I’ll use cotton batting and natural muslin for the back. I’d love to hand quilt this one with some big stitches, but there are A LOT of seams and that makes hand quilting difficult–at least for me. So, I will machine quilt it. My plan for the quilting is to do vertical and horizontal lines along the edges of the blocks and through the center of the blocks. Then, I’ll do diagonal lines to crisscross the blocks and mirror the “X” in each. I’m lucky because I still have leftover fabric from the blocks, which I’ll use for the binding. I want the binding to reflect the mishmash of fabrics in the quilt.
I want to enter this quilt in a non-juried show that has a mid-April deadline, so I’m determined to get it done!
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!
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.
The little Ohio outlines are one of my favorite details. There’s no denying that this quilt is about Ohio!
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!
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.
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?