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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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.

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