Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mr Roboto - or off-set square - block tutorial

We made it! And here we are finally, a week later. When you see how easy this block is you are probably going to feel like this is the most anti-climactic tutorial ever. It's that easy. This block was used for the Robot quilt here.
For this particular quilt I started with a 13" square of fabric per finished block. So in this case, 16 squares because I wanted 16 blocks at the end. (I will say at this time that this method is really quick and easy, but it does use/waste more fabric as a result.)
Start by making one cut 2 1/2" from the left end of the square. Then make a second cut 4 1/2" from the first cut.
Take the middle section and cut 2 1/2" from the top and then 4 1/2" from the first cut. This will create a 4 1/2" square in the 'middle'. You can easily do this part with 3-4 squares of fabric stacked on top of each other. I always do and the cutting for the whole quilt gets done REALLY fast.
Take the center 4 1/2" square and replace it with a contrasting square. (Always save those squares because you're going to use them as the contrast in other blocks.) Sew center section together first by sewing top to contrast square and then bottom. Press seams out.
Sew sides back on center section. Don't worry about matching-up ends, you're just going to square them off. Press seams again.
I start squaring-off the block using the top of the middle section as my guide.
Now square-off opposite end.
I wanted my finished blocks 11" square, so I use my cutting mat to measure 11" from the top and square-off the opposite end.
Then I square-off other opposing sides to get an 11" square block.
Ta-dah! Can you believe it? Easy-peasy-chunky-cheesy.

Now, you can use this method to make any old size of off-set blocks you want. For this baby quilt I wanted my finished blocks to be 10 1/2" blocks to make a 4 x 4 block quilt measuring 42" x 42". You could probably start with a smaller 12 1/2" square if your are careful. If you want smaller finished blocks you could start with a smaller square of fabric, but make sure it's at least 1 1/2" bigger than what you want to square-up to.

Don't worry if each of your blocks are a little different or imperfect. Remember, wonky is cool and this quilt is all about not being perfectly centered.

As I explained above, this method does create more waste as you square-up but it's a much faster method because you don't have to measure and pre-cut all the individual pieces. So you may have to weigh the waste/ease ratio and decide if it's for you.

In the mean time, have fun! It's so quick and a great stash-buster. I'm excited to try it on other projects and in different sizes. I'd love to see what you do with it too.


  1. Thank you. I like to make charity quilts. This will be a great design to use fabric in my stash too.


  2. I still think of it as the Roly Poly Olie Quilt! ha ha
    I think that block is even easy enough that I could do it.. yeah!

  3. Very nice job! Great idea for a quilt!

  4. Thanks for the tutorial! This looks great, and it really does look like something I could do :)

  5. Love it! Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. I love this! I am so glad you decided to do a tutorial...I can't wait to do it!

  7. That fabric is sooo adorable! Thanks for the tutorial! Soemthing easy and quick!

  8. Awesome tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to make it for us!

  9. Great tutorial! I think this is the perfect block to showcase a few prints in my stash!

  10. nothing is ever waste!! i figure out a way to use all my scraps!

  11. thanks for the tutorial .. love the look of this block and am anxious to try it out .. can't wait for the weekend !! karen ca

  12. Great tutorial! Can't wait to get started on this one! Happy Wednesday! Best,

  13. Thank you so much!! I love it!!

  14. Thanks for writing this up. Can't wait to give it a try!

  15. yay! now i can make this lovely! thanks amy you are super awesome.

  16. Sooo cute, will make a great baby quilt.

  17. thanks for posting this! I am new to quilting, and blocks like this are just perfec for me! I found you from roseylittlethings, who linked saying you were going to put up a tute!

  18. I'm a little behind in finding this. Thanx; what a good block. Great for Stack and Whack.

    When I played with it, I found a 12" square will give you the same results and save some of that fabric.

    Thanx for doing this.

  19. Amy, what cutting tools do you use? I am not particularly happy with my rotary cutter (a basic Fiskars) - I can't imagine cutting four blocks at once and having it come out even...any tips?


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