Friday, September 19, 2014

Off Kilter - A Quilt Finish and Tutorial

I am so excited to get to share my newest quilt and tutorial.  So let me just get right to it because I can't wait.   I am calling this quilt, Off Kilter and I am so loving it!!!

Back at Spring Quilt Market I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with some of the ladies at Free Spirit Fabrics about doing some tutorials using their lovely fabrics.  Thank you  to Free Spirit Fabrics for providing the fabrics for this tutorial!!  I was instantly drawn to their new Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids.  I mean, who wouldn't be when you see this box of yummy solid goodness.   I really wanted to design something that highlighted the beautiful array of colors.  

And that is how Off Kilter came to be.   So, do you want to make your own Off Kilter quilt??  Let's get to that.   The tutorial is written with the option of 2 sizes.  A Lap that measures 59" x 70" or a Twin that measures 72" x 86".   This quilt is so much fun to make and goes together so easy.  You are going to have so much fun!!!  So pick a size and let's get to it ;)


For both the Lap and Twin sized quilts you will  need 40 Fat Quarters.
           You will need to choose 8 colors with 5 shades of each color.   Sort them from darkest to lightest in each of the 8 colors.   Below is an image of the 40 shades I choose from the Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids collection.

Additional, to the 40 Fat Quarters you will need:

                      LAP                                                                           TWIN
1 1/3 Yard of White Solid for Sashing                       1 3/4 Yard of White Solid for Sashing
1/2 Yard of Black Solid for Binding                          2/3 Yard of Black Solid for Binding
4 Yards for Backing                                                 5 1/4 Yards for Backing


So let's get to cutting.  For the sake of clarity, I will be giving cutting for the quilt color layout I made.  But feel free to switch the color layout around as you desire.

Stack up the 5 shades of one colors Fat Quarters.  Trim the bottom and right hand side to give you a straight edge.   You will be cutting anywhere from 3 to 5 rectangles depending on what color you have stacked up.   If you are doing a LAP size, cut your rectangles 2 1/2" x 11 1/2".  If you are doing a TWIN size, cut your rectangles 3" x 14".

From the Purple and Blue stacks, you need to cut 5 Rectangle Sets each.   From the Red and Green stacks, you need to cut 4 Rectangle Sets each.  From the Orange, Brown, Yellow, and Grey sets, you need to cut 3 Rectangle Sets each.

And a last bit of cutting.   From your White Solid cut the following depending on your size quilt.

                      LAP                                                                           TWIN
(11) 2" x WOF Strips                                                              (13) 2" x WOF Strips
(36) 2" x 10 1/2" Rectangles                                                   (36) 2" x 10 1/2" Rectangles
(36) 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" Rectangles                                               (36) 1 3/4" x 4 1/2" Rectangles


Now, with the cutting all done we are ready to move on to making our blocks.   We are aiming to make 30 total blocks that are 5 rectangles long arranged from darkest to lightest.   Now if you are experience in chain stitching, go right ahead and chain stitch your blocks together skipping the next few steps.  If you are new to chain stitching, I will explain it now ;)

I find it easiest to chain stitch 2 color sets at a time.  This way I have room to lay each set out.   Lay the sets out individually with the stack from darkest to lightest.   Grab the first 2 Rectangles off the first pile.

Align and sew a 1/4" seam along the long edge.  Now when you get to the end of it, don't clip your threads, just grab the first 2 rectangles off the next pile and stitch a 1/4" seam along the long edge.

Continue on in this fashion until you have stitched the first 2 rectangles in all of the sets.   Now, clip your threads and stack your stitched sets in a pile.

Now I like to have the stack of stitched units next to my machine for ease.   Grab the next strip from the first set (which will be the third one) and align it with the first unit in your stack.   Take care to align it on the lighter side.   Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.

And once again, you are going to chain stitch the third rectangle to all of the sets.  Then clip your threads and stack up your units again.   Keep repeating this process for the 4 and 5 rectangles until you have your blocks complete for all of the sets.

I found it easiest to chain stitch the Green and Red blocks together and then I did the Grey, Brown, Orange, and Yellow blocks together.  In the end, you will have 30 blocks with the designated number of blocks listed below.   Press your seam allowances towards the dark side :)


And now, we are ready to make these blocks a little Off Kilter.  Once again, I find a little assembly line process here really speeds things up.  So do all of your subcutting for all your blocks first, then you can chain stitch on your white rectangle and then chain stitch the row sewing;)

So for the first Sub-Cut, will be cutting the block into 3 rows.

 For the LAP quilt, measure down 2 1/2" from the top of the block and cut a horizontal line.  Then measure down 3 1/2" from the cut line (or if you didn't move your top row, 6" from the top) and cut a second horizontal line to make 3 rows.

