My Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt has been through quite an evolution. At first, I was going to make a series of single-block mini quilts and tie them with sequins. I know! Sequins and quilts! All the heart eyes! (I did a study, which you can see here.) I started with 3 color combinations that looked snazzy on their own: aqua and teal; navy and pink; lime green and purple. The only thing that links these fabrics is the white print on most of them. Before I had all 12 blocks done (the pineapple block takes a long time), I decided to stitch them together into a single quilt.
Once the top was done, I figured I would machine quilt it. I wanted to hand quilt it, but there are a lot of seams and that makes hand quilting pretty difficult. But, once I had it basted, I screwed the walking foot onto my machine and all I got were uneven stitches. I literally didn’t have enough time to fiddle with my machine (I had to pick up my kids), so I set it aside. In the meantime, my mind casually wandered to the apocalyptic: WHAT IF MY SEWING MACHINE IS BROKEN, NEVER TO MAKE ANOTHER STITCH AGAIN?!?! (If you’re me, this is a very rational and logical question to ask after unpicking about 2 feet of uneven quilt stitches.)
I did my best to think through the problem. Hand quilting was out of the question, but what about doing ties? Like those textural crisscrosses with the tie on the back? Like I did on my Welcome Blanket? Ooooh! I liked it and didn’t look back.
On a family outing, I convinced my husband to stop at a craft store where I jumped out of the car, ran inside, snagged more than enough skeins of embroidery floss, put on my blinders and walked straight to the registers, paid, and made it back out to my family in truly the 5 minutes I said it would take. (From this point on, I worked on this quilt with the same sense of urgency: I wanted to get it done, but I needed to get it done.)
As I was tying the quilt, I though, hey, there aren’t too many seams in the sashing. Oh, the gears were turning. I could do a running stitch in the sashing! And so I did. With the same thick embroidery floss I used for the ties. I got the texture I wanted in the beginning when I lamented there were too many seams to do hand quilting.
I am so, so, so glad that my sewing machine and walking foot didn’t cooperate! The Quilting Goddess was surely looking out for me that afternoon: it was mean to be. I love how this quilt turned out!
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!
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.
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.
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.