Working with X-Blocks Rulers

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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!!! πŸ˜‰ )

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.

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28 thoughts on “Working with X-Blocks Rulers

  1. My interest is piqued… I haven’t tried using the X-block template yet, but recently purchased the “Lil’ Twister” which is similar in concept. The creative process/options seem endless!

    • Oooooh, I love piquing someone’s interest! Yes, Twister is similar, although I believe X-Blocks offers more variety in finished products – there are patterns with flags, sailboats, and even Santa Claus! Hope you find some time to engage in the creative process πŸ˜‰

  2. I am absolutely going to try a quilt with one of these rulers. I showed your quilt called saphires and emerals to my husband and he fell in love with the pattern. I guess that means one more quilt in the lineup to try and do. It is amazing what one little ruler can do—–

    • I find all of these rulers amazing too, Marge – wish I knew how people dream them up. Glad your husband liked the pattern. When I show mine different quilt patterns all he says is “that’s nice” LOL

      • hahahaha, mine too. I made him a pillowcase with star wars fabric, and now he is trying to convince me to make a king sized quilt with that fabric….

  3. Being new to quilting, I am amazed at not only all the different patterns of quilts but the tools used to help make them ~ I am still learning and haven’t invested much in tools yet πŸ™‚

    • Ahh, be careful Judi! This is an addicting hobby, and while you don’t really NEED a lot of fancy tools to make beautiful quilts, it is a lot of fun acquiring the latest and greatest!

  4. I have tried the 6 1/2 inch X-block tool and would really like to try the mini. I need more patterns, too. lol

  5. I saw your quilt block and was very intrigued. I haven’t tried this technique but now have something new to add to my quilting to-do list for this year. I loved looking over your other projects on your blog. Thanks for the inspiration and ideas!

  6. Hi Andi. This ruler looks like fun! I have added a quilt using this ruler to my ever growing list of quilts I must make :-). P. S. you’ll have to tell Rudy that I’ve turned the hunting lodge into a quilt camp! In my opinion quilting is a lot more fun!

    • Hi Lisa! Rudy is sad you don’t have the hunting lodge, but I’m happy for you – I agree quilting is more fun. Is it just for you, or do you have guests like you did for hunting?

      • Well, I have my stuff set up in the eating part right now. And I’ve held one “group” event – there were 4 of us and it went Friday noon until Sunday around 5. Things worked out pretty well. As for other guests, I’m still trying to figure out the best way to make that happen. I think it would help if I would go to a couple retreats in other places, to see how things are done.

  7. I think that is still way to advanced for me πŸ™‚ but maybe in a year or two I will have to try it out.

    • Kelie, if you can sew two strips together, and cut with a rotary cutter, you can do an X-Blocks quilt. You will need to be a little careful of the block edges stretching, as they are cut on the bias. But if you stiffen your fabric before cutting (with starch or Best Press Starch Alternative), and handle the blocks gently, you’ll do fine! Triple Play is the easiest of the X-Blocks patterns.

  8. Our guild had a demo on the “x ruler,” I would love to make a quilt with one. The “Thornton” pattern is amazing!!!

  9. Seen many quilts made with the ‘x-ruler’ and someday would like to try one. Thanks for the opportunity to enter your give-away. Robert, from northern Iowa.

  10. Pingback: More About the X-Blocks Rulers « AndiCrafts

  11. Loving to quilt, but not having a lot of time to do it, the ‘x-ruler’ sounds like a must. Blocks would look complex, but really very easy…Sharry Dee

  12. The x-ruler is something that is definitely in my future! Love it! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful work! Deb P.

  13. The very next day after I first read this blog post, I attended my first ever quilt guild meeting, where a woman showed a gorgeous quilt made using one of these rulers. She said it was so fun and simple and that there was no fabric waste because the parts she cut off went into the borders. I would love to try this. It sounds so fun to not only create a quilt with interesting blocks, but one with interesting borders, as well. I can’t wait to try it!

  14. Just went to The Quiltfest at the Santa Clara Convention Center and saw the X-Block in action. WOW!!! Can’t wait to try it. Going to make the Venetian also, What a beautiful quilt. I always thought that I was making wonderful quilts and then I saw what was really happening out there. I am just a poor novice. I am in awe at how beautiful some of those quilts can be. Keep quilting everyone!!!!

  15. I’ve just discovered X-block quilts and I have a question:
    Are there any quilt designs using the remnants from the 9 block that is removed for the X-block? These look like fun, but the waste would drive me crazy. Thank you!

    • Tracy, all of the ‘official’ (the ones by Patricia Pepe) X-Blocks patterns that I know of USE the leftovers. Some, like Venetian Tiles or Mo’s Basket, use the leftovers in the borders. Others, like Thornton or Triple Play or Lone Pine, have separate projects like a table runner, smaller quilt or placemats. That’s why I prefer this ruler to other similar ones, because you don’t have the waste. Have fun!

  16. Pingback: More About the X-Blocks Rulers | AndiCrafts

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