 For the TWIN quilt, measure down 3" from the top of the block and cut a horizontal line.  Then measure down 4 1/2" from the cut line (or if you didn't move your top row, 7 1/2" from the top) and cut a second horizontal line to make 3 rows.

And now, we are going to cut a little more off just the center row.

 For the LAP quilt, measure in 1" from the dark end of the block and cut a vertical line, making the center row just shorter than the top and bottom rows.

 For the LAP quilt, measure in 1 1/4" from the dark end of the block and cut a vertical line, making the center row just shorter than the top and bottom rows.

And now, time to make everything the same length again.  Place a small White Rectangle along the light end of the center row with right sides together.  Stitch a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Once again, press towards the darker side. Chain stitching here will save a lot of time ;)

And now, it just needs to be a block again.  So place the first row onto the second with right sides together.  Align as you go stitching a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Then place the third row onto the now stitched together first and second row.  Align as you go stitching a 1/4" seam along the edge.  Once again, chain stitching ;)

Press the 2 seam allowances open and Wha La.   You have  Off Kilter blocks!!!   You should have a total of 30 blocks.


And now, you get to see it all come together.  I love this part!!!  Layout your 30 blocks as shown below taking care to match the block orientation.  (but you can always change it up if you like ;)

Now, take your 2" White Rectangles and place them between and and at the beginning and end of each row as shown to create sashing strips.

And now we are going to sew the sashing strips to the blocks.  Place the strips along the end of the blocks with right sides together.  Align and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge of each strip.  I like to chain piece one row at a time so I don't get confused ;)  Press the seam allowance towards the sashing strip.

And now, we can sew the sashed blocks into rows.  Place the second block onto the first with right sides together.  Align and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Now place your third block onto the end of your now sewn together first and second block.  Align and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.   Continue in this fashion for the fourth and fifth blocks.   I don't chain stitch here, I just sew one row at a time ;)  Press the seam allowances towards the sashing.

And now you should have 6 lovely rows that look something like this ;)

Almost there ;)   Grab your White WOF strips and sew them end to end to make one long strip.  Now subcut that long strip into 7 strips.  You can either use the exact measurements which would be for the the LAP size you want to sub-cut (7) 59 1/2" long strips.   For the TWIN size, you want to sub-cut (7) 72 1/2" long strips.  OR, I like to lay out my sashing strips between my blocks and cut based on the length of my block row.

And now, it is just like making the rows, only on a really long scale.    Place the sashing strips onto the pieced rows with right sides together.  Align and sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

Press the seam allowance towards the sashing strips.

And now you can sew the rows together.   Place the second row onto the first.   And this is where you are going to want to use some pins ;)   Align and pin the rows together. **See next picture.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.   Then repeat the process adding one row at a time.

When pinning, lift up the top row and ensure that your vertical sashing strips are aligned, otherwise it will look Off Kilter in a way you don't want it to ;)

Press the seam allowances towards the sashing and then sit back and enjoy your beautiful Off Kilter quilt top!!!  Wasn't that fun!!!


And now, it is time to Baste It, Quilt It, and Bind It.  I know, I just packed a lot of work in one sentence.   If you are new to quilting, you can see my Finishing Video's here that will walk you through each the steps for finishing up your quilt ;)

When it came time to quilt mine, I decided for some simply wavy lines running vertically down the quilt.  I love how this simple design really adds to the overall movement of the quilt ;)

The thread color is Pearl 402 in So Fine by Superior Threads.  I choose this color because it blended best with the lighter shades.  Of course, you are not going to find a color that blends well with every color in the quilt, but a nice neutral tone will be your best bet ;)  

And then, it's time to bind.  Cut your Black yardage into 2 1/2" strips to create your binding strip.  I machine attached my binding strip, because I just don't like hand stitching all that much ;)

Ad you are done.   Now the only questions is, which way to hang it.   Do you like Dark to Light or Light to Dark??   Seriously, I can't decide :)

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and if you make your own Off Kilter Quilt I would love to see it!!  You can email me a picture at, post it to social media with #happyquiltingwithmc  or or add it to my flickr group here ;)  I can't wait to see your Off Kilter Quilts!!!

And that just about wraps things up ;)

Have a Happy Quilting Weekend!!!

Linding this finish up to Sarah's an Amanda's ;)

Pin It!


  1. An inspiring new look at modern! I like the second choice with the yellow in the upper corner.

  2. So pretty! And it looks so easy. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. What a beautiful and easy pattern. I think, this quilt is a really fast one.
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. Wow! This quilt looks like it is vibrating! There is so much movement in the design. How wonderful!

  5. I love this quilt. Thank you for sharing the tutorial! You are so generous with your designs. One of many reason why I follow your blog. Have a great weekend!

