love, love, love this, Anne! And you know I don't even like Kaffe fabrics! :-) But the colors are just "wow!" The way you pulled them together is genius. I've made a plus block quilt - actually two of them - and both were made using other's patterns: "Comfort Quilt" by Amy'sCreativeSide, and a quilt with a single plus design by Paige Alexander, QuiltedBlooms. As always, the idea of making a scrappy plus quilt is most appealing. My eight canvas bins of scraps are overflowing!

  11. Wine and quilts, a perfect combo! Thanks for the tutorial on this quilt, it is such a versatile block.

  12. Is it possible to imbibe over the internet? It must be because I am feeling a sense of intoxication at the beauty of Summer Sangria :-) Gorgeous finish, as always!!! Thank you for showing the various illustrations. They do indeed change the look of the quilt.


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