How to Make an Ohio Star Cardinal Quilt Block

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Ohio Star quilt block made to look like the profile of of a cardinal, Ohio’s state bird.

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

Fabric:

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

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Fabric needed for one 16″ block.

Seam allowances are ¼”.

1. Cut all of the 6 5/8” squares diagonally twice so that you have 4 triangles from each square.

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Cut larger squares diagonally into 4 triangles each.

2. Arrange the triangles and 5 7/8” squares as shown to create a cardinal profile. You’ll have some spare triangles.

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Layout of Ohio Star Cardinal block
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Leftover triangles. Save them for a future cardinal or add them to the scrap pile.

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!

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I lined up the template on the triangle, then placed the masking tape. I put the tape on the side opposite of the printing, just in case it would remove it.
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I lined up the tape with the edge of the fabric and fussy cut the triangle.

3. Sew the first set of triangles together as shown below. Press the seams

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If you align all of the sewn triangles the same way and press the seams in the same direction, they’ll nest nicely in the next step.

4. Sew the larger triangles together as shown below. Press the seams.

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Nest the seams if possible for nice center points.

5. Sew the squares together as shown below. Press the seams.

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This is the point when things start to really come together!

6. Sew the rows together. Press the seams.

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So close to seeing the final block.

7. Look at you! You have an Ohio Star Cardinal!

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So pretty! Pat yourself on the back!

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.

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Pin-basted Ohio Star Cardinal block

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.

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I used a fabric pencil to mark 1/4″ inside the star.

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.

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Hemmed back panels

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.

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Envelope closures are simple to stitch.

7. Stitch around the entire block using a ¼” seam allowance.

8. Turn that thing inside out and stuff it with a pillow form!

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Finished front
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Finished back. Slipping the pillow form in is easy peasy.

9. Admire your fancy, made-by-you throw pillow.

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There is such satisfaction in making something with your hands.

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!

February’s Quilting Goal: My Completed Ohio Star Quilt

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My completed Ohio Star Quilt

It gives me great satisfaction to write that my Ohio Star Quilt is DONE! As I posted earlier this month, I’m participating in February’s One Monthly Goal Link-Up by Elm Street Quilts.

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I made a block for each month of 2018 to celebrate my 10th anniversary of living in Ohio.

I don’t know what else to say about this quilt! I’m so happy it’s done. I wrote a lot about this quilt over the last year. Maybe I’m also happy that I’m not going to write about it anymore? I finished the quilt this month a lot sooner than I thought I would. That final knot in the binding is so satisfying. Stitching on the label? My favorite part. I love how the fabric and the batting and the stitches seem to settle into each other after a spin in the washer and dryer.

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I machine-pieced the top and hand quilted it. I stitched in the ditch around each block, stitched around the outline of each star, and added outlines of Ohio in the sashing.

The little Ohio outlines are one of my favorite details. There’s no denying that this quilt is about Ohio!

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Teeny hand-stitched Ohios! I love them!

Overall, I’m very happy with this quilt. There are a lot of personal stories in this quilt. I learned a lot and practiced new skills. Here’s to more years in Ohio and many, many more quilts!

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Fresh from the dryer after being washed. See that crinkly goodness? And I pre-wash all of my fabric!
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My Ohio Star Quilt

Copywriting Tip: Take Advantage of Every Opportunity to Tell Your Story

On my first visit to P.F. Chang’s late last year, I discovered the brand was telling their story in the tiniest of places: the fortunes slipped into the iconic cookies. The food was delicious, the service was great, and, as a copywriter, I was delighted to see the brand taking advantage of every opportunity to tell their story.

Along with the check, the server delivered the requisite fortune cookies. Inside were short strips of paper printed with the expected fortunes on one side, and factoids about the food prepared and served at P.F. Chang’s on the other side.

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P.F. Chang’s fortunes. One side has the fortune; the other side has a factoid about the food served at the restaurant.

Now, I know that this little piece of paper probably usually gets swept up with the cookie wrappers and other dining debris left on the table by guests, but for a split second, P.F. Chang’s took advantage of this opportunity to tell their story to their customer.

For reference, here’s another fortune from a different cookie received at a different restaurant.

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A fortune from a different cookie and restaurant. (I can’t remember where.)

The back has lucky numbers and a website to visit if this particular fortune has you wanting another.

