Blog Contest Winner

I used a random number generator to choose a winner from those who commented on my post about Working With X-Blocks Rulers. Drumroll, please……..the winner is Linette Greene! Linette, I’ve sent you an email, please respond to that with your mailing address and I’ll send out your prize of a Mini X-Blocks ruler and a pattern. Thanks to everyone who played! And if any of you do decide to try an X-Blocks quilt, I’d love to see it!

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More About the X-Blocks Rulers

After my last post about X-Blocks rulers, (while you’re there, leave a comment to enter my giveaway!) I’ve had some questions about the different sizes and types which I’ll try to answer  here.

The Large X-Blocks ruler comes in two sizes: 6-1/2″ and 7-1/2″. The only difference is you will start with different size strips or squares, and the finished projects come out different sizes. For instance, if you were to make the Triple Play quilt using the 6-1/2″ ruler, the quilt would finish at 40″ x 40″. Using the 7-1/2″ ruler it would be 45″ x 45″. You would only need one of these rulers to make any of the quilts in the first book, as well as most of the individual patterns.

The Mini X-Blocks rulers can be used on their own to make smaller versions of most of the projects – the Triple Play quilt would end up about 24″ x 24″. The blocks they make finish at one-fourth the size of the large ruler, so you could combine Mini 6-1/2″ blocks with Large 6-1/2″ blocks in the same project (or Mini 7-1/2″ with Large 7-1/2″).

The BellyButton rulers are sized to fit the center of the nine-patch made for the Large X-Blocks ruler. Let’s see if this photo helps:

ImageObviously I’m using blocks from two different projects here – normally they would match and make a pretty design. 😉

There are just a few patterns that require the use of the BellyButton (like the Thornton pattern to the left, click here to see my kit), but it gives a whole different look to the quilt. The BellyButtons can also be used on their own, just like the Minis, to create smaller versions of the projects.

So the bottom line is: you only need one ruler, plus the book or a pattern, to get started using the X-Blocks technique. The size depends on whether you like to make small or mini projects – then choose one of the Mini’s or BellyButtons. If you prefer lap or bed-sized quilts, start with one of the Large X-Blocks rulers.

If you like working with jelly rolls or  2-1/2″ strips, choose the 7-1/2″ size. There are a few patterns (Blueprints & Patch-ouli) that can ONLY be made using the 7-1/2″ large ruler (if using 2-1/2″ strips) or 7-1/2″ Mini ruler (if using honey buns or 1-1/2″ strips.)

Most of the patterns (individual or in the books) give cutting charts and instructions for making any of the projects using any size of the ruler. Don’t forget, you can find all of the X-Blocks rulers, books and patterns that I carry in one place right here.

Want to be sure you don’t miss any of my posts? Subscribe to my blog on the top left of this page. And you can “Like” me on Facebook over there on the left as well.

Working with X-Blocks Rulers

I admit it, I’m a ruler junkie. When I first started piecing quilts, I used nothing more than homemade cardboard templates, a pen or pencil to mark around them, and a pair of scissors to cut out the pieces. My have we come a long way! Rotary cutters, self-healing mats and acrylic rulers and templates have made the cutting process so much easier and more fun! While most shapes can be cut out using nothing more than a basic ruler, careful alignment and a little math, I’m happy to fork over some $$$ to the clever designers who do the math for me and create the wonderful rulers we have available today.

One ruler set I keep going back to is the X-Blocks Tools (tools, rulers, templates??? I’m not sure what to call them….) designed by Patricia Pepe of Quilt Queen Designs. I’ve previously shown one project I did with them here. I’ve also done the Triple Play pattern and Lone Pine, although I don’t have photos of my quilts at the moment.

I’ve been asked to explain how they work. Basically you sew simple units, such as a strip-set (Triple Play & Lone Pine) or a Nine Patch (Venetian Tiles pattern, the quilt I called Sapphires & Emeralds). Cutting with the X-Blocks rulers creates the magic and makes it look as though you are a much more accomplished quilter than you actually are!

So let’s start with a nine-patch block:

Cut around the X-blocks ruler:

And you have a finished block!

(Obviously, each of the nine-patches I show here had the same fabrics but in a different location within the block. Your block would not have the fabrics changing places with one another once they were cut – the rulers are magical, but they not THAT magical!!! 😉 )

That’s about all there is to it! Make a bunch more blocks and you have a quilt. Sometimes you make mirror image blocks by flipping the ruler over. And those wedge-shaped pieces that you’re cutting off……they don’t get wasted! Depending on the pattern, they’re used in the borders, or sometimes to make another project like a table runner. Fun, fun, FUN!!

Have you done an X-Blocks project? If so, which one? If you haven’t tried one, are you now tempted? Leave me a comment below, and I’ll choose one comment at random to win a pattern and a Mini X-Blocks ruler! I’ll leave the contest open until 11:59pm CST Friday, May 25.

And if you would like to try an X-Blocks project, I have all of the X-Blocks patterns, books and rulers in one place on my website. Be sure and look at all the other fun things I have available while you’re there.

Want to be sure you don’t miss any of my posts? Subscribe to my blog on the top left of this page. And you can “Like” me on Facebook over there on the left as well.

Why Three Yards?

Many quilters like to purchase fat quarters (9″ x 22″ precut pieces of fabric), jelly rolls (2-1/2″ strips, usually 40 pieces in a roll), charm squares (5″ squares) or other precut fabrics. Especially at quilt shows, these grab-n-go packages make shopping easy and fun. Some vendors also carry precut 1/2 yards or full yards of fabric.

But how often have you pulled out these treasures when you were ready to start a project, and realized you just don’t have enough of that fabric you fell in love with to complete your chosen pattern? The old rule of thumb I’ve heard is: “If you like it buy one yard, love it buy 3 yards, and can’t live without it buy 6 yards”!

One reason for the 3 yard thinking is that you can cut your borders lengthwise (parallel to the selvedges) and not have to piece them. A 3 yard length gives you 108 uninterrupted inches of border, which is enough for all but the very largest king-sized quilt. Did you also know that the lengthwise grain of fabric is the most stable – has the least amount of stretch – which means the outer edges of your quilt will lie flatter and straighter?

Why else might you want 3 yards of a fabric? You would have enough for:

• sashing between blocks

• background blocks for applique

• alternate plain blocks between pieced or appliqued blocks

• the background for a strip or scrap quilt

• the beginnings of a garment

and many other uses.

I recently offered 3 yard cuts when vending at a quilt show, and they were very popular! Not only did you get a 3 yard piece, you also received 2 FREE coordinating fat quarters. Many people struggle with selecting colors for a quilt so they really appreciated having some coordinating colors chosen for them.

So what do you think? Would you like to see larger cuts like this ready-to-go at your local quilt shop or a quilt show? Let me know if you like this idea. And if you do like it, you can purchase these “Buy 3 (yards) Get 2 (FQs) Free”on my website. Plus, with fabric prices around $10/yd for cottons, and $12/yd for batiks, my price of $30 for the cotton bundles (just $8.57/yd) and $35 for the batik bundles (just $10/yd) saves you money!

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