Thursday, September 3, 2009

X-Blocking in Asilomar

Just imagine spending one entire week at the Pacific seashore, X-ploring the X-Blocks tool with great friends. Pinch me! No, I wasn't dreaming. Patricia Pepe invited me and six other groupies to Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA, a fantastic conference center nestled among scrub pines, hugged by the sensational coastline and inhabited by deer and raccoon.

We stayed in the Director's Cottage and supped in the dining hall - gourmet style. Every meal was prepared with fresh ingredients by an excellent chef and staff; waitpersons hovered in the wings bearing lovely desserts, coffee and tea. We were so stuffed by mid-week we could hardly waddle to our sewing machines, which were set up in a large conference room.
Again, I beg you to imagine - your very own sewing studio (for the week, anyway) where the only ringing in your ear was the dining bell; the only requirement was to have fun, make a mess - and no clean-up allowed.
The adventure included frequent (as in: daily) visits to Back Porch Fabrics in downtown Pacific Grove. Sure, we brought lots of stash with us, but you know what it's like - fabric fabric everywhere, but not that 'just right' piece. So Gail Abeloe, proprietor, provided us with the missing sparkle. Her fabrics, samples and patterns are scrumptious.

The most fun of all was watching Patricia create. She was so generous with her time, frequently stopping to show us new ideas, better ways to combine our fabrics and tweak for contrast. We played with scads of new X-Blocks designs that I can't yet reveal as they're in the planning stage, but confidentially, they are really exciting.

As for X-Blocking in Asilomar: sign me up for next year!!!

Yours truly, Princess of X-Blocks Land

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The lateness of my posting

Dear X-Blocks fans and friends, forgive the "lateness" of my posting. I've been on a whirwind month - hosting grandkids and exploring X-Blocks. Specifically I went to the LA/San Diego/Orange County shop hop last week to demo the X-Blocks tools and quilts at The Quilt Cupboard in Garden Grove. What a fabulous success - I ran out of anything to sell on Saturday!

Sheri, the shop owner, just moved into her new location on Valley View in Garden Grove. It's a fresh and fun store with room to move around, a very helpful staff and of course - Annie, the resident cat. She is the perfect shop pet. Greets everyone with a 'walk-by' and 'look-over' then leaves you to your shopping. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

And now, about the grandkids' visit. Were they ever fun! Ages 7 and 9, suddenly they are into cooking. They invented yummy brownie-ice cream-sprinkle pies and oreo-pudding-cool whip surprises. We prepared a gourmet ginger pork roast and sweet rolls and apple pie, oh my! Everytime I was near the kitchen they wanted to invent something new. And --- they cleaned their plates! And said OK Gramma when I had to say the occasional no - or please don't.

PLUS! I've had some time to create a new-to-me way to make an interesting, striped/squared/half-square triangle kind of quilt block. I'm still fiddling - it's going to be a class soon.

I'll keep you posted,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Afraid to make your first X-Blocks quilt?

If using your X-Blocks quilt tool baffles you, maybe I can help.

I'm a great fan of the X-Blocks acrylic square and my students love working with it. But sometimes they are intimidated. "Your quilts look so complicated - how could this be an easy way to make quilt blocks?"

First, this tool is DESIGNED to make things easy. There is nothing more complicated for you to sew than nine patch blocks. Beginners start with the easiest quilt by piecing three strips of fabric together.

Second, the trick is in using the tool's registration marks. Lay your 3-stripped piece of fabric or nine-patches on your cutting mat. Place the X-Blocks tool on the fabric, matching the lines on the tool with the seam lines on your blocks.

Next, cut around the tool with a sharp rotary. Because the X-Blocks sits on your fabric off-grain, the result is what I like to call a 'wonky block.' As you sew all these wonky blocks together, an intricate design begins to emerge. Stars, pinwheels, name it.

Save the edges you trim off because they make the intricate (in appearance only) borders.

And one more tip: I like to use a small cutting mat or revolving mat so that it's easy to swivel the mat around when cutting all four sides.

I hope this information helps. For more X-Block ideas go to Patricia Pepe's website and click on her gallery or products page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Okay, now what?

Being a second-time-ever blogger, my next question to all you bloggers and/or quilters out there what?
  • I can't figure out how to make my site beautiful. How do you customize your bloggy-place to make it feel like home? Or X-Blocks land as it were.
  • Where do I find people to come visit me? It can be lonely, all by myself.
  • How do I entice you to leave me a message?

Oh dear, I'm all alone in X-Blocks Land.

Signed, the Princess.

First time for everything quilting

There is a first time for everything. . . and this is mine - I'm blogging! I'm a quilter, quilt teacher and also quilt explorer, hoping to contribute something of interest to the blogosphere. For my first foray, I'd like to tell you about Patricia Pepe of Quilt Queen Designs and her X-Blocks.

I met Patricia a few years ago as she taught a New York Beauty quilt class. She was already a prestigious award-winner in the world of quilt competition, and by the next time I saw her, she was an inventor, too. Having just developed a nifty quilt tool, she was understandably excited. "Want my autograph?" she teased as she showed me her X-Blocks rotary cutting square. I took her up on it and that was the beginning of a great friendship.

So just what is the X-Blocks? It's an acrylic square bisected with lots of lines, dots and dashes. It's used to rotary-cut simple, easy-to-piece blocks that, when sewn to each other, create a brand new design that knocks your socks off! Take a look for yourself at While you're there, drop her a line and tell her "princess sent you."
And may all your quilting dreams come true.