No one would notice or care if P.F. Chang’s also had lucky numbers on the back of their fortunes. Instead of doing that, though, they use the fortune-reading moment to reassure their customers that, yes, what you just ate was fresh and carefully prepared. At least, that is what a fact about the food implies. Interestingly, this moment comes after the meal. Reading the tidbit doesn’t feel salesy. I had already asked for the check and pulled out my credit card. There’s no upselling at this point during the dining experience. Of course, there is a risk with the end-of-meal timing for this particular case. If the food is not satisfactory, the customer could easily see these fortune cookie factoids as a marketing sleight of hand—all talk and no action. P.F. Chang’s has to be on their game. Overall, using this tiny area to add to the P.F. Chang’s story is smart.

The tip: Don’t overlook small opportunities to tell your brand’s story. Are you using every space and every moment in your interaction with your customers? Get creative and take advantage of small pieces and short moments with copy that is appropriate to the medium and timing. A short piece of copy can make a significant impression.

Want more copywriting tips? Check them out here.

February’s Quilting Goal: Finish My Ohio Star Quilt

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My Ohio Star Quilt in progress.

I’m participating in the February’s One Monthly Goal Link-Up by Elm Street Quilts. I discovered Elm Street Quilts by way of Abby Glassenberg’s Community Episode of her podcast, While She Naps. Doing One Monthly Goal sounds like a fun way to keep my eye on the prize (completed projects!). So, I’m starting with my Ohio Star Quilt.

Last month, I wrote an update about the progress on my Ohio Star Quilt. I’m happy to report that since then, I have FINISHED QUILTING it! Woohoo! I even purchased the fabric for the binding! All I need is a solid afternoon to prepare the binding, trim the quilt, and sew on the binding. Then, I need a few quiet evenings to hand stitch the binding to the back.

This feels attainable, especially if I put it on the hottest front burner I have. Ha! And, honestly, I’m antsy to finish this quilt. I started it in January of last year and I’m ready to move on.

Stay tuned!

Easy-Peasy Upcycled Valentine’s Day Sweater

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My new Valentine’s Day sweater made from thrifted/upcycled sweaters!

It recently dawned on me that if I can have a festive Christmas sweater, why can’t I have an equally festive Valentine’s Day sweater? I love my Lands’ End red and white Fair Isle Christmas sweater and have been wearing it since I purchased it in college. (I’m fully aware that it’s corny. I love what I love and can’t help it!) Because I’ve been dabbling in making my own clothes and repurposing/upcycling clothes, I set out to create my own design with thrifted sweaters.

My quest started at the thrift store and my stash of material. First, I found a sweater at the thrift store. I specifically was looking for sweater in a neutral color, made from natural fibers. I scored a dark gray, 100% cotton sweater—perfect! Then, I hit my stash for material for a heart appliqué. For my daughter’s first birthday, I made her stuffed chicken toys from a pinkish-orange, cable-knit thrifted sweater. I knew I had scraps leftover, and dug them out.

I traced a heart onto a sheet of computer paper. (I could have gotten fancy with tissue paper, but the shape was so simple, a plain sheet of paper worked fine.) I trimmed around the heart leaving a little bit of paper around the edges. I did this because I wanted to make the cut of the heart from the sweater scrap itself.

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I used paper from my printer to trace a heart shape, trimmed it, and pinned it to the sweater scrap to cut out the appliqué.

I was careful to line the pattern on the sweater scrap so that the cable knit pattern was somewhat symmetrical. After the pattern was pinned on, I carefully cut the heart out.

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I used a ruler (and a lot of fussing) to place the heart on the gray sweater.

Placement is always tricky—I wanted to have the heart in a good place vertically and centered horizontally. I tried the sweater on, placed the heart where I thought it looked good, and marked the sweater so I could see where I had placed the heart after taking off the sweater. I folded the sweater in half (shoulder to shoulder) so I could find the horizontal center and placed a pin to mark it. Really, I just fussed with the heart until I was happy.

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A blanket stitch is pretty simple (once I remembered how to do it) and creates a crafty style.

A little bit of washable glue stick and several pins later, I was ready to stitch! I used a blanket stitch with white embroidery floss I had on hand to secure the heart to the sweater. (Side note: it’s not until I actually have needle to fabric that I can remember how to do a blanket stitch. I have such a hard time visualizing it in my head. I think this is why I can’t parallel park. Haha!)

 

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Detail of the completed heart.

Voilà! I now have a cheery Valentine’s sweater to wear in the weeks leading up to the big day! I love it! One of my favorite things about it is the contrast of the smooth, plain knit of the gray sweater and the textured, cable knit of the appliquéd heart.

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Oh, say! This is a nice sweater. I just may wear it all winter long!

Full disclosure: I haven’t washed it yet. Eeep! So, I don’t know how it will fare. But! If the heart starts to come off, I have confidence that I can fix it or redecorate the sweater altogether.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some Valentine’s Day cheer to spread!

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My new Valentine’s Day sweater made from thrifted/upcycled sweaters!