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.

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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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