  6. Such a gorgeous quilt!! What a wonderful design Melissa...great job!!

  7. Oh, such a cool modern quilt! I'm a light to dark kinda girl. Awesome job!

  8. It looks beautiful. I feel like I am looking through fractured glass. Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. The pictures really make the quilt seem Off Kilter! In real life it is amazingly gorgeous. And restful. Reminds me of a favorite black and white striped dress I had. I was having a picture taken and photographer finally had me change because the camera couldn't get a clear focus, something about the lines fooled the camera and made it blurry. I love the colors and the design. It is really a beautiful quilt.

  10. Love it and the colors are so vibrant.

  11. I absolutely love it!!!! omg it is fabulous!!! great job on the tutorial. I want to drop everything I have in my work area and start on it. I just think it is awesome. :)

  12. Es fantastico el tutorial!!!!! Pero mucho mas fantastico el diseƱo
    Gracias y muchos besos

  13. It's beautiful Melissa! I love the color tones and your rainbow-like placement of your blocks. Great job! ~Shari

  14. Beautiful. Want to give this one a try. So little time, so many quilts.

  15. I'm in LOVE with this quilt!! I have a thing for color value quilts anyway, but this one is calling my name. Beautiful job! Thanks so much for sharing.

  16. I really love this quilt! It's so bold and graphic, very cool!

  17. Thank you for such a wonderful tutorial!!! I want to make this, but I think I'll use my ombre fabrics that I have been hoarding!!! Thank you - just love your quilt!!!

  18. Such a beautiful quilt. Thank you so much for the tutorial, which is so very easy to understand.

  19. What a cool quilt! I love the overall appearance, and I, too, am in love with the colors. You did great with this collection!

  20. What a beautiful and graphic quilt!!! And now I see why you did the wavy line quilting: it all looks so good!! Hugs, H

  21. Awesome job!! I prefer the light to dark progression.

  22. I love this quilt! This will be made some day, I'm pretty sure of it. :) You know, Melissa, you are one of the best pattern/tutorial writers. Seriously, you're explanations are clear, you're photos are so helpful (and actually correspond with what you're talking about!), and each step so easy to understand. Thank you for all of your hard work!

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial to spur on our own creativity!! It is soo appreciated and on my to do list!!

  24. Great tutorial what a beauty love thjose blocks. Light to dark for me. Just read Jennifer`s comment so agree top class

  25. This is the best use of this collection I have viewed online. Just wonderful. Love the pattern. You nailed it!

  26. It is a beautiful quilt. Very colorful and unique. I appreciate how much work it is to create the pattern and really appreciate it that you are sharing it. I will definitely put this on my to-do list.

  27. Awesome quilt and a wonderful tutorial, thanks for sharing this.

  28. Gorgeous! I have some shot cottons that would be perfect for this!

  29. I think this is your most original pattern to date. I love it! I won't ever get a chance to make it unless you do a QAL, but I still would love to. Ah, priorities. You're wonderful. Thank you for sharing your quilts and your wonderful spirit here on this virtual piece of the world.

  30. Love the fractured look you get! Great tutorial and pattern, thanks!

  31. Very lovely and fun quilt. Great tutorial. Thank you.

  32. What a great quilt. Thanks for the tutorial. I found your site from the Petals Blog tour. I love it!

  33. Wow! This is an amazing idea! I love the simplicity but complexity of your design. Great effect with the graduated colors. Your tutorials are always so clear. Thanks for all the pictures and for sharing the beautiful quilt. K-

  34. Fantastic design - that's for sharing your tutorial.

  35. I do really, really like it and wish I had the time at the moment to make one. Maybe next year.

  36. So beautiful! I really love the simple yet effective design.

  37. Thank you for this WONDERFUL tutorial, Melissa! I'm going to start collecting solid FQ's in order to make this fun quilt!

  38. That is so very clever and so very cool. I would vote for light to dark. Thank you for the tutorial. Your directions are so clear. Need to think about fabrics in my stash that might work for this.

  39. What a striking quilt!

  40. Loving this and the bright fun colors! Very nice way of displaying the colors! It's like a quilt color picker... I'd like to see major stores hang THIS above their sample card station.

  41. I like everything about this quilt but especially these two things: the quilting and the use of color gradation. BRAVO!

  42. it's really REALLY beautiful, Melissa! I'd be in the hang it from the light to dark camp. :) thanks for linking up your finish.

  43. This is stunning! Thanks for sharing your tutorial.

  44. Melissa -
    this is a great quilt. i has so much to look at. the colors, the quilting, the rotation of the block. it is a work of art!

  45. The tutorial is amazing and so is the quilt. Just lovely.

  46. So smart and dynamic. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Think I'll make two. One for our church raffle and one for me!
    Thank you for a great pattern!

  48. Wow! You made that look so easy! Thanks!


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. I just love hearing from you!!
Have a Happy Quilting Day :)