My Ohio Star Quilt is a priority this year. Because last week I mentioned how I want to get this quilt done soon, I figured I would show you the progress I’ve made on it.
January 8, 2018 marked my 10th anniversary of living and working in the Greater Cincinnati area—Ohio. In celebration, I made an Ohio Star block for each month of 2018 that told a facet of my Ohio experience. At the end of the year, I had 12 distinctly different blocks that were tied together with my Ohio story.
Black for the sashing was an easy choice. The blocks vary in greatly in color, even with the few repeated fabrics. I contemplated lighter neutral colors, like white or yellow (I don’t have that color in any of the blocks!). But, I think black makes the blocks pop.
I went back and forth on machine and hand quilting. At first, I was going to machine quilt around each block “in the ditch” and then hand quilt around each star. I decided to do it all by hand. First because I didn’t want to try to wrangle my quilt into my machine, but also because this quilt means a lot to me and it deserves the time and care that hand quilting requires.
I’m using black thread to stitch in the ditch around each block. I am doing big stitch quilting in white pearl cotton thread around each star. Some of my blocks break the traditional Ohio Star color pattern, so outlining the star so it shines through my unconventional fabric choices feels like a requirement. There are about 2 ½ blocks left to quilt and now I’m thinking that I need to quilt around the center square of each block. It doesn’t feel like there’s enough quilting on each block. This isn’t so much an aesthetic choice as a functional decision–I want the quilt top, batting, and backing to be securely sandwiched together.
A note about my quilting: this is my first time hand quilting. I’m sure my technique is unrefined, but I’m doing what works for me. I’ve been using a running stitch (catching 2-3 stitches with my needle at a time) and a straight stitch (one stitch at a time), depending on the placement and thickness of the material I’m stitching through (seams can be tough to push a needle through!). I tried using a hoop, but it didn’t feel comfortable. Instead, I make a “puppet” with the material so that I can grasp and steady the area I’m stitching. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong, but I do know that I’m getting it done and I’m confident that I’m learning as I go and getting better with each stitch!
In the sashing, I plan on doing some outlines of the state of Ohio. I want this quilt to be “knock-you-over-the-head” about Ohio. That is, I want anyone looking at it to immediately understand that the quilt is about Ohio—whether they then recognize the Ohio Star block or not. The outline of the state should do the trick! Haha!
For now, I figure I will do the binding in a solid gray fabric. It should provide a nice contrast with the black border, but not distract from the blocks. Alas, I have not procured binding fabric and you know how it goes in the store: they may not have what is in my head and so I’ll have to pick the next best fabric.
The ultimate plan? This quilt will be added to my collection to be used by my family. My kiddos have seen me working on it and they know which blocks are “theirs.” I’m curious to see if they’ll have any interest in putting it on their beds. I’ve never made them a quilt. They use quilts made by their grandma and great grandma. We’ll see how receptive they are to mom-made quilts! Heehee!
I’ve shown you progress on my quilt, now show me yours! Are you making progress on the projects you set out to make this year?