The cardinal block of my Ohio Star Quilt is one of my favorites, so I wanted to improve the design, make it larger, and turn it into a pillow cover. The cardinal is Ohio’s state bird and I love spotting them. It makes sense to me to sew a traditional Ohio Star quilt block to look like the iconic bird.
When I first made my Ohio Star Cardinal block for my Ohio Star Quilt, I used this tutorial. It’s a really good tutorial, but because the cardinal colors don’t fit into the traditional pattern, I had to unpick a lot of pieces to make it work. This time, I wanted to make a larger block (16” vs. 12”) to fit a pillow form I had on hand, and I didn’t want to unpick anything. It’s important to me to maintain the Ohio Star piecing. That is, to have 4 blocks that are made from quarter square triangles. In my block, you’ll see that there is an opportunity to make 2 sky QSTs into one larger triangle, but this would break the traditional pattern.
Let’s get started!
Ohio Star Cardinal 16” Quilt Block
Sky: 3 x 5 7/8” squares & 2 x 6 5/8” squares
Black: 1 x 6 5/8” square
Orange: 1 x 6 5/8” square
Red 1: 1 x 5 7/8” square & 1 x 6 5/8” square
Red 2: 1 x 5 7/8” square & 1 x 6 5/8” square
Seam allowances are ¼”.
1. Cut all of the 6 5/8” squares diagonally twice so that you have 4 triangles from each square.
2. Arrange the triangles and 5 7/8” squares as shown to create a cardinal profile. You’ll have some spare triangles.
Side note: I didn’t have enough of one of my preferred red fabrics to cut a full 6 5/8” square. I thought that orange-brown, feather-like print would work. Nope. I didn’t like it at all once I cut it out. I MacGuyvered a template by laying a triangle ruler I have (with a 90-degree angle) over one of the triangles I had cut, and placing masking tape where the bottom of the triangle was. I then moved the template over to my preferred fabric and lined the masking tape up with the edge of the fabric. I was able to fussy cut all of my Red 2 triangles. Give it a try if you need to fussy cut your fabric!
3. Sew the first set of triangles together as shown below. Press the seams
4. Sew the larger triangles together as shown below. Press the seams.
5. Sew the squares together as shown below. Press the seams.
6. Sew the rows together. Press the seams.
7. Look at you! You have an Ohio Star Cardinal!
Bonus! To make it into a quilted pillow cover with an envelope closure:
1. Baste the block using your preferred batting and backing and method. I’m a fan of pin basting. I used cotton batting here because it is what I had on hand, plus, it is thin. I used natural muslin for the backing, which I use for a lot of my quilts, but note that your backing here will not be visible once the cover is completed.
2. Quilt it! I machine quilted it along the 9-patch and then on the inside of the star. Since I maintained the traditional Ohio Star piecing, outlining the star with quilting emphasizes the pattern.
3. Trim it up!
4. Cut 2 panels of fabric that measure 10 ¼” x 16 ½”. I chose to use my sky fabric for the back.
5. Hem one 16 ½” end of each of the back panels by pressing ¼” down and then over again and stitching down.
6. Align the 16 ½” unfinished ends of the back panels with the top and bottom of the block. The correct sides of the back panels and the cardinal block should be facing each other, as if the pillow cover is inside out. The panels will overlap by a few inches, which will create the envelope closure.
7. Stitch around the entire block using a ¼” seam allowance.
8. Turn that thing inside out and stuff it with a pillow form!
9. Admire your fancy, made-by-you throw pillow.
What do you think? Wanna try your hand at an Ohio Star Cardinal? Show me what you make! If you post it on Instagram, tag me @tbudco and use #OhioStarCardinal. Or hop over to my Contact page and let me know you have a cardinal to show off!