Welcome to Quilt Block Mania for February 2021! This month’s theme was “Lucky Charms”. I made a shamrock quilt last spring but the blocks were not the right size for Quilt Block Mania, so I did a little re-working and here is the updated pattern.
This is a simple pattern that I have designed as a foundation paper pieced pattern, but I think some of you could probably do an improv block that would look much the same.
This block is really versatile because as you turn it and possibly add some plain blocks the whole design can change. On the right is the quilt I made last year. My goal was to make an easy pieced quilt that was all straight lines. This pattern is available HERE.
This years pattern is a little bit more complex. It uses a Foundation Paper Pieced (FPP) leaf block pattern that you need to print and sew three for each block. There is also a stem block. I really like the change I made in the stem because it lends itself to some secondary patterns.
Here I have used 16 blocks (just like in the example above) and turned them inwards in groupings of four. I like the crosses that form- along with the wonky stars. It seems like it has a bit of a Celtic feeling to it.
I think that you will come up with many ways to use this block- maybe just a simple table runner would be lovely!
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I’m not surprised that there appears to be a baby boom going on right now since we have all been staying at home more. I have several pregnant people in my circle, so I thought I better get busy making a few baby quilts.
I do not like to gift a quilt at a shower, though. The recipients have to wait until the baby is born and named because I always make a special label with the full name, date, weight and length of the new arrival. It makes the quilt a little more special. And gives me a record of the birthday!
Anyway. . . I wanted to make some bright baby girl quilts so I picked some fun Kaffe fabrics and since I am enamoured with the Ohio Star block right now, they had to be Ohio Stars. I’m not going to be super specific with instructions here because there are LOTS of tutorials on making an Ohio Star block and that is all this quilt is.
Take a look at the photos of me with the quilts. I did not put a white border on the pink/orange quilts but I did on the red/aqua quilts. I lost a few tips on the first ones and I really like the “floating” look that you get by adding a thin border of background fabric around the big block. And let me tell you. . . adding the binding becomes much more forgiving.
Here’s what you need:
1 yard of the center fabric (large floral)- Cut two 15″ squares and five 2.5″ strips.
1 yard of the square fabric (orange)- Cut two 16″ squares and five 2.5″ strips
1 yard of the star fabric (pink with polka dots)- Cut four 16″ squares
3 1/4 yards background fabric (white) two 16″ squares and eight 15″ squares. You also need (10) 2.5″ strips for the “floating border”.
Putting it Together
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the two white 16″ squares and the two orange 16″ squares. Put these marked squares right sides together with the four pink polka dot squares and sew on both sides of the drawn lines. Cut on the lines, press to the dark side.
Place the orange and pink half-square triangles against the pink and white HSTs with the dark sides going in opposite directions. This means that the seams should nest nicely. Once again draw a diagonal line across the squares, sew on each side of the line, cut apart and press to the dark side. Trim to 15″. Now you have the eight star points.
Assemble the blocks according to the diagram. Measure the sides and add a 2.5″ border to opposite sides and then the other opposite ends. Poof. Two Quilt tops done.
I did custom quilting on the pink/orange quilts and just used a smallish stipple on the red/aqua quilts. The stipple took about half the time and really smoothed out the seams, so I was pretty happy with it.
Last August my husband and I and our two dogs set off across the country in our motor home. We live in Utah but we both grew up in Maine and it was time to head back east for a while- despite COVID. We packed enough food so that we wouldn’t have to stop anywhere and we could make it through a two-week quarantine in Maine if we had a hard time getting a COVID test.
We made good time because there was really no reason to stop anywhere and almost everything was closed. . . but we did make one detour to Amish Country in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I have an online friend Jackie Mowday who teaches classes at The Old Country Store in Intercourse, so I had to go there. I tried to let Jackie know I was coming, but she wasn’t working the day we were there and I never did reach her.
Maneuvering a 43-foot motor home (we bought a huge older model because we had planned to live in it on the road for a year. . . but COVID) on the tiny roads of Amish Country and getting into parking lots is not easy, but my wonderful husband is a master.
The store was surprisingly busy the day I was there but everyone was considerate of social distancing and mask wearing. I walked around and looked at everything before I took my second turn around the store and started buying some things.
I guess the whole Amish vibe was really affecting me because the things I chose were not in my normal wheelhouse. Of course. . . The Old Country Store carries more traditional items that I use on a regular basis. I chose a few panels that caught my eye thinking I might do a few panel quilts and share a couple. I bought a couple of quilty stone coasters to try to get myself in the habit of drinking more and keeping my drink in one place. (Hasn’t worked. . . but I love the coasters.) The most important purchase I made was a pack of 8 fat quarters that just really spoke to me. It’s from the Best of Morris line from Moda. I managed to find some of the yardage that went with the FQs so I bought two yards of a golden tan and two yards of the black Strawberry Thief design.
