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.

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Another Twinkle Quilt

Thanks to all who commented on my last post of “Does Size Matter?“! While this quilt is made up of only a few relatively simple pieces (Half-Square Triangles, Triangle Squares, Snowball blocks, squares and rectangles), there are various colorations of each unit. So it’s been one of my more challenging patterns to write in a manner that will keep everything easy and organized for the piecer.

I’ve decided to offer just two sizes – the lap (63″ x 81″) and a queen (99″ x 117”). It’s taking me long enough to do all the calculations for just these two – guess I should have paid better attention in math class all those years ago! LOL

Anyone want to test the larger size for me? I’m pretty careful about calculating and checking yardages and number of units, but the real test is in someone sewing it. That’s why I made two of the lap size – the first time I was playing with colors and layouts and I didn’t worry too much about yardage and number of units. Then I sewed a second sample and when I was done I found 14 extra rectangles on my cutting table – whoops! At least that was a minor error that was easily corrected.

So would you like to see the second sample I sewed? I used completely different fabrics, batiks from Moda’s ‘Believe’ and ‘Let It Snow Favorites’ lines. Here are both versions side by side……

The blue one is not yet quilted and is slightly in front of the bright one, so the blocks may appear larger, but both are the same size.

Which is your favorite?

Does Size Matter???

…..when it comes to a quilt you’re going to make? I’m working on a new pattern………well, to be honest, although the instructions are new, the quilt is not. I actually sewed the sample over a year ago…..started writing the instructions……and then along came some OTHER bright and shiny new project I just had to work on. And then another one, and well, here it is a year and a half later. You’ve never done that, have you?? I didn’t think so…….

Anyway, I’m wondering what size quilt people like to make. Do you prefer smaller projects such as lap throws, or do you want a bed-sized quilt such as a queen? Would you avoid purchasing a pattern because it was not the size you wanted, or would you figure out how to adapt it to your preferred size? And if you were purchasing a kit, which size would you rather have? Please leave me a comment so I can offer the size that you want.

Would you like a sneak peek of the quilt? I think I showed part of it once before, but I HAVE made progress as it is now quilted.

Of course I still haven’t done the binding…….sigh. But, the instructions are mostly written – I’m just trying to finalize the diagrams and layout. The size I have now is a large lap/small twin – about 63″ x 81″. I also thought of adding a larger size – would you prefer 81″ x 99″ or 99″ x 117″? Please share this post with your quilty friends and ask them to comment on as well.

I’m hoping to have the pattern ready for sale by the end of the month! If you’d like to be notified when it is, you can subscribe to my blog on the top left of this page, or sign up for my newsletter by clicking here and filling in the blanks on the lower left. Better yet, why not sign up for both!!

Think Spring!

It was a long hard winter here, and spring was slow in coming. While it’s finally starting to feel that way in the last week, I was bemoaning the cool temps and cloudy days last month.  I was craving some flowers and bright colors…..

So if I couldn’t have them outside, I decided to have them in my studio.

Aren’t these stinkin’ cute???!!!??? These are kits I made for the quilt in the background……

Several years back I designed a quilt I called “Twirling Tulips”. I had taught this as a class, but never published the pattern. I decided it was finally time to do that, so I made a new version of the quilt, and finally wrote the pattern. (To be honest here, *I* didn’t make the top. I picked the fabrics and supplied the directions, but my friend Betsy did the sewing – thanks, Betsy!). The fabric line is called “Boutique” by Moda, and this is the piece I chose for the border:

And here is what the entire quilt looks like:

Hope this brings a little Spring into your life!

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