I immediately knew that these fabrics were going to end up in a star quilt.
FAST FORWARD to October. We were heading back to Utah and we stopped for a couple of days with some friends who live in Wooster, OH where the company has an office. So it was kinda like work for the guys- but not really.
Heather took me to visit Berlin, OH which is an Amish community. We walked the full length of the main street on a drizzly Monday and went into most of the shops. I had seen a sign for Barn Quilts, but that store had stopped carrying them. Sadness. We went into one quilt shop that was just plain weird. I had no interest in buying some strange embroidered “quilt” made in Thailand. And I was fascinated by the garment fabric available to the community but I didn’t want that either.
Then we went into the Helping Hands Quilt Shop. Finally! A real quilt shop. They had some authentically made Amish Quilts (which run around $1,200-$1,400). I was fully prepared to pay that if I found something I really loved, but I didn’t. Nothing struck me as “Amish” which is probably stupid, but I was thinking solid colors. . . not prints.
I did find some pillow covers and a small table runner that I purchased as souvenirs of our trip. I am using magnets to hold the table runner up to the blinds in my quilting studio as a valence so I get to see it every day. Most of what they had was Log Cabin designs which is fine since that is a design I have not enjoyed making.
That trip to Berlin cemented in my mind that I wanted to make an Ohio Star quilt with my Lancaster County fabrics and last Thursday I finally got to work. I didn’t have that much fabric, so I had to plan carefully. Thanks to EQ8 I had a design that I felt would work and on Friday morning I started cutting. By evening I had all the blocks assembled. Don’t get too impressed- there were only 12! Saturday I did the sashing and the borders. I generally dread sashing but I guess I did the best ever sewing these blocks because the sashing went on amazingly well. I’m going to give that credit to the whole can of starch I used on the FQs!
So. . . longarming. This is a traditional quilt but there was absolutely no was I was going to hand quilt it and I had no interest in getting too custom, so I used a feather edge-to-edge and I am happy with it.
I seriously thought about hand binding this quilt, but it just wasn’t worth setting off the arthritis in my thumb. (I have no idea if it is really arthritis, but my thumb gets really sore with overuse, so I try to manage my actions.)
So. . . her she is. My first Ohio Star Quilt. The most traditional quilt I have ever made. It is so NOT me and yet I love it. I only had a few points get slightly nipped off. . . if they had been more noticeable I might have made some adjustments, but like the Amish, I left them on purpose!
The really exciting part about this quilt for me is that I can tell my seam allowances are improving (I didn’t use a bladed foot) and my piecing is improving because these blocks actually came out to 18.5″ exactly. Wow. It’s nice to be able to see improvement in my skill.
My grandchildren aren’t quite old enough to play I Spy just yet, but it won’t be long. Games are a great way to build vocabulary and language skills in young children and what better way to have a built-in game than an I Spy quilt?
I have been saving fabric for a long time to make an I Spy quilt because I wanted to have really fun fabrics with things that would interest children. Sports. Animals. Food. Bright colors. But here’s the problem. . . you save up all the fabrics and then you use ONE piece of each one. So. . . lots of leftovers. And I am NOT a leftover kind of girl.
Once I was cutting, I couldn’t stop. So I decided to save some of you the time and hassle of collecting and cutting the fabrics and I made up some
I Spy Quilt Kits!
These quilt kits include:
56 Hand Cut Tumblers
Full Color Instruction Booklet
The kit does NOT include the backing or the binding.
Just so you know, I did starch all the fabrics for the tumblers before cutting them. Since tumblers have bias edges, I felt that the quilt would go together more easily if those pieces were starched. And let me tell you- I was right. This quilt top went together in just a couple of hours and was fun. I know that starch is a concern for some of you in the South, so I wanted to make sure that you know.
I literally had fabric on my cutting board to make the strips for the bindings when I realized that I like to use the binding to pull the front and back of the quilt together. . . and I didn’t want to make that decision for everyone else. I almost always put Shannon Cuddle fabric on the back of my quilts, but I was inspired by a post in a FaceBook group where the maker put an educational panel on the back of her quilt. What a great idea! I found this map panel at JoAnn and thought it was great, especially since it was on sale for under $7.00.
If you want to use a panel on the back of your quilt, you may need to add some borders to make it work. This panel needed borders on two sides, but ended up getting clipped off. (Sorry, Australia!) If you are going to have your quilt longarmed, make sure you add extra inches so your longarmer has room to attach it to the frame.
Sew, my friends- If you need a quick and easy project, you might just want to buy one of these kits. I think you will enjoy the process AND the final product.